The Belgian Family Brewers
They have all been brewing for at least 50 years within a Belgian, family-owned brewery.
The pared down logo in black, yellow and red used by the Belgian Family Brewers (BFB) adorns many a bottle on the shelf of your favourite beer shop or café.
This logo is an assurance that you are buying a unique beer that is not sold anywhere under a different name or label. In other words, it guarantees authenticity.
If you purchase a beer bearing the BFB logo you are sure to enjoy a traditional and authentic Belgian beer.
Just like French wine or Scotch whisky, ‘Belgian beer’ is a powerful brand these days.
As a result, Belgian brewers are happy to use this quality label that stakes their place in the lineage of traditional Belgian beer styles.
The label also helps to set apart the traditional beers from the numerous ‘Belgian-style beers’ that are now produced outside Belgium.
The BFB first saw the light in 2007, as the brainchild of Hugues Dubuisson, the owner of the Dubuisson brewery. BFB aims to strengthen the international reputation of authentic artisan Belgian beers.
The BFB will only allow their logo to appear on the top brands produced by their members. In this way, the BFB label guarantees the quality of family-brewed beers with a proven tradition.
It is up to each individual brewer to decide which of his, or her, beers are put forward for the qualification.
On YouTube you will see several videos posted by BFB member breweries. The same values are mentioned time and time again: BFB members are encouraged to promote quality in their beers, including packaging, opportunities for food pairing, etc.
So, is ‘Belgian beer’ a protected denomination of origin comparable with the French AOC (appellation d'origine controlee) mark used for wine and other fine regional agricultural products?
Despite what you might think, this is not the case. Beer is considered an ‘extract’, containing ingredients from several countries. For example, Belgian breweries source their hops from Central Europe or the USA, and the barley or wheat they use often comes from outside Belgium.
Belgian Beer Culture
The ‘Belgian beer’ denomination is more to do with brewing and fermentation methods, and local crafts and traditions. Still, a beer that has not been brewed and bottled in Belgium can only be labelled ‘Belgian-style beer’.
But BFB brewers don’t just look to the past for inspiration. They also make considerable investments in the latest brewing technology.
BFB make sure that your beer is a quality beer with an authentic background and plenty of soul to boot.
They are now aiming at a wider public, trying to break into new markets and to bring new groups of consumers into the beer market.
BFB is also an information service, striving to provide consumers with the facts about what they are drinking.
Brewers belonging to the Federation issue a guarantee that they have been brewing in their home country for generations, and that they have contributed to the diversity of the Belgian beer landscape as it is today.
If you want to win someone over to Belgian beer, using one individual brand is not the way to go. You will only convince a non-Belgian beer drinker by using a variety of flavors, by offering a range of tastes and styles from within the rich Belgian beer culture.
A Strong Brand
However, this success story could encourage opportunists to try to worm their way under that umbrella. The BFB’s campaigns always aim to safeguard the good reputation of Belgian beer.
They call for honest communication, and for a view that extends beyond the short term.
BFB asks all its members to help build a strong brand that will eventually benefit all of them, whether large or small.
So, who exactly are these Belgian Family Brewers? Here are just some examples.
Brouwerij De Brabandere, also known under its former name, Bavik, contributes to the ranks of Flemish red-brown beers with its Petrus. It also produces a witbeer, Wittekerke, as well as a heavy blonde beer that carries the name of Kwaremont.
De Halve Maan has introduced their Brugse Zot as well as its Straffe Hendrik range.
De Koninck has composed variations on the spéciale belge ale theme with its De Koninck, its seasonal Winterkoninck beer, and the Triple d’Anvers.
De Ryck uses the spéciale belge ale style as a starting point for its Arend. This brewery is also making an impact with its fruit beers Kriek Fantastiek, Jules de Kriek and Jules de Bananes alongside its heavy blonde Steenuilke brew.
Dubuisson wins praise with its strong Bush beers (called Scaldis in the USA) that hark back to the 1930s, and with its lighter Cuvée des Trolls.
The Dupont brewery, from the same region as Dubuisson, packs a punch with its Saison Dupont and two stronger beers: Bons Voeux and Moinette, and also plays in the stout register with its Monk’s Stout.
Duvel Moortgat is almost synonymous with its strong blonde Duvel, and its even more heavily hopped and aromatic Duvel Tripel Hop, besides offering the lighter Vedett white beer and pils.
This brewery’s range also includes the Maredsous abbey beers as well as the brown beers from Oudenaarde produced by Liefmans.
