Kestemont welcomed as newest lambic brewery
Kestemont Brewery, based in Dilbeek in Belgium, has officially joined the High Council for Artisanal Lambic Beers (HORAL).
In addition to Kestemont, 12 other lambic brewers and gueuze blenders from the Pajottenland and the Senne Valley are HORAL members and together they represent more than 80% of traditional lambic production.
The non-profit organisation, which aims to promote and protect traditional lambic beers, particularly the Oude Geuze and Oude Kriek, also organises the Toer de Geuze – a weekend event which sees each brewery open its doors to the public. The next Toer de Geuze will take place from 4-5 May 2024 and will include all HOREL members as well as newcomer Kestemont.
Back in 2017, the Kestemont family bought the partially restored buildings of the former Goossens brewery in Sint-Gertrudis-Pede, a hamlet in Dilbeek and in 2019 Lias Kestemont and his brother-in-law Wim Krieckemans ordered their first shipment of wort at the Den Herberg brewery.
Kestemont said: “We let it mature in oak barrels in the large barn. Two years later, we invested in our brewing equipment, with which we can brew 1,500 litres at a time.”
He explained: “Our lambic stock currently amounts to around 700 hectolitres. In the barrel room, one will find French wine barrels of approximately 200 litres, 500-litre wine barrels of Italian origin, and even various cognac barrels in which between 400 and 600 litres of lambic can mature. Altogether, about 360 barrels.”
Krieckemans explained: “Although we are one of the youngest lambic producers, Lias and I hold tradition and authenticity of paramount importance. In addition to our Oude Geuze, Oude Kriek and Oude Schaarbeekse Kriek, we offer Oude Lambiek in bag-in-box through specialised retailers, intended for pub owners and lambic enthusiasts. Our range includes many tasty, 100% traditionally made fruit lambics, such as our Apricot, awarded a silver medal at the Brussels Beer Challenge 2023, and the Coulis Spécial, made with home-grown red and other berries.”
Krieckemans revealed: “Towards the Toer de Geuze 2024, we will release a lambic beer with blood orange and another with bergamot. We are looking forward to making this biennial lambic event a great success with all other HORAL members.”
Speaking about the newcomers to the lambic scene, HORAL chairman Gert Christiaens said: “Kestemont’s accession to our non-profit organisation was unanimously approved by the General Assembly.”
Christiaens added: “The Lambicland landscape is becoming more diverse. It contributes to the greater attraction that the Pajottenland and the Senne Valley exert on beer lovers from our country and far beyond. During the first weekend of May, HORAL will again celebrate the high mass of the Oude Geuze and Oude Kriek. There is still much work to be done, but I am convinced that the upcoming Toer de Geuze will surpass all previous editions regarding visitor numbers.”
HORAL was founded in 1997. The non-profit organisation has united most Geuze blenders and lambic breweries in Flemish and Walloon Brabant. These include: Boon; De Oude Cam; De Troch; Den Herberg; Eylenbosch; Hanssens; Kestemont; Lambiek Fabriek; Lindemans; Mort Subite; Oud Beersel; Tilquin and Timmermans.