Brouwerij Mort Subite is named after a game of chance played in a Brussels pub beginning around 1910. The pub bears the same name as the brewery and sells the Mort Subite beers. While Mort Subite has a reputation of offering a lot of sweetened brews to the public, the fact is that the brewery crafts fine straight lambics, as traditional as any of the lambic breweries. They also offer traditional, unsweetened Oude Gueuze and Oude Kriek beers that are both worth seeking out. These beers are not often seen outside their home market, which is unfortunate. The brewery is owned by Alken-Maes, a larger Belgian brewery, which is in turn owned by Dutch giant Heineken. This corporate ownership may explain why the brewery, which, while open for Toer de Geuze 2015, did not contribute any lambic to the 2015 HORAL Mega Blend.
Here is a video taken in a fermentation room at Brouwerij Mort Subite, Kobbegem, Belgium, during Toer de Geuze 2015.
Here is a video in the brewhouse at Brouwerij Mort Subite, Kobbegem, Belgium, during Toer de Geuze 2015.
The brewery itself, which was formerly called Brouwerij De Keersmaeker, is an old gem. It’s beautiful, shining copper brewhouse can be seen from the street, and it’s rows of huge foeders in cavernous barrel rooms are impressive.
All of the Toer de Geuze participating lambic makers give you at least one free drink, and I started with the Jonge Platte Lambic (young lambic) which was very good. There was also a Witte Lambic that was also good, as well as the Oude Gueuze and Oude Kriek. Price was just one euro for a glass of these first two brews and two euros for a glass of the latter two. Plenty cheap!
I guided the group through the large fermentation halls and then into one of the foeder rooms, where we were given a sample of lambic right from foeder number 10. Yum! We then headed back outside and through the courtyard into the beautiful copper brewhouse. After snapping a bunch a photos, we had time to grab one more beer before it was time to depart. With five lambic producers to visit this day and just seven hours to do it, we only had about an hour or a little more at each place.
Our next stop was the venerable Brouwerij Timmermans, which has been undergoing a big resurgence in the last seven years or so. See this earlier article for full details and many more photos. Timmermans has added close to twenty foeders in the last couple of years, in the 35 to 40 hectoliter size. They are selling some Oude Lambiek and Kriekenlambiek in bag in box form. The brewery was very crowded during Toer de Geuze, such is their uptick in popularity the last few years, due to producing more and more traditional lambic beers.
The whole site is a living museum, with a still-used old open mash tun, old copper brewing kettles, and a huge copper coolship (koelschip.) Seeing this vessel full of steaming hot wort in the evening is an unforgettable sight to see. There is also a brewing museum within the site with myriad old breweriana and brewing equipment. On our visit, there were a couple of different lambics on offer inside one of the barrel rooms, and many Timmermans brews were available inside the tasting cafe.
Willem van Herreweghen, who founded Geuzestekerij De Cam back in 1997, greeted visitors in one of the barrel rooms. He had a slideshow set up to show the lambic brewing process, and a microscope for viewing yeast and other bacteria that help ferment lambic beers. He spoke with several members of our tour about lambic brewing.
Anthony Martin, owner of John Martin Group, which owns Brouwerij Timmermans, greeted me outside the tasting cafe, and I was able to introduce him to several members of our tour group. The affable Martin has invested a lot of money in upkeeping and upgrading the Timmermans brewery, and probably saved it from closure, some years ago. Alas, after a glass of Oude Gueuze and Oude Kriek in the tasting room, it was time to head off again.
On the next page (5) we arrive at Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen…