Innovation and a case of déjà brew TEXT: CHÉRINE KOUBAT | PHOTOS: CLIFFORD LUCAS
The eponymous, flagship beer of the Bourgogne des Flandres brewery is a special one. Despite being a century old, this local favourite, now a true classic, continues to surprise with its tangy taste and blend of two unique brewing techniques. True to the spirit of innovation that was at the very heart of its creation, the brewery is back where it all began, with an intoxicatingly playful approach to beer making.
A beer with nine lives “It is one of only two breweries left in Bruges today,” explains brand manager Matthias Deckers, “though the city was home to over 30 active breweries at one point.” Bourgogne des Flandres may seem like a relative newcomer, but 32 | Issue 75 | March 2020
its story dates back to a farm-brewery in Loppem in 1765. The brewery only opened its doors, under a different name, in Bruges in the 1800s, and its famed concoction was created just before World War I. Despite an eventful journey and the closure of the brewery, the beer lived on, and eventually ended up in the hands of the oldest lambic brewery in the world, Timmermans. “It is brewed in keeping with ancient Flemish traditions,” explains Deckers. “It is a mix of two different styles of beers. The Bruinen Os is a top-fermented dark beer which is brewed on site and blended with lambic from Timmermans, a beer aged in wooden barrels for a year.” The result is a reddish-brown drink with a
complex flavour and a sour mouthfeel. According to Deckers, “it is best savoured with a cheese platter and is the ideal drink for an aperitif.”
Old techniques, new haunt It has been dubbed the most romantic brewery in the world, and it’s easy to see why. Set in the centre of the medieval city, a mere 80 metres from the belfry, it is housed in a historic brick building complete with a modern and characterful glass walkway. Post-visit tastings are held at the bar, which is open from 11 am in a bid to quench the thirst of passers by, and it boasts a beautiful terrace overlooking the canals. The loft, where the Bruinen Os beer is currently brewed, exudes malty and hoppy aromas.