Brasserie Fantōme, and owner Dany Prignon should be listed as official tourist attractions if you are ever in the Wallonian district near Soy.
The old stone cottage which houses the equally rustic brewery on which Dany crafts his creations is truly one of a kind. It is almost like every convention is defied. every established rule broken, and yet somehow things still work magically.
Dany is truly a lovely bloke, and as he shouts us all lunch (to say thanks for coming to visit him!) attests that he is a much better brewer than a businessman. But what a fine brewer.
For us he is the saison master - a benchmark with which to compare all other saisons. His classic Fantome Saison is a life-changing experience for any self-respecting beer geek. And then there is his Pissenlit (which literally translates to 'wet the bed') that is made with dandelions hand-picked by Dany from his back year. Or the Magic Ghost which uses enough green tea to make the beer a transluscent green colour.
The most amazing thing about the Fantome beers is that the recipes are all kept in Dany's head. He doesn't keep a record of his brews. And each batch is slightly unique, as he'll substitute one ingredient for another if unavailable.
And all this on a 750 litre system, which is then hand-bottled and labelled and manually packed onto pallets. During our last visit, prodution had hit a bottleneck. Dany had collaborated with another brewer - something which he says he doesn't do often - and the beer was ready but the labels hadn't arrived. So small is the brewery that these two pallets of unlabelled beer were holding up the process, as there was no other room in the tiny brewery to pack the next batch.
We considered ourselves lucky to be able to get a range of Dany's beers in from time to time. And they are always eagerly anticipated by his adoring fans. A remarkable fact Dany shared was that only two pubs in his province stocked is Fantome beers. They surely do not know what they are missing out on!