Bruges local, Thomas Vandelanotte, has brewed Bourgogne des Flandres again in Bruges after almost 60 years, for the John Martin brewery. This young master brewer has been preparing for this important task over the past few years with intensive training at Brewery Timmermans.
Bourgogne des Flandres is a very special beer in the Belgian beer tradition. It is a typical example of the Flemish blended beer tradition in which old and young beer is skilfully mixed to create the perfect balance. Bourgogne des Flandres is produced by mixing brown, high fermentation beer with a lambic beer from Brewery Timmermans. This spontaneous fermentation beer gives the Bourgogne des Flandres a fresh, tangy note. Although Bourgogne des Flandres contains just 5% alcohol, this noble beer boasts a full-bodied taste. It’s the ideal aperitif beer!
In the past, the Van Houtryve family brewed Bourgogne des Flandres in the Den Os brewery in Bruges. At one point two Bruges breweries brewed the beer at the same time. Pierre Van Houtryve in Den Os and his brother Etienne Van Houtryve in Brewery La Marine. Pierre Van Houtryve closed the original Den Os brewery in the Raamstraat in 1957 after six generations.
Nevertheless Bourgogne des Flandres survived. His son Michel, took the family brewery’s flagship beer to other breweries. In the Eighties, Bourgogne des Flandres finally ended up in the hands of Lambic Brewery Timmermans, and later in those of John Martin. Until recently only the cellars of ‘t Bourgondisch Cruyce and wine trader Feys-Vanacker remembered this Bruges brewing tradition, but that is about to change.
Anthony Martin bought the former OCMW building in 2012, to establish a new city brewery there. In June the brewing system was spectacularly lifted by crane across the Dijver, and installed in the attic. Bourgogne des Flandres Brewery will open its doors to the public in the spring of 2016.
“A brewery in the attic; that’s got to be unique. And bringing an old Bruges beer back to life with a view of the Belfry, even more so!”, says Anthony Martin, CEO of John Martin. “In anticipation of the official public opening, our brewer Thomas Vandelanotte will work on the first brew along with Edward Martin. As soon as the brewery opens to the public, Bruges locals and beer lovers all over the world will also be able to follow the brewing process live. They will literally be able to look over Thomas’ shoulder. When he adds hop to the brew they will be able to breathe in the wonderful aromas of fresh hop for themselves”.