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September 12, 2018 14:04

Brouwerij De Brabandere: “If foeders are well maintained, they can serve up to 50-100 years”

Brouwerij De Brabandere: “If foeders are well maintained, they can serve up to 50-100 years”

Brouwerij De Brabandere is a family brewery and still one of the biggest independent breweries in Belgium. CEO and fifth-generation owner of the brewery Albert De Brabandere answered our questions. In 1894 the brewery was founded by his great-great-grandfather Adolphe De Brabandere. The name of the brewery changed several times (for periods it was called Sint-Antonius and Bavik), but in 2014 the hictorical family name was returned. We thank SVAM Group for the help with the interview.

Tell about brewing traditions of your region? How do they differ from other brewing regions?

The southern region of West-Flanders is particularly known for its Flanders Red Ales like Petrus Roodbruin. This brewing style founds its roots in the middle ages when hops were not available yet and the beer was aged on big oak barrels. The result? A slightly sour and fruity beer that was blended afterwards with fresh beer. Cooling systems were inexistent at the time, so the tartness of the beer was perfectly refreshing. The use of hops today is still very restricted as it would clash with the sourness caused by the wood. The top fermented beer that matures on the oak barrels undergoes another spontaneous fermentation thanks to the microorganisms present on the oak barrels, which we call foeders. The Flanders Red Ale is an authentic beer style and requires maturation at least for 18 months in the foeders before it is blended with the younger beer. Commercial breweries tend to use the name Flanders Ale, but without respect to the long maturation or even the wooden barrels. That is why 4 breweries, including Brewery De Brabandere, gathered and filed a registration at the European Union to protect this precious beer style.

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