No.1 travel guide for Belgium; dedicated to Belgian beer and food culture.

Brouwerij Cornelissen, the tale and the taste


Email  •  Print

Author: Erik Verdonck / Published: 2016-11-05 10:51:06 +0100 / Last Updated: 4 months ago

Sint-Gummarus Tripel beer Sint-Gummarus Tripel
© BeerTourism.com


OPITTER - The locals would ask for “de bieren van Opitter” or “the beers from Opitter”, when they ordered a Pax Pils, Ops Ale or Sint-Gummarus. And if you popped into a café, you’d be in Jos’s or Jef Cornelissen Jr, Brouwerij Cornelissen Jef Jr.
© BeerTourism.com
Stanke’s in those days when everyone in the village knew everyone else.

These days things are a little more official. The brewery that until October 2015 went under the name of Sint-Jozef is now called Brouwerij Cornelissen. It’s a sixth-generation family business, currently run by Jef Cornelissen junior, who follows his namesake father into the top seat. It’s easy to see now what the “JC” on the vintage enamel “bieren van Opitter” sign stands for.

That name may not have set any bells ringing yet, but the village of Opitter is home to an international star. A statue in the village square - a female tennis player, knees bent, legs wide apart – is the first sign that you are in the home of former tennis world champion Kim Clijsters. She still lives just around the corner.

The brewery too is inextricably linked to the village. The brick façade with the old Sint-Jozef name still on show in retro typography is a real landmark in this small community. And as you approach from Kim Clijsters square, catching a glimpse of the historic brewhall with its copper kettles, there’s no doubt that this is a brewery that is very much alive.


Brouwerij Cornelissen In the brewing hall...
© BeerTourism.com


A Peek Inside the Kettle

A Brouwerij Cornelissen tour starts off with a welcome from your guide in the village square. They will explain the history of the brewery and introduce you to the many generations of the Cornelissen brewing dynasty. Brouwerij Cornelissen Kettle inspection!
© BeerTourism.com

Then it’s on to the brewhall, where the tanks for fermentation and cold storage sit, where the beer is filtered, and visitors can watch the bottles and barrels rolling down the conveyor belt at the filling line.

And then comes the moment supreme; the tasting session, held in Het Brouwershof right next to the brewery. You won’t find beer any fresher than this.

But walk into any café in the Opitter area and you’ll almost certainly find Pax Pils or Ops-Ale flowing from the tap. With a bit of luck you might also come across Limburgse Witte, Bokkereyer, Bosbier, St-Gummarus or Herkenrode abbey beer.

“We supply around 200 outlets, primarily cafés but also hotels, brasseries, taverns, sports clubs and cultural centres,” says Jef.

His brewery is building a range with a broad taste palette that allows the drinker to grow into it: from quite sweet to neutral, fruity, hoppy or malty flavours. Never extreme, and always perfectly balanced, the tasty thirst-quenchers Pax Pils and Ops-Ale were created in the mould of the British ales that were popular in the late 1930s.


Brouwerij Cornelissen Ops-Ale
© BeerTourism.com


A Moreish Tale

A beer with a good story behind it tastes so much better. And for its amber Spéciale Belge-type beer the Cornelissen brewery drew its inspiration from the rich world of legends. Its name, De Bokkereyer, Brouwerij Cornelissen Limburgse Witte & Curry
© BeerTourism.com
is a reference to mythical diabolical robbers who flew through the air riding billy goats (‘bokken’), coming down to earth from time to time only to plunder and wreak havoc.

The former Herkenrode abbey takes pride of place on the label of the eponymous dubbel and tripel. This place was no myth though, as the imposing grounds near Hasselt testify.

Variations on familiar themes are also a favourite option with this brewer. The Cornelissen range includes a pils enriched with blueberry juice (Bosbier), and a kriek based on white beer (Kriekenbier).

Sometimes the brewer offers you the choice between a classic like St-Gummarus and a modern beer style, say Herkenrode. For the latter, herbs and spices may have been used, or even woodchips, which are added during boiling. Noble aroma hops could be part of the mix.

The brewery is now outgrowing the village. Limburgse Witte is popular in Russia and the Limburgse Witte Rosé, especially developed for that country, is going down a treat. Doors in China are slowly opening to the Pax Pils.

A new wind is blowing at Cornelissen’s and the new name is only the beginning. But the brewery remains, for now, right in the heart of Opitter, for lovers of ‘beers from....’


Visit Brouwerij Cornelissen

Brouwerij Cornelissen
Itterplein 19
B-3960 Bree - Opitter
Belgium

Website: www.brouwerijcornelissen.be
Facebook: Brouwerij Cornelissen


Recent Blog Posts

Something's brewing at Brasserie des Carrières
BASECLES - You may not have heard of this little village, halfway between Tournai and Mons. Its former quarries are now filled with water where the black marble that adorns Cologne Cathedral was once ... [ read more ]
Brouwerij Huyghe, the Pink Elephant marches on
MELLE - Alain De Laet, CEO and owner of Brouwerij Huyghe, is a firm believer in the power of the Belgian beer brand around the world. The success of the brewery speaks for itself, with Huyghe ... [ read more ]
Durobor, a touch of glass
SOIGNIES - Belgians drink their beer from the correct glass. An abbey beer tastes so much better from a traditional chalice, a pils beer from a pils glass... Only in Belgium, will you come across such ... [ read more ]
Westmalle, a shining beacon of Trappist beer...
WESTMALLE - Time appears to stand still in a Trappist abbey like Westmalle. However, appearances can be deceptive - even here the latest technologies are quietly creeping in. The abbey has an up-to-da ... [ read more ]
Val-Dieu, celebrating 800 years of Belgian beer culture
VAL-DIEU - Those monks certainly picked some beautiful spots for their abbeys. The rumble of the busy motorway lies far behind me as I swap the flat northern Belgian landscape for the gently rolling ... [ read more ]

Comments


You must be logged in to leave a comment


SHARE:
 



BLOG

POSTS
Something's brewing at Brasserie des Carrières

BASECLES - You may not have heard of this little village, halfway between Tournai and Mons. Its former quarries are now filled with water where the black marble that adorns Cologne Cathedral was once hewn; ... [ more ]

Brouwerij Huyghe, the Pink Elephant marches on

MELLE - Alain De Laet, CEO and owner of Brouwerij Huyghe, is a firm believer in the power of the Belgian beer brand around the world. The success of the brewery speaks for itself, with Huyghe be... [ more ]

Durobor, a touch of glass

SOIGNIES - Belgians drink their beer from the correct glass. An abbey beer tastes so much better from a traditional chalice, a pils beer from a pils glass... Only in Belgium, will you come across such a wide variety of b... [ more ]

Westmalle, a shining beacon of Trappist beer...

WESTMALLE - Time appears to stand still in a Trappist abbey like Westmalle. However, appearances can be deceptive - even here the latest technologies are quietly creeping in. The abbey has an up-to-date ... [ more ]

Limburgse_witte_-_brouwerij_sint-jozef_225

More Beer

Malt, wheat, hops, coriander, dried lemon peel and water. Even the earliest records list these ingredients for the brewing of a white beer. The epoch of this white beer started... [ more ]

Beer Tourism Newsletter Signup

Enter your name and email address on the right and click "SignUp" to join.

Name:
Email:
TWITTER
    FACEBOOK