Director of Brewery Operations, Port Brewing Co. / The Lost Abbey / The Hop Concept
When it comes to farmhouse ales, most beer fans and brewers agree that Saison Dupont is the standard by which all others are to be judged. A brewer in this camp whose opinions on the matter have been quoted numerous times is Tomme Arthur, the headman of the three-headed entity comprising Port Brewing Company, The Lost Abbey and The Hop Concept. And when looking for an American brewer for Brasserie Dupont to work with on a new beer, importer Total Beverage Solution took note of Arthur’s praise, and reached out to see if he’d be interested. He jumped at the chance and soon found himself face-to-face with Dupont master brewer Olivier Dedeycker, working on a version of Saison Dupont bringing in New World, American influence. Luckily for us, he also jumped at the chance to talk about this memorable experience with West Coaster.
Tell us about the beer, Deux Amis, and how readers can get their hands on it.
Olivier really wanted to explore American hops and how they might behave in their brewery. He felt the best way to do this was to produce a beer that took the attributes of classic Dupont and add our American contributions. I was allowed to select the hops I felt would make for an interesting profile—Amarillo, Simcoe and Mosaic. I was really excited to brew with these hops, while at the same time seeing how their house-yeast was allowed to manifest itself in the beer. Deux Amis should be available for distribution in California. I don’t know the exact totals, but it should be in the market right now on-draft and in 750-milliliter bottles.
This collaboration involved a lot of first for the Dupont team—what were some of those?
[Dupont] has been operating for over 180 years and, in that time, their efforts have always been focused on the farmhouse production methods. So very little of the production has required outreach. The beer became available in the U.S. in the early ‘90s and during the “launch” no one from the brewery came to promote the brand. So, the family that runs the brewery had never had a representative travel to the U.S. to represent Dupont. And they had never invited a brewer to participate in a collaborative beer that was for broad-market release. [For this beer], Olivier traveled to the U.S. for the first time in his life. He threatened to come back. This collaboration was the first time [Dupont] had used American hops in their brewery.
What were some memorable experiences from Olivier’s time in Southern California?
We crammed so many things into our three short days in San Diego and Los Angeles. We went to the ocean’s edge. Olivier experienced our brewery and our massive barrel-program. That was overwhelming to him. The volume of travel required to visit each account was striking as well. I don’t think he was prepared to travel in so many cars and see all the concrete freeways we traversed. Perhaps one of the coolest parts of the trip was that we got to share West Coast beers with Olivier. He was very fond of the pairing of Karl Strauss Brewing Company’s Mosaic Session IPA and fish tacos we enjoyed at the Encinitas Fish Shop.
Deux Amis translates to “two friends”—do you and your new friend foresee future collaborations?
The production of this beer started a friendship that I hope will last for years to come. My respect for this brewery and their beers is well documented. Getting to travel with Olivier and show him our brewing culture and how his beer fits into it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I am thankful to have been able to share this experience with him and hope our Deux Amis collaboration finds many new friends in consumers as well. We discussed [additional collaborations] at length and are trying to understand how best we can continue this relationship. They were some great conversations.