Passchendaele, the Great War remembrance beer
Author: Erik Verdonck / Published: 2014-04-24 07:57:49 +0200 / Last Updated: over 2 years ago
ZONNEBEKE/YPRES - Throughout the British Commonwealth, the name of Passendale is just as well-known as that of Ypres and Flanders Fields. This is where half a million soldiers lost their lives in World War I. This area is littered with military cemeteries such as Tyne Cot, still visited every day by family members honouring their ancestors who died on the battlefield.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, the Van Honsebrouck brewery has opened the Passchendaele Pub on Passendale market square.
In close co-operation with the municipality of Zonnebeke, which incorporates Passendale, the brewery also developed Passchendaele beer, which was launched last year.
Part of the proceeds are donated to the community of Zonnebeke to help maintain the war monuments and to stage events such as the annual Anzac Day, held to commemorate the war casualties from Australia and New Zealand.
The beer bottle displays the poppy logo of the Passchendaele Society surrounded by the words ‘respect’, ‘remembrance’ and ‘revival’.
A theme café
The Passchendaele Pub is centrally located in the market square, ‘under the church tower’ where you would expect a café to be. Owners Christine and Francis are practising their trade in a fully renovated, former private home, with a terrace both at the front and the back of the premises.
The Passchendaele Pub serves the full range of Van Honsebrouck beers. It goes without saying that this includes the Passchendaele beer, but on offer are also the Kasteel beers, the Saint-Louis fruit beers, Bacchus oudbruin and Brigand.
In the kitchen the emphasis is on the Tommy Tucker Menu, containing a vegetable broth, dished up in an enamel pot, followed by a typical English stew based on an authentic recipe and served in a mess tin.
Moreover, all dishes are cooked fresh on a daily basis and use seasonal produce. Those with a sweet tooth will drool at the thought of ice creams and pancakes.
On the walls, beautiful vintage black and white prints offer a memorable depiction of the Great War. There is a collection of books on WWI for you to leaf through and/or purchase. War memorabilia is also on display and in some cases, for sale. In addition, there is a small exhibition of objects found in the area: a shovel, a mess tin, helmets, bayonets and even a dismantled – and thus harmless – bomb. All of these help to take you back one hundred years in time.
The first floor is host to a small but well-equipped meeting room suitable for group visits.
The Passchendaele Pub adjoins the Ypres Salient car route (70km long). From here it is only a short trip to the Tyne Cot cemetery, the World War I Memorial in Zonnebeke or to visit the town of Ypres.
Plenty of taste
It took one and a half years to develop the Passchendaele beer. This thirst-quencher, like all other Pils styled beers, has a modest alcohol content (5.2% ABV). However, the Passchendaele has a surprisingly rich taste, more often associated with a top-fermented strong beer. Xavier Van Honsebrouck and his brewmaster Hans took on this particular challenge.
Xavier even entered into a bet with Professor Filip Delvaux, a lecturer in the art of brewing with Leuven University. It took dozens of test brews and tasting sessions before the unfiltered ‘Xavierke’ was finally ready.
This beer made an immediate impact thanks to its full and creamy taste that evolves into a slight fizz on the palate and finishes off with a mildly dry tang that makes your taste buds contract.
In the meantime, the ‘Xavierke’ has turned into a filtered blonde beer that now goes by the name of Passchendaele. This beer is marketed in a British style as it was primarily soldiers from Britain, Canada, Australia and New-Zealand who fought in the Battle of Passchendaele.
This beer is available in a bottle containing half a litre (an English pint), and on tap, where it can be enjoyed as a pint or half-pint.
The Passchendaele beer was originally intended for distribution only in the previous war front-line regions of South West Flanders. However, the entire world took an interest with the result that this beer now enjoys worldwide distribution – and recognition.
Xavier Van Honsebrouck is adamant that the Passchendaele beer makes an important contribution to and adds value for exporters of Belgian specialty beers.
Most countries, wherever they are in the world, have a beer culture but very often this is limited to traditional pilsners and lagers.
Specialty beers offering a complex taste palate are unfamiliar to most of these beer drinkers. The Passchendaele allows traditional pils drinkers to discover a more complex taste range and so it makes a great introduction to Belgian specialty beer.
For group bookings and reservations:
The Passchendaele Pub
Telephone: +32 (0) 51 68 68 01
Recent Blog Posts
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’ ... [ read 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 w ... [ read 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 Lin ... [ read 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 ... [ read more ]
You must be logged in to leave a comment
IZEGEM/INGELMUNSTER - Summer 2015: the first test brews are flowing out of the tanks at Castle Brewery Van Honsebrouck’s new brewery in Izegem. There have been no rash or rushed decisions from these brewers.... [ more ]
ZONNEBEKE/YPRES - Following on from the launch of Passchendaele, its WWI commemorative beer, Castle Brewery Van Honsebrouck has now introduced the Beer & Battlefields Passchendaele Tour. Part of... [ more ]
INGELMUNSTER - Hans Mehuys has been wielding the mashing stick at the Van Honsebrouck brewery for over a quarter of a century. Six years ago he was appointed as Brewmaster and Head of Production. ... [ more ]
Passchendaele is one of the more recent additions to the extensive range offered by Castle Brewery Van Honsebrouck. This beer was brewed in collaboration with the 'Memorial Museum'... [ more ]
Beer Tourism Newsletter Signup
Enter your name and email address on the right and click "SignUp" to join.