200 years after their brewery was destroyed during the French Revolution, Belgian monks from the Grimbergen Abbey will once again make their own beer.
The Grimbergen Abbey is a Norbertine Monastery near Brussels with a rich history of brewing beer. Founded in 1128, the abbey’s monks brewed beer for centuries until their monastery was destroyed in the anti-Catholic destructive annexation of Belgium during the French Revolution in 1798.
Prior to its destruction, resourceful clerics were able to smuggle out books from the monastery’s library, some of them dating back to the 12th century. Those concerning beer are in Latin or Old Dutch, making them hard to categorize and sort today.
“We’ve spent hours leafing through the books and have discovered ingredient lists for beers brewed in previous centuries, the hops used, the types of barrels and bottles, and even a list of the actual beers produced centuries ago.” – Father Karel Stautemas
Father Stautemas announced their plans to once again to make beer at the monastery, saying they haven’t settled on a specific brand of brew yet, but it will be a modern one.
“We want to build a micro-brewery, on a small scale and linked with tradition, on the site where the brewery stood before the French Revolution. What exactly the beer will be, we don’t yet know, but the tastes of before and now have changed. This will be a beer of the 21st century.”
Slated to open in 2020 barring the completion of a feasibility study and licensing approval, the brewery will be within the monastery walls and have a bar and restaurant for patrons. They plan to use the approaches found in the books to remain authentic to the rich heritage of the Grimbergen Abbey.
“We’re excited to use these books to bring back the medieval techniques and ingredients to create new beers.” – Marc-Antoine Sochon, head of the new micro-brewery