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La Marlouf: Yassine Kouysse Creates First Moroccan Tripel Beer

Source : | 29 November 2020 |  Arts & Culture | 1327 views


Moroccans seem to always find a way to preserve their heritage and identity by merging them in the modern world and employing their culture in their passion, either in art, fashion, or cuisine. Yassine Kouysse’s first Moroccan tripel beerLa Marloufis the perfect example of that Moroccan peculiarity.The French introduced beer to Morocco in the 20th century. Although public consumption of alcohol is forbidden in Morocco, there are still some places — bars, nightclubs, high-end restaurants, and some hotels and riads — where drinking is allowed. Not only is Morocco the second-largest wine-producing Arab country, but Morocco also counts several breweries. The most notable breweries are located in major cities including Casablanca, Fez, Tangier, Meknes, and Rabat. Morocco produces beer, wine, and liquor that have their own distinctive, singularly Moroccan flavor. Born and raised in Meknes, the historic Moroccan city also known among beer aficionados as the wine capital, Yassine Kouysse moved to Belgium to finish his studies and pursue architecture. But as his interests drifted from his initial path, the Moroccan subsequently changed his major to finally attend business school in Brussels.Across the globe, there is no shortage of stereotypes and misconceptions of uncanny-looking, or simply different, people that come from other countries, races, religions. In many places, minorities constantly walk under a cloud of prejudices and preconceptions. And Moroccans residing abroad are no stranger to this human urge to label and categorize — oftentimes disapprovingly — people from elsewhere. As such, Moroccans in Belgium generally face stereotypes that can be offensive. This affects their sense of self, standing in the way of others’ fulfillment while providing a handful of others with the extra motivation to defy the odds and realize their most cherished goals. At stake is both the successful individual’s pride and their desire to make their family, friends, and community proud. Such is the classic “successful immigrant” story. There are small variations, as character and social surroundings differ from one individual to the next. In a sense, this is Yassine’s story, too. The idea of creating La Marlouf beer came to Yassine when he noticed the hostile preconceptions in which Moroccans find themselves enveloped in Belgium. As he endured the name-calling and condescending looks in public, Yassine said he thought of making something inspired by his Moroccan culture. But this, he insisted, would have to be something that could bring Moroccans and non-Moroccans together despite their differences. Something that would allow them to engage in constructive conversations to transcend their differences, or simply understand each other better by way of sincere engagement. “I was sick of all the cliches around Morocco and Moroccan culture. I decided to create a simple product, able to gather people and then communicate my message through it,” Yassine Kouysse said in an interview with Morocco World News.La Marlouf takes its name from a pejorative word people of Arab descent are often called by some racist people in Belgium. “I intentionally used it to shock, trigger constructive debates, and clearly say ‘the guys you’re calling Marlouf are much better than what you think, look at the real Moroccan culture,’” said Yassine.For Yassine, reclaiming the pejorative term is a potent way to illustrate his country’s culture through shared food and mealtime conversations. Working for two years in his garage, Yassine Kouysse put relentless efforts into making the first Moroccan tripel beer that merges Belgian culture with Moroccan flavors. Tripel beer, which first originated in the countries such as Netherlands and Belgium, refers to strong pale ales, beers that use triple the amount of malt and have a higher ABV. Yassine believes that Moroccan flavors are unique, so translating them into a beer was particularly challenging. However, the enthusiastic and creative Yassine managed to find a result that was satisfying. La Marlouf is one of a kind. The beer is inspired by Moroccan culture and cuisine, evidenced in both its logo and its uniquely Moroccan flavor.The complex logo on La Marlouf beer resembles a traditional Moroccan design we often see in zellige tilework in Moroccan buildings and houses. “The logo is complex and refers to the complexity of our rich culture,” said Yassine.The beer is also characterized by its distinct orange blossom flavor, a staple in many traditional Moroccan dishes—from spiced chicken to cakes and orange honey dessert.Despite his success — with the overwhelmingly supportive feedback his beer has received of late — Yassine is not done yet. He believes he can still make the beer taste better—and even more unmistakably Moroccan. Describing the beer’s ingredients to Morocco World News, Yassine said La Marlouf is essentially made of orange blossom, “love of Morocco,” and a devouring passion. Yassine also considers La Marlouf a beer that goes well with some of the greatest traditional Moroccan recipes. He added that after reviewing his tripel orange-flavored beer, wine experts expressed their satisfaction and told Yassine his beer “does the wine job.”So, behind the beer is an invitation to build cultural bridges. In this sense, La Marlouf is also a hymn to communication and sharing. At least that is what Yassine hopes to ultimately achieve.This is evident in the message that Yassine chose to foreground on La Marlouf’s label. “Morocco, my beloved home with a hundred years of a complex culture.The only place where the violin is played on the knee and where Argan trees grow.A country where interactions and reactions are infused by emotions rather than rationality.I initially intended to break clichés built on Moroccan culture without falling into the never-ending ‘we are not bad guys’ or ‘Did you hear about the Arab scientists, writers, or erotic poetry?’Creating La Marlouf appeared as the obvious thing to do in response to the ideas received. A nice project that allows people to gather around a delicious Moroccan floral, clichés breaking, thoughts, and constructive debates provoking beer.Enjoy!”The unique Moroccan beer La Marlouf is available for purchase in many shops, restaurants, and cafes in Belgium. In addition, Yassine is now planning to export the beer to Morocco and worldwide by January 2021. For now, though, you can also find the brand on its officialFacebook page,Instagram, andTwitter.Yassine aims to show his country’s culture without coming across as defensive or as a victim and to welcome people to have constructive debates over a delicious Moroccan flavored beer.“When people from my community and all communities understood my goal and started encouraging me, that was a great achievement to me,” he told Morocco World News.Meanwhile, to non-Moroccan — or non-Arab — lovers of the beer, Yassine’s message is that being genuinely curious about people and their culture can prevent misleading preconceptions and needless hostilities. “Be curious and discover Morocco … I wish you a nice tasting and journey.”

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