The Mad Brewer Explores the Low Countries
Brewery Van Steenberge

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San Francisco

Brewery Van Steenberge
The unknown tavern


November 5, 1998

Hotel Lucca in Brugges is a very nice place to stay, but why can't they manage to get their credit card machine to work?  Oh well, we'll get by.  So off to Bios to visit the brewery.  Due to the credit card fiasco, we were a few minutes late, but that didn't seem to get us in to too much hot water.

Paul introduced us to Andre, the brewer general manager, and then he took us on a tour of the brewery and facilities.  The brewery itself is a conglomeration of old and new, as each part is added on as funding from the selling of their beer makes it possible.   But make no mistake about it, this is a state of the art facility.

Andre is very busy, managing the brewery, and traveling to work with his distributors.   Production is about 100,000 Hectoliter/year.  Beers are aged an average of 60 days, at 0 degrees C.  Andre says this makes them very stable, and not need for pasturizing.  Many of the beers are exported ot the U.S., via a distributor in Santa Barbara.  Andre encouraged us to contact them about events and new releases.

The grand tour included a visit to the "Hot Room", where the bottle conditioned beers rest for a while, in order to get a good start on refermentation.  It was quite cool outside, maybe 40 F, but in the hot room it was at least 80.  There are actually several of these rooms, more like warehouses, where lie stacks and palletes of beer, waiting just a little bit longer, before they are sent off to you and me to consume.

Finally, Andre took us to the tasting room, where he shared three of their beers with us.   The tasting room itself is quite a sight, all done in wood and glass, very elegant and tasteful.

Andre was very generous with his time, and products.  He gave us a bottle of his newest creation, Leute Bokbier, and the matching glass.  As you probably know, each beer in Belgium is served in a unique glass.  This one is very special, in that it includes it's own wooden stand.

As we bade farewell to Andre, he said that he must go to Italy, and would be at the 24 hour beer festival in Antwerp on the weekend.

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Kim, Paul and Andre hide behind the boiler

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Yeast is yummy looking stuff

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Filtering can be a messy job

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Andre shows Paul a bottle of Gulden Draak.

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The Labratory

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TThe Tasting Room