Lambiek Fabriek joins The High Council for Artisanal Lambic Beers (HORAL)

Published on January 24, 2020.

There is big news in the Belgian beer world today, and especially for the lovers of artisanal lambics brews. Lambiek Fabriek, a new lambic brewery and blendery that officially opened in 2016 in Ruisbroek, in the heart of the Payottenland, has been accepted into HORAL, The High Council for Artisanal Lambic Beers.

Here is the press release from HORAL today, as sent by Board Member Yves Panneels: “The High Council for Artisanal Lambic Beers (HORAL) has accepted the Lambiek Fabriek brewery from Sint-Pieters-Leeuw as new member. As a result, 10 producers are now a member of HORAL.”

“During its meeting of January 23rd, the general assembly unanimously approved the entry of Lambiek Fabriek. I am also pleased to announce that our new member immediately announced their intention to participate in the next edition of the Toer de Geuze in 2021,” said HORAL chairman Gert Christiaens. “The entry of Lambiek Fabriek will strengthen the lambic industry as a whole. Within HORAL certain common interests are discussed by the majority of the gueuze producers of the Pajottenland and the Senne Valley and umbrella projects that are useful to our sector are supported, such as the GTS protection at European level of the Oude Geuze and Oude Kriek as well as the Schaerbeek Krieken project. ”

“We brew all our lambics ourselves in a 100% traditional way. The word “Fabriek” (factory) in our company name refers to the street name where it all started. Our first storage room is located along the Fabriekstraat in the Ruisbroek borough of Sint-Pieters-Leeuw. Since there was not enough space for brewing equipment, we use the kettles of the Belgoo brewery. In the meantime we have established our second, larger barrel warehouse at that location,” says Jo Panneels of Lambiek Fabriek. “We expose the brew to the outside air in a coolship above the entrance. Once the wort is cooled, the lambic is pumped into wooden barrels to ferment and mature.”

The HORAL press release continues: “Lambiek Fabriek was founded in 2016 by Jo Panneels and Jozef Vanbosstraeten. Jo Van Aert joined the duo in 2017. At this moment the young lambic brewery has two beers in its portfolio: the Oude Geuze Brett-Elle is made from different, self-brewed lambics, and Fontan-Elle is a mix of fruity lambics that is bottled without the addition of old lambic. In the course of 2020, Lambiek Fabriek will launch some new lambic beers. 65% of their beers are sold in Belgium. The rest is exported to countries in Europe and elsewhere in the world.

In 2019, Lambiek Fabriek produced 600 hectoliters. The total lambic stock is currently around 130,000 liters. Lambiek Fabriek’s lambic is maturing in French oak “barriques” of 220 and 400 liters and in 4,600 liter foeders, which were purchased last year.”

(End press release.)

HORAL was founded in 1997, and is a non-profit organization comprised of most of the lambic producers in the Payottenland and the Zenne River Valley. This from HORAL today: “The main objective of the association is the promotion of traditional lambic beers, in particular Oude Geuze and Oude Kriek. The association also takes initiatives to protect these beers. Every two years HORAL organizes the Toer de Geuze, the open brewery day of the Pajottenland and the Senne valley. The next edition will be on May 1st and 2nd, 2021.”

The current lambic-producing members of HORAL are: Brouwerij Boon, De Oude Cam, Hanssens, Brouwerij Lindemans, Brouwerij Mort Subite, Oud Beersel, Gueuzerie Tilquin, Brouwerij Timmermans, Brouwerij De Troch, and now, Lambiek Fabriek.

Oude Geuze Brett-Elle from Lambiek Fabriek.

Oude Geuze Brett-Elle from Lambiek Fabriek.

Oude Geuze Brett-Elle and and Young & Wild Fontan-Elle from Lambiek Fabriek.

Oude Geuze Brett-Elle and and Young & Wild Fontan-Elle from Lambiek Fabriek.

Lambiek Fabriek began as a lambic blendery using wort brewed at nearby Brouwerij Belgoo in nearby Sint-Pieters-Leeuw. It was founded by Jo Panneels, who handles lambic blending as well as marketing and sales; and Jozef Van Bosstraeten, who handles brewing and blending. The duo have now joined forces with Brouwerij Belgoo owner and brewer Jo Van Aert, who opened his Brouwerij Belgoo in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw in 2015.

I first wrote about Lambiek Fabriek in this 2017 article here.

"Young & Wild Fontan-Elle" from Lambiek Fabriek pictured on top of a barrel in the facility in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw. Fontan-Elle is a blend of two-year old lambics.

“Young & Wild Fontan-Elle” from Lambiek Fabriek pictured on top of a barrel in the facility in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw. Fontan-Elle is a blend of two-year old lambics.

While the maturation facility on Fabriekstraat in Ruisbroek still exists, Lambiek Fabriek has added many more barrels, including eight foeders in the 46 to 47 hectoliter size, at the now combined Belgoo/Lambiek Fabriek site. The wort is brewed in the Belgoo brewhouse and then pumped a few yards away into the Lambiek Fabriek coolship. After cooling, the wort is pumped into Lambiek Fabriek barrels either on-site or driven to the Ruisbroek facility and pumped into barrels there.

Jo Panneels of Lambiek Fabriek in the barrel room at the Belgoo/Lambiek Fabriek site in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw.

Jo Panneels of Lambiek Fabriek in the barrel room at the Belgoo/Lambiek Fabriek site in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw.

A row of barrels at Lambiek Fabriek in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, Belgium.

A row of barrels at Lambiek Fabriek in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, Belgium.

The Lambiek Fabriek brewing and blending process is done completely in the correct and authentic way for a lambic brewery, and their induction into HORAL validates this.

Lambiek Fabriek’s Oude Geuze Brett-Elle has been a great success, with batches selling out quickly after being released. This Oude Geuze is earthy, funky, with a mild citrus aroma and taste, and very refreshing. The Fontan-Elle, a blend of two year old lambics, also has been a big hit. “We are working on an Oude Kriek and some other experiments right now,” Jo Panneels remarked during my most recent visit on December 13, 2019. “All of our barrels are full right now, both here and in Ruisbroek.” Business is good!

Just before publication of this article, Jo Panneels of Lambiek Fabriek had this to say: “We are very happy and proud to belong to Horal. It’s an honor to be part of this unique culture.”

Congratulations to Lambiek Fabriek for this great honor today, and to HORAL for welcoming a new member!

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