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Photo for: This Brewery In Belgium Was Founded Before Belgium!


This Brewery In Belgium Was Founded Before Belgium!


Take a look at Brouwerij Bosteels's modern classic beer which won the Best Beer in the Show at the 4th edition of the London Beer Competition in 2021.

Founded by Jean-Baptiste Bosteels in 1791, the family has dedicated their lives to master the craft of Belgian beer brewing and is currently managed by the 6th generation. When Antoine Bosteels Sr. died in 1958, his wife Adrienne took command of the brewery through difficult times, as her son  Ivo was not old enough to be in charge. In the 70s and 80s, the market for pilsners and pale ales skyrocketed in Belgium. Brouwerij Bosteels depended on these beverages until Ivo brewed a strong pale ale called “Pauwel Kwak.”  He took inspiration from a local barman who used to describe his brewing techniques to the travellers stopping by his bar. Ivo named the beer after him.

The bosteels family chart over  6 generations

The bosteels family chart over  6 generations, Source: Tripel karmeliet

The 4th generation at the Brouwerij Bosteels - Antoine joined the family business and wanted to make something equivalent to his fathers’ creation. He decided to brew a Tripel (strong pale ale). The idea of creating a 3-grain beer struck him when he saw a multigrain loaf of bread at a local bakery.

Tripel karmeliet and kwak presented by Antoine Bosteels

Tripel karmeliet and kwak presented by Antoine Bosteels, Source: Groot Vleeshuis

In an episode of the Flemish tv-series Tournée Générale, Antoine Bosteels spoke quite openly about the origin of their Tripel Karmeliet. In fact, the idea of a three-grain beer came first. “That was actually our concept, when we came up with the idea of a multi-grain beer in 1993, just like multi-grain breads”. The team of brewers researched for 3 years but were unable to come up with a name for it.  Antione found a beer recipe from 1671 used by a Carmelite monastery in Dendermonde. The recipe from the 17th century was almost identical to what Antoine had been trying to master for 3 years. It stated the use of the same 3 grains: wheat, barley and oats. The beer was named “Tripel Karmeliet” in honour of the Carmelite group.

The brewery has also designed its own glass

The brewery has also designed its own glass  which helps capture and enhance aromas while keeping the foam intact, Source: Wikipedia

The 3-grain recipe has contributed to the overall body of the beer. Barley enhances the flavour, body and colour whereas wheat helps to lighten the texture and add the aroma of freshly baked bread. Finally, the oats add the free-flowing creaminess and a full-bodied mouthfeel to attain a perfect balance.

It was an instant success and was recognised not only in Belgium but throughout the world. This beer won the “Best in Show” at the London Beer Competition. Even after 28 years of its first introduction, this beer shows no signs of stopping. The owners periodically refine it and try to create a perfect balance using the modern techniques of brewing. The beer is referred to as “Near Perfection” by the brewery as it stretches the limits to make it as close to a perfect beer.

The brewing process is comparatively longer than other modern beers. Generally, beers take 3 weeks to brew. However, this is not the case with Tripel Karmeliet, it is brewed over 6 to 7 weeks where the flavours are developed naturally and is worth the wait!

shelf talker

To receive a Gold medal, you need to score 90 or over, Source: London Beer Competition

Review of Tripel Karmeliet from the 2021 London Beer Competition 

Points Scored: 93 points

Medal won: Gold, the Best beer in the show by country category

Tasting notes: Refreshing and crisp. Lots of citrus zest and honey sweetness. Smooth nuttiness on the finish. 

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This beverage has won several awards since being introduced in 1996. The first came in the year 1998 when it was awarded the prestigious: Gold medal at the World Beer Cup. After this immense international recognition, Tripel Karmeliet finally became the modern classic it is today, in Belgium and far beyond.

Header image: Bosteels Brewery in Buggenhout, Belgium, Source: Tripel Karmeliet

Article written by Arjun Moghe, Content Writer, Beverage Trade Network.

The 2022 London Beer Competition results are out. View full results here.