Subscriber Exclusive

Pick 6: Yvan De Baets of Brasserie de la Senne Is Under the Influence

Brewers don’t develop their tastes and skills in a vacuum; they’re affected by others, both before and during their careers. Here, Yvan De Baets of Brasserie de la Senne in Brussels chooses his pack and defends it (and wishes he could pick more than six).

Yvan De Baets Mar 26, 2021 - 11 min read

Pick 6: Yvan De Baets of Brasserie de la Senne Is Under the Influence Primary Image

Illustration: Jamie Bogner

Brewers are always under the influence, so to speak. That influence comes either from your predecessors, from admired colleagues, or from your own brewing culture. All the beers you encounter in your life—especially before you start brewing—help, step-by-step, to create a vision of what your own beers should be.

Having a vision is key if you want to make great beer. It should be something personal, showcasing your values. But unless you’ve lived all your life on an island, then you have been—even without noticing—under the beer influence of others. It’s a good personal exercise to try to understand that. It probably makes us better brewers because it forces some humility upon us and connects us more deeply to our industry. Of course, that influence should lead us to get inspired while making our own things, not to basically copy.

The first three beers I’ve selected are, for me, some of the very best examples of styles and beer cultures that influenced my approach to beermaking. As a Belgian, I have, of course, been influenced by the beers of my homeland (perhaps most importantly by lambic) but maybe even more so by traditional English bitters—with their low ABV and super-high drinkability—and by German pilsners, with their clean palate and the precision used to brew them. Those are the main causes of what my beers are today—or, at least, what I’m trying to do with them. Funnily enough, both those brewing cultures deeply influenced Belgian brewing in the second half of the 19th century.

Make & Drink Better Beer

Subscribe today to access all of the premium brewing content available (including this article). With thousands of reviews, our subscribers call it "the perfect beer magazine" and "worth every penny." Your subscription is protected by a 100% money back guarantee.