Rutger and Melanie make cider in their own garden: “We picked every apple ourselves” (Gent)

© David van Hecke

GHENT

Cider drinkers can taste a new Gent cider this summer: Druug. Dry Apple and Pear Juice is a pairing of Melanie and Rutger from New Gent, who have a preference for Belgian apple varieties and are allergic to food waste.

Bert Stace

“Isn’t it a bit strange that in a country with so many apples and pears, there is a beer culture but no cider culture?” All you have to do is listen to Melanie Lovens (31) and Rutger Roihardt (32) talk about their passion for cider and you’re sold.

The pair from Nieuw Gent are launching their first bottles this summer Medicine, their handmade apple and pear juice. On Saturday they were guests at the DOK Brewing Company beer festival in Dok Noord, but their cider can now be tasted in several places in Gent.

© bst

“Call it a very hands-off hobby.” Melanie and Rutger started making their own cider six years ago in a garage in Nieuw Gent. “We had an apple tree in our yard and couldn’t bear to see those apples rot.”

Year after year the program grew Medicine, a genuine Kent cider. “We now make cider in a container in our garden. There are two large barrels with a capacity of 1,000 litres.

They pick all the apples and pears themselves. “Picking is a big job, yes, but we can say that we put every apple in our cider. We’re constantly looking for old Belgian standard varieties, which are often not very suitable for eating.

© IF

© IF

Melanie and Rutger scour the area looking for places where people haven’t plucked their apple trees. “We also have apples from Bijlok or Guiseline. We press the apples and ferment the juice with champagne yeast. This gives the cider a dry aftertaste. Medicine So.”

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There are already many small cider producers in Flanders, but it remains a relatively unknown product. “England, the Basque Country or northern France have a whole cider culture, but not here. Our supermarkets are full of foreign ciders. While Belgium has many orchards, we mainly sell apples from abroad. A bit weird, isn’t it?”

The result is impressive: a smooth, flavorful cider with a dry aftertaste. Druk is currently available in two versions, one with apples and one with dates, and can be found at Beer Shop de Hauptwell, Wine Bar Edelrod and a few other addresses. Information is available Found here

© David van Hecke

Ferdinand Woolridge

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