Déviation à Belgium

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Another sharp right turn from France brought me to Bruxelles to visit family, and two breweries in Belgium were added to the beer tour: Brasserie de la Senne and Rochefort.

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When I was last here in 2010, brewer Yvan de Baets had just moved into this space. It wasn’t ready for brewing yet, there wasn’t a bottling line, the fermentation tanks hadn’t been delivered, and the tasting room was just an idea.

This time, Yvan was juggling mid-brew a 40+ person tour and a yeast crop, while also planning his brew taking place a few days later with Megan Parisi (former lead brewer at Cambridge Brewing Company and currently Brewmaster at Bluejacket, the brewing project of Church Key in Washington, DC).

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It’s almost too small already!

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The next day I visited Gumer Santos at Rochefort, one of six Trappist breweries in Belgium. (There is a seventh in The Netherlands.) There was at least a nod to France in this visit though- since the mark of “Trappist” is derived from the French Abbey of Notre-Dame de la Trappe in Soligny. (France)

A fire recently destroyed part of the brewery, and a few happy adjustments have been made while rebuilding, such as widening the entrance for today’s trucks and a sparkling high-tech lab.

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Rochefort just started adding a back label for the US market because of too much required text crowding the front- see it here first before it hits our shelves!

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Some people thought I wouldn’t be allowed in the brewhouse because I’m a woman, but it was no problem and Gumer even introduced me to a few of the monks. Super!

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Gumer will be in the US next year as an advisor to the new Trappist brewery project at Saint Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts. That’s right- an American Trappist beer!

1 Comment

October 28, 2012 · 7:16 am

One response to “Déviation à Belgium

  1. We ran into one of the Spencer, CA monks when we were visiting Chimay this fall. Fun coincidences!

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