An Oak Tree in an Acorn?


My wife, Frezi, and me, Peter, were camping out in Stellenbosch, South Africa, with just a 2 person tent and our sleeping bags. Luckily camping sites are very well equipped in southern Africa, but still, we had our little adventure. Camping next to us was an older couple, Bob and Marney. They were camping in a luxurious RV with all the bells and whistles. Observing our rustic camping style they invited us for dinner. A great conversation and dinner was enjoyed by all that evening. We learned a lot about how people live and think in South Africa. Bob and Marney lived south of Johannesburg, just having been there we could imagine the countryside they described. It looked a bit like eastern Colorado, with long straight roads across brown treeless plains, really unique if you grew up in green Belgium. Yes we have plenty of pictures of long straight roads - something we had never seen in Belgium. When the coffee pot ran dry, Frezi and Marney continued chatting at the dinner table while Bob and I took a stroll around the campgrounds. I’ve long forgotten our conversation that night but I remember Bob stopping suddenly and just staring. He looked up at a row of majestic trees and said nothing. All was quiet.

“Look an oak” said Bob after a long pause.

Indeed, it was a tall and beautiful oak before us. I though a bit about his simple words and remembered the nice trees we have in Belgium. I grew up near a forest with a lot of huge beech trees and in the fall I would collect the spiky husks and eat the little nuts inside. Always a lot of fun. But why was Bob standing still for an oak tree? An impressive tree like this must have been quite a sight for him who was accustomed to the stark plains of his country. This tree blossomed from a little acorn and it maybe took this acorn a century or more to become this great tree. What were the stories and wisdom accumulated over the years that this tree could share with us? If only it would tell us.

I finally replied to Bob. “Wow, an oak” 

We both kept looking in silence at this one tree visible to us in the moonlight

Years after this tree would reveal itself to me again.

After Frezi and I moved to Colorado, and I was writing a book “Wood and Beer, A Brewers Guide”, the memory of that great South African oak tree came to mind. Oak trees hold a special place in my heart and I can stand in silence for a moment whenever I see an oak. I actually took a detour during my last trip to Belgium so I could visit the huge oak behind the castle in the center of the village, Heule, where I grew up. This oak has a spread his branches approximately 80 feet (25 meters) wide. It was huge when I was a little boy and it touched me deeply to see it again.

The proud fruit of this little acorn is what we hope to nurture at Purpose Brewing and Cellars, just as the acorn does with nutrients, minerals and water from the soil to become a gallant tree. Purpose Brewing and Cellars wants to do exactly the same. We want to use those ingredients around us to create and grow them into a work of good taste; where you and I can stop in our path, pause and be still and quiet for a moment.

Our ingredients are special - knowledge, experience and creativity - that will be combined in different ways to create our brews. The tools are plentiful such as fruit, wood, grain, hop, yeast, barrels from friends and spices that will enhance our goal of providing you with tasteful brewed beer for you to enjoy while pausing for a moment at Purpose Brewing and Cellars.


Frezi and Peter