Gideon Swinkels learned to brew beer at a convent during his childhood in Holland. Now he creates taste experiences with local ingredients in Harads. This autumn, he is investing heavily in soft drinks and juice.
Today, 39-year-old Gideon Swinkels grew up in a brewing family in South Holland, near a monastery with which the family collaborated.
– I was a lot among the monks in the monastery and learned that beer culture. Now I want to make something of my history and our family tradition, he says.
When Gideon, with his wife and four children, moved to Sweden ten years ago, it was to help refugees. During the day Gideon worked with nature conservation in the forest and in the evenings he was out on the streets.
– We worked mostly in Skärholmen with youth gangs and tried to create relationships through music, help them from the criminal world. It was great to do but it also took a lot.
It was difficult to live for a large family in Stockholm and after a few years the situation became unsustainable. A friend in Piteå then suggested moving up to Norrbotten and avoiding the stress of the big city. There were no suitable houses in Piteå or Luleå, but a house in Klusån outside Harads remained unsold. They struck a deal, bought it unseen and moved.
– When we came here it was a bit hard. The whole house was crammed with furniture and we came with four children, so it was just to get to work. It was minus 25 and the water pump broke so we had to carry water, but the kids did not complain. For them, it was an adventure. Moving here was the best we could do, here we have more time together, says Gideon.
It was a few years ago that Gideon started brewing beer at home in the kitchen with a friend. The first batch was successful so the interest and desire to experiment grew.
Since he has also worked with substance abuse care before and seen the backs with alcohol, he took a while to think before he chose to invest in the business.
– I asked myself if I really want to do this, I have seen so much misery. But then the problem is not in the beer but there is something else behind it.
Gideon has remodeled the garage next to the house into a brewery and tasting room by reusing things he has found, including a scrapped milk tank that has been rebuilt for the purpose.
Many microbreweries focus on IPA and APA with a strong hop character. Gideon does the opposite and pulls down on the hops to reduce bitterness.
– The very purpose for me is “get together”, a feeling of “Yes, now we will start the evening!”. Then you have to create a taste that is accessible to everyone, that you do not need to process.
He plays with different kinds of malt and fermentation methods and spices with plants and herbs from the Norrbotten nature, such as fireweed, Queen of the Meadow, sheer birch leaves and black currants. Gideon is an artist’s soul and has an artistic attitude when he creates his tastes.
– I not only want to produce but I really want to be responsible for it. You can choose to invest big, but then I think you lose a little love, he says.
For example, he has created the beer “Eva’s Paradise” based on the food creator Eva Gunnares character and used her favorite spice, Garden Angelica from Sarek. “Trip to France” is a rosé beer created from wine from black currants and “Kiss of the moose” is spiced with Queen of the Meadow which gives a floral and almond-like taste. “Basilica la Bianca” is a tribute to his half-Italian wife and created to suit pasta.
– All beers are actually linked to food. Along with food, it will be a “boof”, an experience!
On the premises, he offers beer tastings and brewing courses and he likes to work with food artists. Among other things, he has a collaboration with Treehotel, which has led to new ideas for non-alcoholic alternatives.
– I want everyone to be able to enjoy this, including families who have children and those who drive a car. So now I will do something new, I will make juice and soft drinks with elements from the brewing world. I will play a little with hops, Queen of the Meadow and other spices that come directly from here to get a really Norrbotten taste.
It will be this autumn’s big investment for Gideon Fruits Brewey. #