Stan Dewulf at Alpe d'Huez's Dutch corner. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Stan Dewulf, the Belgian brewer in the Tour de France peloton

"There’s a big chance I’m the only brewer in the peloton,” says Dewulf, who has gone from homebrewing to a commercially released tripel.

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Cycling is a profession that demands monastic discipline and the ruthless elimination of vices, so the Tour de France peloton is about the last place in the world you’d expect to find an avid home-brewer. On that very niche Venn diagram, Stan Dewulf (AG2R-Citroën) is a circle.

Dewulf is a fourth year pro, having begun his pro career with Lotto-Soudal before signing a four year deal with AG2R in 2021. He’s a Classics specialist with a couple of Grand Tours under his belt (the Vuelta, 2021 and 2020) and some impressive results at smaller or development-level one day races before that (like, winning Paris-Roubaix Espoirs in 2018, or fourth at Le Samyn in 2022).

Dewulf’s debut Tour de France comes at the end of an industrious stretch for the young Belgian. In addition to a busy race schedule, he has been in the process of setting up his own beer label – The Biking Brewers – which has just released its first product, a blonde tripel called ‘Etappe’. “There’s a big chance I’m the only brewer in the peloton,” Dewulf told me, smiling.

His beer is not messing around. According to The Biking Brewers’ Instagram page, it is a “refreshing thirst quencher … distinguished by its spicy aroma and beautiful soft and full taste.” Because it’s a tripel, it has a kick: 8%. 

Speaking to CyclingTips at a stage start – and visibly thrilled to be talking about something, anything, other than bikes – Dewulf explained the origin of his business venture, which is a collaboration between him and a friend he met through cycling as a junior. 

“It started from a hobby at the beginning of the year – we had a nice beer that we developed between Christmas and New Year, when I had some time at home with my friend,” Dewulf explained. The duo originally started small – ”we made a recipe on a small scale, 20 litres in home-brewing” – and fine-tuned the process. “It’s one day’s work with all the cleaning and it’s nice to do when you have some free time,” Dewulf said.

Popping a wheelie on the cobbles of Le Samyn 2021. Photo: Kramon

After some tinkering, they ended up with something they were happy with. “It’s a blonde tripel, 8%. It’s really nice, we were really satisfied with the recipe,” Dewulf told me. “We went to some friends, they tested it, and they also found it [good].”

With their research and development phase completed, The Biking Brewers began to wonder whether there was a place in the market. “So we just said, why don’t we just launch it?” Dewulf shrugged. 

They took the recipe to a rent microbrewery (known in the biz as a ‘gypsy brewery’) for production. ”You can’t do an investment of all the equipment when you’re just starting – it’s really fucking expensive,” Dewulf said. 

Life as a professional cyclist is a fairly one-track pursuit, so an entirely unrelated venture seems to be a refreshing tangent for Dewulf – a chance to flex his business muscle. “From an investment part, from another objective challenge, it’s nice … a project you develop yourself,” he explained. 

(Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

“Our first objective is to have a little bit of a place in the market, in the West Flandrien and Flemish provinces where we come from …  some restaurants who sell it, and then we’ll see. Our goal is to produce beer, make contacts, and in two years make a place in the market,” he explained.

Understandably, there’s a limit to how much of his own produce Dewulf can enjoy – he is, after all, a professional cyclist riding at the most prestigious and important event of the season. 

“For sure I don’t drink four or five beers of my own beer each evening,” Dewulf said with a laugh. “But even if I’m not allowed to drink it all the time, it’s still my product. Even if I see it at a shop, or hear people talking about it, it’s nice to do. Mentally, it’s nice to be busy with something else.”

One for the road. (Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images)

For the moment, The Biking Brewers are limiting their palate to a couple of key stylistic influences – Belgian, to represent his homeland, and French, because he rides for a French team. France is not renowned for its beer culture, but according to Dewulf, that’s changing. “Every time we go to Belgium, we go to the beer shop – a lot of the guys on the team have tasted a lot of quite good Belgian beers, and take a few with them when they come to Belgium,” Dewulf explains. “They know already Belgian beer, and they also like mine. So I was really happy with that review.” 

A hot couple of days in the Alps and Massif Central on his menu, Dewulf needed to get back to the air conditioned sanctuary of the team bus, and I thanked him for his time giving a long interview with precisely zero bike content.

“No problem, it’s nice,” he said, as he rolled off. “Otherwise it’s just three weeks of cycling.” 

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