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Danielle Issa 22 Jul 2014

Colonel Beer: Batroun’s Very Own Local Brew

Batroun has long been heralded for its beautiful, clean beaches; preserved ancient ruins; vibrant nightlife; and unparalleled lemonade. But starting this summer, the old seaside city may transform into a destination for booze lovers thanks to the debut of Colonel Beer. Jamil Haddad is the 30-year-old entrepreneur behind Lebanon’s third locally brewed beer, after Almaza and 961. A native of Batroun, Haddad says his parents encouraged his passion for brewing from a young age. “They are definitely a part of my success,” he reveals to Beirut.com, recalling how often he dirtied the kitchen while tinkering. At just 17, he made his own liqueur using Irish cream, bananas and strawberries.

(Image via Tourism Lebanon)

With dreams of opening his own microbrewery rooted deeply in the recesses of his mind, Haddad matriculated to AUT in Halat to study marketing. It seemed the most relevant major to one day create his own business centered on beer brewing, though he admits he’d readily go back in time and do things differently. “I’d enroll in a microbrewery degree program in Germany, the UK, or Canada,” he reflects. “I would have saved a lot of time.”

Colonel Beer (pronounced co-lo-nel à la française) was born out of Haddad’s itch to brew his own grog. At 24, he toured a brewery – Meantime in Greenwich, UK – for the very first time. He went on to take courses in Europe and visit breweries there religiously to nurture this obsession, dropping by a dozen countries along the way including Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, France, and Scotland. At 27, he came home with a brewery kit in tow. Over the span of six months and countless BBQ and beer tastings hosted for friends, Haddad finally nailed it. Bitter, lager, red ale, and light, Haddad is a veritable jack of all beers.

But Haddad’s vision for his beer goes beyond merely stocking refrigerated shelves inside Lebanese grocery stores with his liquid potion. He’s got his sights on a microbrewery, restaurant, bar, and bed and breakfast all under one roof, and not just any roof. His is a complex constructed nearly entirely from recycled materials, including wood pallets and Eco-Board, a special material comprised of recycled plastic bags.

Haddad credits this eco-consciousness to his childhood involvement in the Scouts du Liban, which he states instilled in him “a profound appreciation of nature and its treasures.” Designed by Ziad Abichaker, the environmental and industrial engineer who started up Cedar Environmental, the Colonel Beer building includes irrigation, natural light cooling systems, and vegetation everywhere.

Haddad has in mind an oasis where visitors can congregate over barbecues, beer fests, and a slew of other social events. Situated just a few steps from the sea and walking distance to the city’s historic relics, the Colonel project will house bungalows, brewery tours, and of course, traditional Batrouni cuisine, which is naturally seafood-intensive. Who knew that beer could complement kibbet samak and akhtabout so nicely?

Haddad’s brewery launched in June and is open daily from 6 p.m. onward. Be sure to pass by and get your dose of Batroun’s very own liquid loot. You can find Colonel Beer near B2B and San Stephano Resort, right off Batroun’s seaside highway.

(Image via Tourism Lebanon)