By Deirdre Tynan • 07 June 2021 • 8:36
Pictured celebrating the opening of the new Grimbergen Abbey Brewery are Provisor and Abbey Brewer, Father Karel Stautemas and Master Brewer, Marc-Antoine Sochon.
Grimbergen Abbey Brewery brings together almost 900 years of brewing tradition with the best of new-world brewing techniques for one of the world’s most famous Belgian beers.
The state-of-the-art Grimbergen Abbey Brewery will bring brewing back to where it all started when the abbey was founded nearly 900 years ago. It is also the first time in 200 years that beers have been brewed inside the walls of the abbey, with beer-making ceasing after the building was destroyed during the French Revolution.
The Abbey Brewery will serve as an innovation hub, combining brewing traditions drawn from the ancient books of the abbey’s library with new and innovative techniques to craft unique limited-edition batches of exceptional premium beers.
To celebrate, Grimbergen has released three exciting new brews – Grimbergen Magnum Opus Brut Beer, Grimbergen Ignis Quadruple and Grimbergen Astrum Pale Ale. Grimbergen is available in Carrefour stores across Spain.
The Abbey Brewery was built in a close partnership between the Grimbergen Abbey and Carlsberg Group. Father Karel Stautemas, Provisor at the Abbey, was instrumental in building the new facility and has joined the brewing team as Abbey Brewer. When Covid allows, he will complete his brewing qualifications, allowing him and his fellow fathers to continue the legacy of generations of Fathers before him.
Father Karel said, “The new microbrewery is a place to reignite past traditions, just like our symbol the Phoenix we always have the strength to rise again, but to add fresh thinking too. 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.”
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.
Marc-Antoine, a 28-year-old brewing wunderkind from France who began brewing in his parents’ garage and has since gone on to study both wine making and brewing, added, “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.
“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. These new brews will provide fans of Grimbergen and others with the chance to journey through amazing new tastes and flavours that could only be conceived in the unique surrounds of Grimbergen Abbey.”
Grimbergen Abbey Brewery also features an on-site bar and restaurant giving visitors the opportunity to savour the rich brews and pair them with dishes from the restaurant Fenikshof. Later this year, Grimbergen will also open a Brewery Experience Centre that will give visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves into the rich heritage of Grimbergen and the magic behind its innovation.
Speaking at the launch of the Abbey Brewery Cees ‘t Hart, CEO of Carlsberg Group, who licence Grimbergen, said, “It is a treat to be here at the beginning of Grimbergen’s next chapter and to experience what we believe will enrich the future of Belgian beer.
“Grimbergen is at the very heart of our growing portfolio of craft and speciality beer and it is contributing to the strong double-digit growth we’re seeing in the category. The new Abbey Brewery is an important step for us in continuing to develop our speciality brews to meet growing worldwide demand. We believe this beautiful Abbey Brewery will take us, and beer drinkers around the world, on an incredible journey of flavour discovery,” he added.
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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.
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