After Gouden Carolus Classic, and Gouden Carolus Tripel, the third and final beer in our trilogy of tastings at Het Anker brewery in Mechelen today -- now yesterday -- was Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor.
The strange name has a convoluted history. There is a statue on the main square of Mechelen that shows a small man apparently falling onto an uneven surface. This represents the city’s mascot, a wooden doll that would be thrown in the air by a blanket. Now, it seems someone from the rival city of Antwerp tried to make off with the dummy in the late 18th century, and the good people of Mechelen didn’t take kindly to that and roughed him up. This in turn angered the people of Antwerp, and in the nasty back and forth, which seems to have included some rioting, Mecheleners renamed their mascot after the nickname for people from Antwerp, “sinjoors”.
If you are still following all this and are now wondering why Antwerpers get this moniker, then you are more patient and curious than most, so I’ll tell you: Antwerp enjoyed favoured status under Spanish rule (late 16th to early 18th century), and it’s leaders were Spanish noblemen, hence the word “señor”. Calling people from Antwerp “sijnoor” doesn’t bother them in the slightest; in fact, it’s a mark of pride. But running around and tossing their effigy into the air may have been a bit more offensive.
Anyway, the statue on Mechelen’s grand market square is called, “Op Sinjoorke”, and the beer, Hopsinjoor, is a reference to all this and a bit of a play on words, because this is a very hoppy brew. Actually, it’s got four types of hops in it, and the resulting blend of bitters is worth repeating (unlike that story). If you like Orval -- and I do -- then you are going to love this -- ditto. With that refreshingly dry finish, I think it would make a great summer beer in particular.
Leaving you with photos of a very nifty building we came across after leaving Het Anker. Obviously a former pub of some sort, but great sign...