This time we are sitting at the bar with Manuel, bar employee at Van Moll. We are going to talk about his beer “Sur la Vague”, his work and his love for beer.
Manuel x Van Moll
How long have you been working at Van Moll and what do you do? “About three years. A few years ago I started helping out at the Van Moll pop-up bar on Jera On Air. I really liked that, I met a lot of nice people. I then added some people on Facebook, saw a job offer pass by and then the ball started rolling. Now, three years later, I have a new position. I am now responsible for selecting the beers for the bar, arranging tap take-overs and creating and inventing the beer cocktails. There will be one with Culture Club as a base with Orange juice, Brewdog Gin and a citrus fruit. Wonderfully summerish. I really wanted to grow within Van Moll and now I have been given the opportunity to do so. If it’s up to me, I’ll stay for a few more years,” says Manuel.
But Jera On Air, because of the heavy music? “Yes, back in the day especially, but the older I get, the more styles I listen to. I am also a musician myself, started out as a guitarist and now I am very much involved with synthesizers. I like electronic music, but also guitar violence. I can go either way, in terms of beer I like almost everything as well. Only the traditional Belgian styles less and less, you see these way too much in Zeeland, where I come from. That does not alter the fact that they can still surprise me, I recently had an interesting Quadrupel. And yes, the sour Belgian beers, old brown, Flemish red, lambic, gueuze, they are always interesting,” says Manuel. “I also like good simple basic beers, such as The Kernel makes, that have a good taste without anything crazy. Simple, but really good,” adds Manuel.
You want to grow, you will stay put for a while, what do you like best about working at Van Moll? “I like meeting new people. The beer world is huge these days. You meet so many new people in bars and at festivals. That’s what I really like about this world. The connection. That is also the reason why brewing itself does not appeal to me. Yes, I sometimes help with filling the bottles, for example, but I’d rather put myself between the people and a great atmosphere. I brew at home as a hobby, but full time wouldn’t be for me. I enjoy chatting with guests too much for that. In addition to beer, I also make my own fermented soft drinks. I really enjoy working with flavours. I also always start from scratch,” explains Manuel.
Dungeons, Dragons and Beer
But you can not only be found at Van Moll when you work, you even come to the events?…“Yes, Dungeons & Dragons for example. I actually got into it through Mattie, Mathieu. I always liked how he explained the stories, I wanted to try it too. And then I was hooked. I’m going to try to write a story myself soon, based on the Horizon Zero Dawn world. Kind of nerdy shit, but after all, we’re all kind of nerds here. That’s why I think we get along so well, a team of friends. We also see each other outside working hours, to play D&D for example, which makes working here extra fun,” says Manuel.
A glass of freedom
Your beer, what kind of brew is that? “It starts with the name…I have lived in Eindhoven for 8 years now, but I am from Zeeland (Terneuzen). So that had to come back somewhere. There’s a hint of it in the name, Sur la Vague. This is from a song by La Femme (Sur la Planche), which I’ve been listening to a lot lately. It translates into surfing waves, about freedom and letting go of everything. And of course the water, my roots in Zeeland. The beer itself is based on IPA with Saison yeast and the hops Sorachi Ace and Lunga. As a fresh finishing touch some Yuzu. I think that creates a really interesting taste experience. Don’t just throw lemon, lime or orange into your beer, but get the freshness from somewhere else. I don’t choose the easy way out,” says Manuel. “I would say: cheers to freedom and be kind to each other.”
Van Molls Friends & Manuel
My favourite beer is…Saison de la Senne
My favourite animal is…all of them, but if I have too choose bunnies
I wake up early for…a morning ride by bike
I laugh loudest at…The Office
My guilty pleasure is…Ata Kak
My favourite music is…Dance Punk
On my bucket list is still…a solo vacation, going on a trip without a goal (all by myself)
My biggest talent is…getting a tooth through my lip after “tasting” some beer