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

Microbreweries feel at home at Brassigaume


Email  •  Print

Author: Erik Verdonck / Published: 2015-10-20 09:35:51 +0200 / Last Updated: over 1 year ago

Brasserie de la Lesse at the Brassigaume beer festival Brasserie de la Lesse at Brassigaume
© BeerTourism.com


MARBEHAN - Fifteen years from its inception, the Brassigaume Festival has put itself firmly on the map. For microbreweries in the South of Belgium, this is the main showcase to display their wares. Brassigaume microbrewery festival A warm welcome at Brassigaume
© BeerTourism.com

26 breweries took part in the 2015 edition of this festival. The poster promises a taste of science fiction, with a beer traveller bursting out of a cloud of froth, carrying a barrel on his back and using a large, upside down beer glass as a helmet.

However, here in the heart of the Ardennes, fiction could not be farther from my mind.

I am in Marbehan and, before anyone corrects me, I know that Marbehan is really in the Gaume region; the area to the South of the Ardennes, starting at Orval Abbey and finishing at the French border.

A bit of trivia: this region enjoys the highest number of sunshine hours in all of Belgium.

Anyway, Marbehan is the village that adjoins Rulles. And so it stands to reason that Grégory Verhelst, the owner of Brasserie de Rulles, is the spiritual father and founder of the Brassigaume Festival and is using it to promote the Association of Craft Brewers, of which he is a member.

In theory, you are a microbrewer if your production falls below 4,000 hectolitres per annum. In practice, a number of members exceed this annual output, partly thanks to exports. Other members include a handful of local ‘nanobreweries’ and start-ups.


Pierre Gobron owner of Les 3 Fourquets brewery at Brassigaume Pierre Gobron owner of Les 3 Fourquets brewery at Brassigaume
© BeerTourism.com


Pump up the Volume!

By all accounts, the local ‘craft brewers’ are really doing rather well. Brasserie de Rulles now employs seven permanent members of staff and enjoys a great export trade with Italy and other countries.

Celebrating Belgian craft beer at Brassigaume Celebrating Belgian craft beer
© BeerTourism.com
Millevertus has shifted its focus to neighbouring countries, France in particular, where its range of herbal beers is in great demand. This brewery is expanding and is now aiming for an annual production of 10,000 hectolitres.

Brasserie de Bastogne is in search of a new location.

Brasserie de l'Abbaye du Val-Dieu is getting ready for 2016 to celebrate its 800th anniversary and is making arrangements to cope with the increased flow of visitors.

Brasserie des Carrières, known for its Diôle, has now employed a full-time brewer.

Another brewery looking to increase its capacity is Les 3 Fourquets, founded by Pierre Gobron, who used to be a partner in Brasserie d’Achouffe.

The expanded brewery will be fully operational some time during 2016, all funded by a rise in exports.

Several local breweries deserve a mention. Some of these have been around for a while and others have only just sprung up. My list includes Oxymore, Gengoulf, Brasserie de la Semois, Brasserie Brasserie Cazeau at Brassigaume Brasserie Cazeau at Brassigaume
© BeerTourism.com
de la Lienne, Brasserie Ste-Hélène, Brasserie Demanez, Brasserie de la Lesse and Brasse & Vous.

A handful of these are brewed with the Orval proprietary yeast and use the Orval lab for analysis.

Looking at Gengoulf, the link with Orval is even more evident, as this brewery was created by an employee of the Orval lab.

In the meantime the new brewery founded by Jean-Marie Roch, former brewing master at Orval, is clad in silence.

This brewery was set to be established in Sensenruth in the vicinity of Bouillon. Jean-Marie Roch’s house beer, Monsieur Rock, is still being brewed in England.


Brasserie de Bastogne at Brassigaume 2015 Brasserie de Bastogne at Brassigaume 2015
© BeerTourism.com


Home-Grown

Many breweries developed from farms. In the South of Belgium, these ties are still evident: you will come across several farm breweries and ‘terroir’ is still very much alive. Diôle Blonde by Brasserie des Carrières served at Brassigaume Diôle served at Brassigaume
© BeerTourism.com

Brewers pride themselves on using hops from their own fields, of growing their own barley or procuring it from local farmers.

Sustainability is key. The shorter the food chain, the better it is.

When a local brewery decides to expand, they will work with local cheese makers, butchers, chocolatiers or chefs.

And thus, you should not be surprised to find a characteristic paté gaumais or a Gaume sausage.

Smoked or not, everything on offer at the festival will keep you going when the going gets tough and the tough get going. Does it go as well with the beers offered by the Norwegian, British, Italian and Spanish microbreweries?


Recent Blog Posts

Lindemix... the art of blending Lambic by Lindemans
VLEZENBEEK/DILBEEK - It is often said that lambics are only for those with an experienced palate. At Brouwerij Lindemans, one of Belgium’s favourite brewers of this traditional style, they beg to diff ... [ read more ]
Omer Vander Ghinste celebrates 125 years of brewing craftsmanship
KORTRIJK/BELLEGEM - It was in 1892 that Brouwerij Omer Vander Ghinste opened for business in Bellegem, a village near Kortrijk in West Flanders, close to the French border. Since then, ... [ read more ]
Brasserie de Brunehaut - In tune with the seasons
RONGY - In Rongy and all around it, spring is in the air. The fruit trees are in bloom and nature has put on its most beautiful face. I’m on my way to Brasserie de Brunehaut, a brewery surrounded by o ... [ read more ]
Westmalle Dubbel or Westmalle Tripel?
WESTMALLE - If you order a Westmalle you’re likely to be served with a Tripel. This is no coincidence as this strong blonde Trappist beer now accounts for 75% of the beer output of this abbey brewery. ... [ read more ]
Amburon Belgian Craftbrewery - A new brewery in Belgium’s oldest city
TONGEREN - After a fifty-year wait the moment has finally arrived. Once again, the city of Tongeren can boast its own brewery and city beers. The story commences with the 2009 ... [ read more ]

Comments


You must be logged in to leave a comment


SHARE:
 



BLOG

POSTS
Brasserie Artisanale de Rulles, the taste of the Gaume

RULLES - The Gaume region is situated between the forests of the Ardennes and the French region of Lorraine. But here, around Orval and Virton in the far south-eastern corner of Belgium, the sun ... [ more ]

Orval and The Gaume - Blessed by an Angel

VILLERS-DEVANT-ORVAL - Orval abbey and its divine beer provide plenty of inspiration for a morning stroll. Walk with me to the Southern tip of Belgium and discover the various faces of the Gaume region. ... [ more ]

Firing up the brewing kettle in the Gaume

THE GAUME - Deep in the South of Belgium, hidden amongst the pine forests, nestles the Orval Trappist abbey and brewery. This famed locale marks the s... [ more ]

La Grande Choufferie (Big Chouffe Party) at Brasserie d'Achouffe

ACHOUFFE / WIBRIN - Chouffe fans, of whom there are many, will have marked the second weekend in August with an extra star in their diaries. That is when the tiny Ardennes village of Achouffe, the home base of the eponym... [ more ]

Ardenne_stout_brasserie_de_bastogne_225

More Beer

When English beers were celebrating their heyday in Belgium, stout was immensely popular. Stout tends to be a rather bitter, dark beer that is brewed using roasted or burnt malt. A... [ more ]

Beer Tourism Newsletter Signup

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

Name:
Email:
TWITTER
    FACEBOOK