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How the Pfriems Built a Real Family Brewery

You go to these breweries and whoever is brewing is third-, fourth-, fifth- or sixth-generation brewer of the family. That was amazing, that side of it, and the beer side of it was just incredible as well. To travel from each little region -- spending time in lambic land, drinking the great sour beers of the country, the farmhouse-style beers, the saison-style beers, the abbey beers -- it was a trip made up of many monumental experiences.

One of our favorite, very special experiences came when we were in the little town of Watou, Belgium -- which is in the hop-growing region of the country just right on the edge of the agricultural side of the country. It is also home to three or four world-class breweries including Westvleteren, St. Bernardus and Van Eecke, and one of the most nostalgic restaurants in the world for preparing beer and food, Hommelhof, lies right in this little town. It's a very special little place.

While we were there, we were taken in by locals, fed lobster dinners, drank world-class beers ...

Annie Pfriem: And dined with their children also. Their children were part of the whole thing and it wasn't like "Well, we're going to get a babysitter for the kids." They can eat these fine foods. We went out to this amazing dinner and kids were eating everything we were eating. We were drinking beers and the beers paired perfectly.

It was like "This is what we want ... and we want more kids! This is awesome!"

People always ask us "So ... was Watou conceived there?" and I always say the idea of Watou was conceived there. It was a good thing he was a boy, because we didn't have any girl names picked out and probably would have been Watou still.

-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte.

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Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post,, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, the Boston Phoenix, the Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent. He previously served as the political and global affairs editor for Metro U.S., layout editor for Boston Now, assistant news editor for the Herald News of West Paterson, N.J., editor of Go Out! Magazine in Hoboken, N.J., and copy editor and lifestyle editor at the Jersey Journal in Jersey City, N.J.
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