For more than 200 years, brewing at Grimbergen Abbey has been forgotten, but now the 900 year old abbey has started a brand new brewing chapter. They are using a combination of old and new methods; creating a beer that they hope will bring back brewing glory to the abbey. Whilst Grimbergen beers have been around, the Belgian-style ales simply license the Grimbergen name. When the abbey burnt down in the 1790s, the brewery was never re-built, but that is all about to change because the abbey set its heart on using brewing methods that would have been familiar to the Grimbergen monks back in the day.
The new brewmaster, Marc-Antoine Sochon, part of the brewing giant Carlsberg, which owns the right to produce and sell Grimbergen beers outside of Belgium, worked with the help of some salvaged books from the old abbey. Father Karel Stautemas, the abbey’s subprior, told The Guardian: “We had the books with the old recipes, but nobody could read them. It was all in old Latin and old Dutch. So we brought in volunteers. 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.” Sochon explained to Reuters: “We will keep the same yeast, which will bring all the fruitiness and spiciness.”
You can get your hand on this exciting new brew next year, when the launch is hoped to coincide with the opening of a bar and restaurant at the abbey.