A Visit to Publitasting Lambic Blendery

While most of Belgium’s lambic producers are located in Brussels and to the areas to the south and west of the city, in the Payottenland and Zenne River Valley, there are some lambic blenders that are outside of that region.

Geert Demuynck and his Publitasting Lambic Blendery purchases lambic that has been aged in barrels at lambic producers such as Brouwerij De Troch, Brouwerij Den Herberg, Brouwerij Eylenbosch, and Brouwerij Sako. Geert says: “I buy lambic of one, two, three, four, five, and even six years old. Sometimes, they are used for macerating with fruits, herbs and vegetables, and sometimes for barrel aging, and this only to extract the taste and smell from the barrel.”

Publitasting is located in Vichte, near Anzegem in West Flanders Province. Geert’s home and blendery location are within walking distance from the famous Brouwerij Verhaeghe, which is known for its Duchesse de Bourgogne and Vichtenaar Flanders Red Ales, as well as a plethora of other great brews.

Geert became interested in lambic beer when he used to work for Belgium’s national broadcasting company, in 1981. He went with some work colleagues to the now closed De Koekoek pub in Asse, in the province of Flemish Brabant.

Geert says: “An elderly woman named Anna placed a heavy jar in front of each of the four of us, and then went into the basement with a plastic jug. There, she took a large wooden hammer and knocked out the tap of a wooden barrel and let lambic, which is flat spontaneously fermented beer from the Zenne Valley, pour into the jug. She poured it into our jars, and because of the air bubbles, there was just some foam on it. Of course I tasted it, and now, after over forty years, I still remember exactly what I said: “Wow, that’s my thing!” Afterwards, I continued to go that cafe regularly, and I no longer had to say what I was going to drink.”

Geert’s interest in lambic, Oude Geuze, and Oude Kriek was born out of that first visit to De Koekoek. He did a lot of research about lambic, and made many visits to lambic blenderies and breweries, and attended events organized around lambic beers, from around 1981 until the present day.

Geert says: “From 2018 to 2023, I also was a guide at lambic breweries, after which I also did some production and sales, tastings, food pairing events, fairs, and festivals.”

Geert made the decision to move forward as an official geuze producer during the pandemic, and says: “I started working on all the paperwork for the applications and permits in early 2021. Everything went quite smoothly, and a few months later we started purchasing lambics, barrels and other raw materials as well as the necessary tools.”

Geert added: “The first official lambic released by Publitasting was our Moscatel Geuze, which was presented to the public on November 19, 2021. It was one of several varieties that we had already been blending.”

Geert continued: “The goal is to produce an average of 10-hectoliters (about 8.5 U.S. barrels) per year under our own name. So one year it could be a little more, and another year, a little less. Another goal is to make as many special and never-before-made lambic beers as possible, and also not to make Oude Geuze and Oude Kriek, which are already made by established lambic producers . Even though I knew from the start that this would not always be easy, I still wanted to distinguish myself from the other lambic producers.”

In the video above, Geert Demuynck of Publitasting lambic blendery, opening a bottle of Wijndruif Geuze (Wine Grape Geuze) 2023. This was a collaboration with Belgian natural wine maker Domain Klein Rijselhoek in Loker, in the Province of West Flanders. Video courtesy Publitasting.

Geert stated: “With our own Stekerij Publitasting, the intention is to only develop new products, and to make limited edition lambics.” Note that stekerij is the Dutch word for blendery.

The blendery currently has five former spirit barrels of its own, and the number is constantly changing. Much of the blending and maceration of their fruited beers takes place in plastic fermenters, while the oak barrels are generally used to impart the flavors of former Scotch, bourbon, and Belgian whisky casks to lambic. This is done to produce lambics such as “Lowland Whisky Geuze” and others.

Because small batches are made, it is possible to blend in just a small amount of young lambic with older lambics to achieve a good character. “My batches in the oak casks are about 250 liters,” says Geert.

Geert says: “At the end of 2023, I had an idea that I had been thinking about for some time. I released a recipe for serving a mulled (warmed) geuze. Because geuzes have a reputation for being a good thirst quencher on hot summer days, I wanted to show that they can also be typical for cold winter days, as well as for the holidays as a winter beer.”

Geert says: “At first, the plans were to fill only 37.5 cl bottles for restaurants and bars, and to only release 75 cl size bottles to the public. But, due to the request of several lambic enthusiasts, I started filling magnums. These are made to order as much as possible, with a name label if possible.”

Geert commented: “Other third parties also asked me to sell everything I made to them. Then, they would do the distribution of the beers. As a passionate lambic beer lover, I refused to do that. I wanted to have as much of a bond with my customers as possible.”

While at Publitasting headquarters, we tasted some of Geert’s creations on draft in his cozy cellar, which is filled with all sorts of Belgian brews, including many lambics. These included Bloedappelsien Lambiek (Blood Orange Lambic); Islay Whisky Lambiek; and Rode Rozen Lambiek (Red Rose Lambic.) All were very interesting, very tasty, and quite distinctive. In short, very worthy lambic beers!

Geert remarked: “Publitasting is also working on some collaboration beers with other breweries. I blend their beers with lambic, and these brews ferment again in tanks, and are later bottled. Publitasting also makes or helps make lambic beers for other entities, such as hotels, restaurants, and cafes.”

A glass of Publitasting Bloedappelsien Lambiek (Blood Orange Lambic) on draft. It was delicious!

Geert also opened bottles of his Fenugreek Lambic and Incabes Lambic.

As to where you can buy or taste the Publitasting lambics, Geert had this to say: “Our beers are available to drink at cafes, bars, and restaurants such as Beerlovers Bar in Antwerp; De Gebrande Winning in Sint-Truiden; Hops ‘N More (which has a bar, and is a retail shop as well) in Leuven; In de Verzekering tegen de Grote Dorst in Eizeringen; Kaffee Bazaar in Ieper; Bierkroeg ‘t Kruiske in Deerlijk; Bar Rose Red in Bruges; Taratata, in Hasselt; and In ‘t Spinnekopke In Brussels.

There are also retail (take away) shops where the Publitasting beers can be found, which include: Bierpaleis Museum in Bruges; Dranken Geers in Oostakker, near Ghent; Dranken Marlou in Zonhoven; Bierhandel Willems & Zoon in Grobbendonk; DVins in Houffalize; and Stacks in Sint-Kruis and Sint-Andries, both near Bruges.

Additionally, Publitasting lambics can sometimes be found on offer in the online web shops Etre Gourmet and Het Huis van de Geuze.

Geert commented: “I rarely attend beer or other festivals, as Publitasting continues its focus on limited edition lambics.”

There are also numerous visits to the home blendery, mainly with foreign guests. Visits are only possible by appointment. Email: info@publitasting.be

I highly recommend seeking out the Publitasting geuzes, wherever you can find them!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *