De Lambikstoempers, the premier Zythos-affiliated beer appreciation and promotion club in Belgium’s lambic country, organizes several events throughout the year. The club is based in Halle, a historic old market town ten miles south of Brussels.
One of the club’s premier events is their Bier Weekend, a beer festival that is usually held during the last full weekend of August each year. (With the BXL Beer Fest the same weekend in Brussels this year, this is an ideal weekend for beer lovers to visit!) The De Lambikstoempers event will feature over 100 different brews, including many of the readily available lambic beers brewed and blended in Belgium’s lambic country, which includes the city of Brussels as well as the area to the south and west of the city. The Zenne Valley is the heart of this lambic country. There will be a big outside patio for warm weather lambic enjoyment, and food will be on offer as well.
The venue for the event is De Lambiek (“The Lambic”) the lambic beer visitor’s center that opened on May 14, 2011 in the village of Alsemberg, near the town of Beersel. This 1.7 million euro project was created by the initiative of several organizations. The Municipality of Beersel, with the cooperation of Tourism Flanders and the Tourist Office of The Province of Flemish Brabant, as well as HORAL (The High Council for Artisanal Lambic Beers) collaborated on the venture.
The current list includes no less than 58 different lambic beers from 16 different lambic producers, with quite a few hard to find beers. These include Cuvée Kluysbosch Framboos from Angerik; Apogee from Brouwerij Boon; batches 1 through 7 or Boon Black Label; Cuvée 10 Jaar ‘t Parlement, brewed by Boon to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the great ‘t Parlement beer and whisky cafe in Halle; Cuvée Lambikstoemper 2014, from Boon and De Lambikstoempers; Eylenbosch Schaarbeekse Oude Kriek; HORAL’s Oude Geuze Megablend from 2013, 2017, 2019, 2021, and 2022; Cuvée Lambikstoemper 2019, from Brouwerij Lindemans and De Lambikstoempers; 4 Pajot Geus from 4 Pajot; Timmermans Griotteke, and Oude Kriek made with Schaarbeekse cherries from Brouwerij Timmermans; Boon/Mikkeller Oude Geuze Vermouth; four different vintages of the Boon Vat series; Tilquin Meerts aux Baies de Sureau; Tilquin Meerts au Cassis; Tilquin Meerts aux Fruits des Bois; Tilquin Meerts à la Mirabelle; and many other special lambic brews.
The list on the Lambikstoempers website is a provisional one, meaning more beer additions are likely between now and the festival date. Kristof Verhasselt, webmaster and beer hunter for De Lambikstoempers vzw, says: “We plan to have about 85 different lambic beers, and 15 or so non-lambic brews on offer this year.”
About the fest, Verhasselt remarked: “Our previous edition dates to 2019. Due to the covid-19 pandemic, we were unable to organize our Beer Weekend for the past 2 years. So we are very happy to be back! And we hope for a nice edition, as always, with tasty beers and a pleasant meeting of lovers of spontaneous fermentation and other beers. For those other brews, we chose to put 100% Brussels beers in the spotlight this year. They are definitely not sitting still in our Belgian capital! Come and taste them all, from En Stoemelings to iLLeGaaL and the 4 breweries bundled in the brand new cooperative CoHop.”
The hours for the event are from 2 pm to midnight on Saturday August 27, and 2 pm to 8 pm on Sunday, August 28th.
De Lambiek is located at Gemeenveldstraat 1, Alsemberg. Postal code 1652. Telephone is 02 359 16 36. For information about how to get to De Lambiek and the beer festival, see here.
Flemish Brabant is, of course, the locale of the Payottenland: the home of lambic, geuze, and kriek beers. De Lambiek’s location makes perfect sense, as the Municipality of Beersel consists of the towns of Alsemberg, Beersel, Dworp, Huizingen, and Lot. Brussels is just 12km/7.5 miles away.
De Lambiek showcases the beloved, spontaneously fermented beers produced by Belgium’s lambic makers, and it is the lambic beer equivalent of the Maison du Vin in Bordeaux.
HORAL (The High Council for Artisanal Lambic Beers) 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. Gert Christiaens, president of HORAL, had this to say: “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 held on May 4 and 5, 2024.”
The lambic producing members of HORAL are: Brouwerij Boon of Lembeek; De Oude Geuzestekerij De Cam in Gooik; Hanssens Artisanal of Dworp; Den Herberg of Buizingen; Lambiek Fabriek of Sint-Pieters-Leeuw; Brouwerij Lindemans of Vlezenbeek; Brouwerij Mort Subite of Kobbegem; Oud Beersel of Beersel; Gueuzerie Tilquin of Rebecq-Bierghes; Brouwerij Timmermans of Itterbeek; and Brouwerij De Troch of Wambeek.
Note that lambic beer fans can now become supporting members of HORAL. From the HORAL website here: “In the past, we have been asked several times by gueuze fans how they can support these goals and whether they could also become a member of our non-profit organisation. Until recently, this was not statutory possible. After all, membership was exclusively reserved for brewers and distillers”, explains HORAL Chairman Gert Christiaens. “Recently, however, the General Assembly of HORAL decided that from now on, enthusiasts of Oude Geuze, Oude Kriek and lambic – so no companies or other legal entities – can become supporting members of the association.”
For a supporting member, the annual membership fee is EUR 37.50. Anyone who joins in 2022 is also a member until 31 December of next year.
In exchange, you get a HORAL T-shirt. Supporting members will also be invited to the ceremony of the Lambic Award, an award presented in December to individuals who have made a valuable contribution to Lambic, Oude Geuze and Oude Kriek. During this event, you can meet other supporting members and numerous brewers and blenders. Supporting members also receive a 10 per cent discount on the registration fee of the Lambic Academy.”
To become a supporting member, see this site here.
At De Lambiek, Each HORAL lambic blendery and brewery has its own dedicated display case to showcase its products. Other highlights include a pair of hollowed out foeders: large wooden barrels, where you can listen to the sounds of the lambic brewing process and match which part of the process you think is represented in the audio. Another interactive display stimulates the olfactory senses: do you want to smell cherries, hops, wheat, and barley? You can, here.
De Lambiek also sells lambic beer, glassware, chocolates, and other products from the Province of Flemish Brabant, and at very reasonable prices.
A visit to De Lambiek and the Lambikstoempers Bier Weekend should be on the bucket list of all lambic beer fans!
If you are looking for an experienced lambic tour guide, Patrick Van der Spiegel of Halle organizes tours to lambic breweries, geuze blenderies, and traditional Belgian pubs in and near the Pajottenland and the Zenne Valley. Patrick guides these tours himself, and can do so in English, Dutch, and French. In addition, there is the possibility to pair these tours with guided tours at breweries or blenderies, with professional tour guides, or lambic brewers/blenders. These tours typically include tasting samples of multiple beers, and an optional lunch or dinner for the whole group. For more information about Patrick and his tours, see this article here.
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