News Christian Deglas - May/June 2018.


We arrive almost at the middle-year as if the time went into high gear. May is in theory the most beautiful month of the year with its bright days, the nature in full revival, the perfumes of flowers at the end of nostrils. The terraces of establishments are practically settled and only wait for their customers. It is the moment of the year, where beers seem more tempting than ever, letting appear, by region, new crus, should it be only for a « one shot ». We notice however that numerous beer amateurs, the believers of a brand, are often tempted to discover a new flavour to compare it with their favourite beer. Furthermore, there is no preference for a blond, an amber or a brown, it is simply the healthy curiosity which guides the choice.


It will make now a few years already that Philippe Leclef, the brewer of Mechelen, put back on the rails the brewery « Het Anker » established however in the XVth century already, and based near the town-gates of the Antwerpen province. The production proposes a historic catalogue attached to the great moments of the city, considered in the Middle Ages as the outer harbour of Brussels, capital of Belgium. Rich by its historic past, in particular during the reign of Charles the Bold. The city was very desired by the big noble families and was also a privileged target during the Spanish invasion in 1585. Gradually also, Mechelen became an archdiocese in which the bishop manages all the religious, essentially catholic questions, what during a new invasion of Belgium by the protestant Netherlands, left indelible marks. Mechelen was also a historic city and a symbol of a futuristic economic progress because it was the outcome in 1835 of the first railroad connection relating Brussels to Mechelen. This strong historic character finds itself through various beers of the production of the brewery Het Anker. The little weakness of the city is essentially the range of « Gouden Carolus » in reference to the Emperor Charles V. The assortment is complete and so rich, to the point that the new crus essentially consists of limited versions, and not corresponding to traditional beers, like « oak aged ». 2017 saw the range growing with 2 rarities, a « Gouden Carolus Indulgence » (8, 5%) presenting a very strong bitterness thanks to typical hops but bio. It enjoys besides of an add of 4 spices or herbs, refining its character not to approve it in an IPA.

Finally to « Lord any Honour ! », Charles V is remembered through the « Cuvée de l’Empereur » (11,7%), matured in barrels of whisky, because it is necessary to specify it, the branches of the brewery are also deployed towards the domain of the distillery by taking back another family business « De Molenberg », producing some famous whiskeys of the type single malt, rich in body and character, leaving in its barrels yeasts and residual malts, favouring a new fermentation, letting appear touches of vanillas, barks of oaks and slightly dark chocolate.

In short, you can only gradually, in moderated touches, discover all the empirical cuvees of the brewery «Het Anker ».


In this speciality, the Vander Kelen family of the brewery Haacht, has the art to hit hard. This beautiful family brewing company, still independent, is not kept by obligations of fashion tendencies. It is above all the love to produce outstanding products, answering excellent criteria and highlighting the originality of a flavour, without upsetting for all the principles of its manufacturing.
An example with one of the last ones of the catalogue, the range Super 8. Let us quote the Super 8 blanche (5,1%) who is much more than a simple white beer, such as it was known. It defines itself as a real originality due to the duration of its various fermentations so that every ingredient, among which certain spices, of its stage of fermentation, is market well during the tasting.
This range has 3 other products, among which the one low fermentation, a blond Export (4,8%), as well as a delightful IPA (6,8%) which excel by its profound bitterness but however without showing itself acrid. The range of beers “Mystic” is also very estimated and seems to settle down among the flagship products of the brewery. They appear in 3 versions: the Radler, the alliance of which with the lime, gives it specifically an advanced freshness. The version « Pêche » is clearly more rounded off as well as a traditional « Cerise » sweet certainly but not disproportionate because their role stays before any to quench during its tasting. Finally, the brewery Haacht hardly attached to the History of Belgium and its traditions, propose its great classics, the « Charles Quint » in 3 versions, of which the « Ommegang » master of the game during the plantation of the « Meiboom » (the tree of May). And naturally we shall not forget the « Tongerlo », in 4 finishing’s, the blessed beer of the fathers Norbertins.


No matter the month, but in May, the brewers of the Vallée de la Senne around Brussels, and specialized in the spontaneous fermentation, raise the results of lambics gathered during winter months to begin the various cuttings for the coming gueuzes who will still remain a few months in oak barrels. The little brewery of Beersel, in the shade of the old castle, is certainly younger than the building of the Middle Ages, whatever it can already show a big centenarian of existence because its production of beers goes back up in 1882. It aims to be proud of an unchanged method of assembly of beers since her beginnings, considering her work a real art. The young Gerd Christiaens started again since a few years, the pursuit of the tradition, while innovating a comma, certain crus of an all in all logical fantasy coupling beers of spontaneous fermentation with other products stemming from the high fermentation. The result is rather surprising but not spectacular because we find the touch of an artist there, which never denigrates the tradition.

Two new crus were born, and can only amaze you, whom you are purist or not.

The « Bersalis Sourblend Grand Cru » (8%) already distinguishes itself by a degree of alcohol clearly over what offer lambics. However, it keeps the acid acidity of lambic, coupled by a fruity as the green apple, the pear, even the banana for what is the version « Bersalis Tripel » (9,5%), Bersalis being the Latin word for Beersel! Its qualification « sour » and « blend » justifies itself perfectly getting diverse delicious stages resulting finally in a platform, surprising, real and faithful to its ancestral origins.

The other novelty is the « Vieille Gueuze Barrel Selection Oude Pijpen 2017 » (6,5%). In this case we dive into the real history resuming a robust acidity of old lambics, among which some matured for 20 months on « old pipes » about 60 to 120 years, some even dating of the beginning of the activities of the brewery. It is necessary to taste this production by taking time to decompose its months of maturation. It presents a very well-balanced acidity, provided with a profound maturity. It keeps on average 20 years, in the course of which, the lambic will become a little round to leave behind it a delicious impression of very great class and confidence.


I do not remember any more if it is during a May month that these 2 young passionate launched their intention to make their career in the beer. It is certain in any case that it is the number 13 which gave them luck and allowed their complementarity to make a success of a difficult but increasingly concrete project, to produce within the Capital of Europe beers magnificently successful and with very specific characters. Created in 2013 on base of a crowdfunding, which today gathered more than 2500 members, guaranteed to be supplied with beers of the brewery for life! After 5 years of existence, and so much enthusiasm, the qualitative guarantee is always there. The sceptics of the first hours, are going to be left high and dry because the productions brought out of this small brewery situated at the heart of Brussels are writing a new historic brewing page for the city of « Manneken Pis ». Today after a modest smile of the starting-time, their talent brought them to a wide amply deserved face of satisfaction. These 2 young enthusiastic pioneers are to make a success of their bet, to enrich the card of Brussels beers with. a new delicious treasure. The BBP (Brussels Beer Project) confirms as one of the poles of interests of Brussels, not only at the same time but especially loyally with the public. His geographical situation of its place of production is close to the Senne (Channel of Brussels) formerly a point of arrival of cereal and hops coming from the Belgian provinces. The brewery produces essentially beers of high fermentation.

Proof that in « May you make what pleases you but not inevitably anything! » and that, the BBP understood very well!



Christian DEGLAS