Interview with Ronald Mengerink

A few words with Ronald Mengerink of belgian brewery “De dochter van de Korenaar” (leggi in italiano).


Hi Ronald, first of all I would like to thank you for your warm welcome when I visited your brand new brewery last December. Please introduce yourself and your wonderful family to our readers.

My name is Ronald Mengerink, 45 years old, married with Monique de Baat (39). I have 3 children, 1 boy and 2 girls; 9, 6, and 3 years old( and they all want to ‘help’in the brewery)

How do you start brewing? Which were your first experiences in brewing?
I started brewing at the age of 16, making ‘beer’ from oatmeal, wild hops and bakersyeast. The result was interesting enough to try again. At 20 I dropped out of university and planned to start a brewery. Two years later I finished building my first brewery: ‘De Noorderzon’.

I know you are Dutch. Why you opened your brewery in a Belgian enclave? Why not in your homeland?
I am dutch of origine but I live in Belgium now for over 14 years. For me it didn’t matter if I started a brewery in Belgium or in Holland. But afterwards I’m happy that I opened my brewery in Belgium. For marketing purposes it’s better when you can say; ‘made in Belgium’ (concerning beer). And legislation in Belgium is a little bit better for small breweries than it is in Holland.

Currently, what is wrong and what is right, in your opinion, about Belgian beer scene?
After a very long period of disappearing and closing small breweries (especcially gueuze breweries) there are again new and young craftsmen willing to brew quality-beer ( with more attention to quality then to profit),wich is good. The tendency of multinationals to brew sweeter and less hopped beer I find alsopromising for small breweries; Action always gives reaction, and the reaction is that the real beerlovers embrace the more explicit beers such as mine !

I think that a craft beer is the extension o the personality of the brewer. Do you agree with me? If yes, you can find your personality in your beers?
Your statement that a craft beer is an extention of the personality of a brewer I can come along with, regarding my own beers that are both easy to consume as well as quitte explicit in taste.

Noblesse is indeed a beautiful session beer. Are you already satisfied about it or do you need to improve it?
Just now Noblesse has reached perfection (in my eyes) after about 10 brews. So you have to come over again and taste the final result!

Bravoure got more complexity but it is still an easy drinkable ale. Are you already satisfied about it or do you need to improve it?
Bravour was an instant hit. I’m completely satisfied with the taste, it is in nice contrast with Noblesse. I only want to improve the head-retention, but without changing the taste.

Tell us, please, about next challenges and new beers already hidden in your mind.
The next challenges are:first to survive the first difficult year; expand our business to a profitable size; introduce my beers to beer-loving customers in other countries. For my third beer: it will be a strong old-ale with long cask-conditioning on cognac-casks.