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.
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).
It’s almost too small already!
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.
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!
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!
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!