WIJK AND AALBURG - He lived a nomadic existence from a camper. For a long time he traveled through Europe and the north of Africa, but Ronald de Waal (51), former Wijk and Aalburger, could not let go of the brewing of specialty beer. Now he runs his business from his motor home or his home in Finland. And that beer? He wins one prize after another.
Marry Bouman 28-08-20, 11:01 Latest update: 12:10 Source: BD
De Waal tells his story in the parental home in Wijk en Aalburg. He is visiting his parents with the camper. In appearance it still looks the same as it did thirty years ago. Because with his long hair he still has the same boyish appearance. The development and brewing of special beer has marked his life for three decades. This started after studying food technology in Boxtel when he was approached by brewer De Raaf in Heumen, where he had already completed an internship, to come and brew beer. He makes the first Dutch wheat beer in Heumen. But abruptly, he has to change course when he hooks up with a Finnish blonde while on vacation. From that moment on, Finland will be his new home.
Bad period ,,I just came into a bad period in Finland. There was no work. Let alone a Dutch brewer. So I had to tackle everything. I cleaned, washed dishes and even went to a amusement park mermaid," he says with a smile. He reads an interview in a Finnish newspaper with an entrepreneur who opens cafes at that time. It gives De Waal an idea. , "In Finland there was only pilsner. Boring of course. There weren't many special beers. I thought maybe we could do something for each other. The Finn, who at first liked it, dropped out and then I went for it myself to do." In Finland there was only pilsner, boring of course.
Ronald de Waal, Brewer De Waal founds the company DBBC (Diamond Beer Brewing Company). The brewery is growing and becoming very large. In addition to brewing itself, it will also become one of the largest importers of specialty beers, including the Bergzigt beer, which is brewed at De Raaf and De Hemel in the Netherlands. "It has become a classic over there in Finland". Eventually it all becomes too businesslike and in 2008 he sells his flourishing business to investors. Then there is plenty of time for long trips with the camper.
Yet the blood crawls where it cannot go. With a nod to his nomadic existence, his company The Flying Dutchman Nomad Brewing Company was born in 2015 and he develops new beers again. He now runs his job from a small town near Helsinki and as a nomad from his camper. “All my beers are brewed in kettles from other breweries, which is why we call ourselves nomad brewers,” he explains. Even in this new period, De Waal remains a household name in the beer world. He won eleven awards at the World Beer Awards 2019 in London. His total now stands at more than 60 awards with 35 types of beer.
Everything is brewed in kettles from other breweries Ronald de Waal, Brewer Developing a new beer takes time. "Sometimes it takes me a year to find out which are the right ingredients and the right balance." Before De Waal starts, he already has the recipe in his head. see and how it should taste. That means a lot of testing how it comes to that taste. It's exciting. Only after the first brew do you know if everything is right. Most of the beers I have developed are as I expected. Only two beers were different, but one of them has even become one of my favorites."
Fruits and mushrooms In addition to the usual ingredients, De Waal uses everything that nature offers. “From flowers to herbs, from fruits to mushrooms. And bacteria. Such as the lactic acid bacteria from the sourdough." The long names of his beers are striking. Big Bold Marigold Flower Power Apple Sour and More Complicated Than Your Girlfriend Stout are two examples. "That part of the whole concept is distinctive. Also show what the origin and such a name also indicates which direction the beer is going in terms of taste." Despite the vast experience, there is still healthy tension every time he develops something new. "I still find it exciting to develop new beer with new ingredients." He also wants to make a leap with The Flying Dutchman Nomad Brewing Company. "Last year we produced 150,000 liters, but that must be at least 200,000 liters. we stay too much in the hobby sphere.”