Oud Beersel is a brewery with a colorful history located in a small city called Beersel in the Flamish Brabant district. As with many other small lambic breweries Oud Beersel is situated in the very idyllic small Belgium city where one might end up as a turist only if she or he has a plan to taste great beer. There might be a chance to have a chat with a brewer and a possibility to look around in the building, which has been used as a brewery for 135 years already.

It is not difficult to travel to Beersel from Brussels. The visit of the brewery might take half of the day. Besides the brewery Oud Beersel has a tasting room and a shop, where one might find also some bottles of vintage lambics from Oud Beersel assortment.

The Story of Oud Beersel

The brewery was established by Henri Vandervelden in 1882. Henri left the brewery to his son Egidius, who handed it over to his son Henri Vandervelden the Second. You can see Henri Vandervelden the Second in the old movies introducing the lambic culture. The fragments of these films are available on YouTube.

In 1991 Henri Vandervelden decided to retire, but his son Hubert was not interested in brewing. However, the tradition of brewing lived on in the family, because the brewery was taken over by Henri`s cousin Danny Draps. Danny managed to keep the brewery afloat for almost 10 years. Due to low demand of lambic beers and economic difficulties he decided to close the brewery for good. Henri Vandervelden the Second did not want to be just an onlooker and despite his age started to search actively a successor for the brewery. After three years of searching the deal was made with a young and ambitious brewer Gert Cristiaens. Soon his father Jos joined the team as well.

In 2005 the brewery was reopened. The traditional geuze and the kriek of the modern era were available in very limited amounts in 2006. Frank Boon also had a remarkably big role in the history of the brewery of Oud Beersel. He helped to supply the Oud Beersel with hops, malts and berries. From time to time he also sent some spare parts to repair the brewing system. Later on, he also let Oud Beersel to use his own bottle line.

Quo vadis?

Gert and Jos have basically restored the historical glory of Oud Beersel and bought it back to the picture of traditional lambic breweries. The brewery has always respected the traditions, but at the same time they also love comprehensiveness, which means that the modern and scientific methods are also used to research, understand and describe all the nuances of making this mystical style of beer. Even today some of the methods are rather cognitive, not controlled and specified repetitive phases of the brewing process as we all know it.

The owners of Oud Beersel have decided to establish a cherry orchard to make the famous and very delicious kriek with their own Schaarbeekse cherries.

Oud Beersel in Estonia

Until now the craft beer lovers have had a chance to try traditional gueuze and kriek of Oud Beersel, as well as vintage gueuze from 2014 in 750ml bottles. In addition to that some special lambics brewed with champagne yeast from the Bzart series have been available. Here and there some 12-month old Oude lambiek have been served from the keg. For people who love sweeter lambic we definitely recommend trying Oud Beersel framboise.

From the seasonal lambics the Green Walnut is also available. Jubilee of the brewery was celebrated with the new experimental gueuze Vandervelden 135, which was released during the Tour de Geuze. This gueuze is made from one-year old lambic matured in the barrels of Bruno di Montalcino wine and blended with the two-year old lambic from the old Oud Beersel foeders. From non-lambics we have offered a Bersalis Triple Oak Aged, which is a Bersalis triple aged in Chateauneuf du pape wine barrels and after that fermented in the lambic barrels.

Õllegalerii is very proud and happy to present some new beers of Oud Beersel in Estonia. Very soon there will be available Faro, which is produced by the addition of candy sugar to selected barrels of Oud Beersel lambics. In the case of Oud Beersel, the candy sugar is added months prior to packaging, allowing the yeast of our lambic to slowly ferment the candy sugar until the Faro is no longer sweet.

The second and not very wide-spread beer coming soon available in Estonia is Oud Beersel Kriekenlambiek. This is a traditional lambic beer, produced by the addition of real sour cherries for natural fermentation into young lambic. Once the cherries have been fully macerated and fermented, the Kriekenlambiek is blended with an older lambic to reach the desired flavor. For each liter of Kriekenlambiek, there are 400 g of sour cherries. It is not sweetened; no flavorings or preservatives have been added.

In the past we have been able to supply some bars with Oud Beersel Oude Lambiek, which is 12-month old. Now we have the chance to offer you a 20-month old lambic. This provides the comparsion for the characteristics of different lambics in the process of maturing.

Oud Beersel is a brewery that only starts to enjoy the fruits of hard work and dedication. The people behind the brewery have always been with the soul of a warrior. Now they are trying to lift the lambic culture into the new golden age. Let’s be happy that despite the hard times in the history of the brewery, Oud Beersel has survived. This is a great encouragement for all the people who may consider starting to brew lambic or blending lambic-style beers in the future.