From the 30th of September till the 2nd of October 2016, Batroun’s micro-brewery Colonel welcomed the public for a unique three-day International Craft Beer Festival. Food, Live Music and Ice-cold Beer highlighted this special weekend, along with an unprecedented international collaboration that brought together Lebanese Craft Beer & diverse European Cultures.
For its third edition, the festival focused on International partnerships, this time with the essential help and support of the British and Swiss Embassies in Lebanon.
“We didn’t want to make a commercial beer festival like in some other places in the world” Jamil Haddad, founder of Colonel, told Kamsyn. “Instead, I wanted to put Lebanon on the world beer map through collaborations between countries at a cultural level too”. Last year, Colonel hosted a band and a micro-brewery from Zurich, while for this 2016 edition one Swiss and one British micro-breweries (Rud Bir & Four Pure respectively) were invited along with the following bands: the Waving Hands and Lexie and the Band. The Festival’s audience could even attend to the first comeback concert of the mythical Lebanese rock band from the 90s The Kordz, that rocked a good part of Saturday’s night.
Jamil Haddad shares with Kamsyn the spirit behind this unique festival: “The breweries featured this year were not only invited to show their products, but most importantly participate to an exchange: we shared our recipes as I openly demonstrated how my machines operate. This created a beautiful & friendly atmosphere that is our contribution to strengthening the bridges between Europe and Lebanon. We do have a dynamic craft beer culture in Lebanon & it’s great we can all benefit from it together !”
Fully committed to this inspiring exchange, Rud Bir was paired with Lebanese bread and the founders of Four Pure came to Batroun a month ago to create a special local brewing. As a result, two tasty & original brews packed with fresh & delightful aromas.
“Beer, food and music are a fantastic way to celebrate summer & to chill the Lebanese way. But we also wanted to add a cultural dimension to it” said Jamil Haddad. « That’s why we had typical Fish and Chips from the UK, as well as the Workshop of the Artist Lucy Baxandall aka « Paperwoman » who recycles paper in order to show people how to make postcards out of leftovers papers & barley from the brewery. We also worked to promote sports and social activities ».
This initiative nicely translates Colonel Beer’s Community and Environmental Spirit, as an eco-friendly brewery conceived by Nadim Sioufi.
2 Photos below of Colonel Brewery by Roland Ragi
Born and raised in Batroun, Jamil Haddad is an adventurer at heart. Growing up, he always had a desire for new experiences and spent much of his time camping, enjoying the outdoors, and windsurfing at Batroun’s famous spot “Colonel”. That very spot inspired the name of Jamil’s endeavour, the Colonel Project, the microbrewery that produces and fosters the culture of High-Quality Craft Beer, on a green platform in the heart of Batroun city.
But how did it all start?
Beer has long been one of Batroun’s favorite drinks and that culture nurtured Haddad’s own passion for beer and motivated him finally to take up home brewing. But home brewing was not widespread in Lebanon and that made the process hard to learn in the beginning. However, after pursuing rigorous research, attending several workshops in the UK, and touring different breweries and beer festivals in Europe, Jamil finally learnt the craft and became proficient at it until he decided to stop his work at Adidas to launch Colonel in 2013.
In June 2014, the brewery finally opened and he moved to Batroun, “a dream come true” according to him. “I wanted to live half naked by the sea, swimming, drinking, windsurfing”, he added. “That goes with my wish of a Lebanese natural craft beer, in a market booming with independent projects. It was a big challenge, still we have numerous projects for the future fused with cultural initiatives.”
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“Our Colonel is a Pirate, a cool colonel belonging to Batroun » says Jamil. « For me, it’s more than a Brewery, it’s a Way of Life ».
Kamsyn, October 2016