Het Anker gives us the Boscoli fruit beer as well as three strong beers from Mechelen: Gouden Carolus, Cuvée van de Keizer (The Emperor’s Cuvée) and Lucifer.
The Huyghe name brings to mind Delirium Tremens, made famous by the pink elephant on its label.
But this brewery also produces the golden blonde multi-grain beer that goes by the name of La Guillotine.
Styles & Flavours
We are familiar with Lefèbvre thanks to their Barbar honey beers, and its well-hopped Hopus. Lindemans is a brewer of lambiek with a range including the Cuvée René gueuze, a Faro (a blended lambiek), as well as fruit beers including Framboise (raspberry), Pomme (apple) and Cassis (blackcurrant).
Omer VanderGhinste, formerly known as Bockor, has taken a step back in time with its Brasserie LeFort.
It has joined the ranks of Flemish red-brown beer makers with its VanderGhinste Oud Bruin and Cuvée des Jacobins.
It delves into the gueuze style with its Gueuze Jacobins, and takes a dip into fruit beers with its Rosé Max. Finally, there is the heavy blonde Omer.
From Roman’s you can enjoy the Adriaen Brouwer beers, a range of brown beers from Oudenaarde, as well as the Ename abbey beers and two strong blondes: Gentse Strop and Sloeber.
Saint-Feuillien produces eponymous abbey beers alongside its Car d’Or pils and a saison.
The Sint-Bernardus abbey beers carry the BFB logo as does the Grottenbier produced by this brewery.
Timmermans produces in the Flemish red-brown tradition with its Bourgogne des Flandres, and also makes its mark with ranges of lambic and fruit beers.
Van Eecke is the brewery behind the regional Hommelbier, as well as the Kapittel abbey beers, and the Watou white beer.
Verhaeghe follows the same tradition with its Duchesse de Bourgogne but also grabs the attention with its traditional Barbe beers from Liège and its Echt Kriekenbier.
Brouwerij Strubbe from Ichtegem, famous for their Keyte beers became an official member of the Belgian Family Brewers in 2017.
In March 2018 Brouwerij Boon became the 21st member of the Belgian Family Brewers.
So many flavours, so many styles…
Beer in Belgium
A look at what beer means to Belgium and the population's unique relationship with the country's favourite export product.[ more... ]
Detailed information about the Belgian Brewers. It was established in the 14th century and is one of the oldest trade associations in the world.[ more... ]
Belgian Brewery Visits
Detailed guide to Belgian brewery visits; from big to micro, city and farm breweries, in Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels.[ more... ]
Belgian Beer Icons
An overview of some of Belgium's most iconic "beer figures" helping the country maintain its image of being the beer capital of the world.[ more... ]
Belgian Beer Shops
Detailed information on where and how to buy Belgian speciality beer when visiting the country...[ more... ]
Belgian Beer Festivals
A guide to the best beer festivals and events which take place every year in Belgium. Includes festival locations, event summary and contact details.[ more... ]
Patron Saints of Beer
Extensive guide with detailed information on the patron saints of beer and beer brewing, officially recognised or not.[ more... ]
History of Beer
An extensive guide on the origins and history of beer and brewing, both in Belgium and around the world... [ more... ]
You must be logged in to leave a comment
MARCHE-EN-FAMENNE - “Their cuisine is on a par with that of the French and the portions are generous...” When people discuss the Belgian art of living, it won’t be long before the term ‘Burgundian’ ... [ more ]
BRUGES - Eleven years ago it all started off on quite a modest scale in the medieval town hall of Bruges, under the imposing gaze of the Belfry. Now, in 2018, the Bruges Beer Festival has spread its wings and encompasses... [ more ]
GENVAL - It’s 1909 when John Martin, a Brit, makes his home in Antwerp, earning his living by provisioning sailing vessels. Before long John’s deliveries are heading onto the ships of the Red Star Line, ... [ more ]
NAMUR - At the 6th edition of the Brussels Beer Challenge, hosted this year by the city of Namur, Belgium once again lived up to its cast-iron reputation as one of the most important beer countries in the world. ... [ more ]
STEENHUFFEL - The annual hop harvest at Palm Belgian Craft Brewers is truly a festival of and for the people. We survey the busy crowds on the last Sunday in August in the hop field in the shadow of the ... [ more ]
The beers of Val-Dieu subscribe to the rich tradition of Belgian abbey beers. The brewer’s inspiration is found in the recipes laid down many centuries ago by the monks. This is no... [ more ]
Beer Tourism Newsletter Signup
Enter your name and email address on the right and click "SignUp" to join.