Brewmaster Hendrik Verspecht of Cuver Brewing is used to people asking him what makes his Belgian-style beers different from the many craft brews around Sonoma County. “It’s hard to generalize,” he says. “We have beers that range from 3% to 15% ABV, from pale-as-can-be to dark stouts, sours, hoppy beers, and everything in between.”
At the Windsor brewery and taproom, Verspecht focuses on a handful of signature brews: a poetically floral Pepperwood saison made with Meyer lemon peel and California bay laurel; coriander-hued Dobbel Dark Abbey Ale; rich, caramelly Tripel Golden Abbey Ale; honey crisp Bell Road Bohemian Pilsner, and Hoppy Don Belgian IPA.
The interesting offerings have converted many local beer lovers to the Belgian style, with its typically light body, low bitterness, and yeasty character, often kissed with spicy or fruity undertones. Even Cuver’s IPA is mild, at 6% ABV and welcoming with a harmonious hop blend and ever-so-slightly sweet undertones. “Typical IPAs are very aggressive, so if you’re hopped out, which a lot of people tell me they are, we’re offering an alternative,” Verspecht says. “People want to try something new.”
Hendrik’s father, Jan Verspecht, moved his family from Belgium to California in 2012. In Sonoma, he continued a homebrewing hobby he began back in Europe. But when he couldn’t find Belgian styles locally, he was excited to expand the hobby into a business. “We could import, but the beer suffers from such long transportation. Plus, it’s pretty expensive if you want to have one or two every day, like any good Belgian guy does.”
The brewery crew is tight-knit, including most of the local Verspecht clan and plenty of extended family and friends. “It gets pretty complex, but we all come together,” Hendrik says. “I guess like our beers, we’re all harmonious.”
7704 Bell Rd., Windsor. 707-687-0577, cuverbrewing.com