BELGIUM – Carlsberg has unveiled plans to reopen a new microbrewery at Grimbergen Abbey in Belgium after it was shuttered in 1798 after a fire outbreak during the French Revolution.
The microbrewery, which will be inside the abbey and will feature an on-site bar and restaurant, will open to the public in late 2020 and is projected to produce about 10,000 hectoliters.
The monks would brew the original beer Grimbergen which Carlsberg has a licensing deal to produce for the international market.
They are combining ancient traditions detailed in books, some dating back to the 12th century with modern techniques to craft limited-edition batches.
Plans to create new beers at the brewery will add to the existing Grimbergen portfolio, which includes Blonde, Blanche and Double-Ambrée.
Carlsberg’s liquid innovation manager, Marc-Antoine Sochon, will be head brewer on the project, assisted by monks at the abbey.
“Beer has always been part of life in the abbey and we are proud of the beers we have today,” said Rev Karel Stautemas subprior at Grimbergen Abbey.
“We’ve really enjoyed reading more about past brewing traditions in the pages of these ancient texts.
“We’ve spent hours leafing through the books, which are written in Latin and Old Dutch, 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.”
Carlsberg has managed the brewing and distribution of Grimbergen around the world outside of Belgium since 2008.
The domestic market in Belgium is however served by Alken-Maes, which Heineken took control of in the wake of its joint Scottish & Newcastle takeover.
One of the new brews, Grimbergen Triple D’Abbaye is aged in French oak barrels, which were previously used for bourbon and whisky, and yeast is added to give it a slight refermentation.
During this time, the coriander, fruity and spicy phenolic flavours decrease allowing the malty, sweet, vanilla flavors from the whiskey barrel to infuse itself,” reads an official description of the beer.
The Triple D’Abbaye has notes of malt, vanilla, and sweet flavors from the first barrel, supported by subtle, smoked notes from the second to produce a beer with a high alcohol content of around 10.8%.