Beer brewing starts again in Belgian abbey after 200 years

(Photo: PRNewsfoto/Grimbergen)Celebrating the opening of the new Grimbergen Abbey Brewery in Belgium are Provisor and Abbey Brewer, Father Karel Stautemas and Master Brewer, Marc-Antoine Sochon (PRNewsfoto/Grimbergen)

Brewers are producing beer for the first time in 200 years at a historic Catholic abbey in Belgium.

The Grimbergen Abbey Brewery opened on May 27 at Grimbergen Abbey near the Belgian capital, Brussels, Catholic News Agency reported.

The town of Grimbergen is known for its delicious and refreshing Belgian-style beers, which are known globally as iconic products.

Grimbergen Abbey Brewery has brought brewing back to where it started when the abbey was founded nearly 900 years ago.

Brewring has begun inside the walls of the abbey, with beer-making ceasing after the building was destroyed during the French Revolution in 1789

The Abbey Brewery was built in a close partnership between the Grimbergen Abbey and the Carlsberg Group.

Father Karel Stautemas, provisor at the Abbey, led the building of the new facility and has joined the brewing team as Abbey Brewer.

When the COVID-19 virus allows, he will complete his brewing qualifications, allowing him and his fellow fathers to continue the legacy of generations of Fathers before him.

“The new microbrewery is a place to reignite past traditions, just like our symbol the Pheonix we always have the strength to rise again, but to add fresh thinking too,”” Karel said.

“We want to combine our experience, nearly nine centuries of it, with innovation in pursuit of the most delicious and unique new brews. I think that the microbrewery allows us to do that, to explore and experiment with styles and ingredients in a really exciting way.”

BRINGING BREWING BACK

The 57-year-old priest was instrumental in bringing beer-making back to the abbey in Grimbergen, a municipality in the Belgian province of Flemish Brabant. The abbey is home to 15 members of the Norbertine order, established in 1120.

The order was founded St. Norbert of Xanten at Prémontré, near Laon, France, and is also known as the Order of Canons Regular of Prémontré or the Premonstratensians.

Involved in the microbrewery project since its inception in 2016, Stautemas hopes to complete his brewing qualifications as soon as coronavirus restrictions permit.

The abbey allowed a local firm, Maes Brewery, to use the Grimbergen name and phoenix on its beers in 1958. Today the Carlsberg Group, the Danish multinational brewing giant, is the global licensee of Grimbergen.

Father Karel combines his day-to-day monastic life with the running of the Abbey Brewery, supporting Master Brewer Marc-Antoine Sochon, who has also been heavily involved in bringing the new brewery to life.

Sochon, a 28-year-old brewing specialists from France began brewing in his parents’ garage and has since gone on to study both wine making and brewing,

“We are now brewing beer in the abbey for the first time again in over 200 years, a great celebration for the Fathers, for the Grimbergen community and for all those who love Grimbergen beer,” said Sochon.

“We are setting a marker for Belgian beers worldwide. The new brewery allows us to craft batches of delicious beers inspired by new and old brewing techniques to create brand-new sensory experiences.”


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