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Belgium: Beer flags

Last modified: 2017-08-12 by ivan sache
Keywords: beer |
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National beer flag

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National beer flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 27 March 2014

The "national beer flag", a tribute to Belgian beers, is made of the Belgium tricolor flag "with a cold pint of beer in its center".
The flag is part of "Fier op ons bier / Fiers de nos bières" (Proud of our beers), a campaign (website) launched by the "Belgische Brouwers / Brasseurs Belges", the Belgian brewers' professional association (claimed to be among the oldest professional associations in the world).

The Belgian brewers' association (website) is headquartered in the "De Goulden Boom" (The Golden Tree) house, built on the Brussels Grand-Place at the end of the 16th century by the Brussels brouwers' guild. Destroyed in 1695 during the French bombing of the town, the house was quickly rebuilt by architect Willem De Bruyn. The association also manages the Brewery Museum.
The Belgian brouwers' traditions are maintained by the Brotherhood of the Brewers' Mash staff, the direct descendant of the old brewers' guild. They pay special tribute to the King of Beer, Gambrinus (indeed, Jan Primus, or John I, Duke of Brabant and Lorraine [1210-1249], famous for his inextinguishable thirst and the founder of brewing industry in Brussels) and to the brewers' patron saint, St. Arnold (1040-1087, the son of a noble brewer, who transformed beer into a cure against black plague by plunging his staff into the beer kettles).

Ivan Sache, 27 March 2014


Chimay

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Chimay beer flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 15 May 2007

The Cistercian abbey of Notre-Dame of Scourmont has been producing since 1862 one of the most famous beers in the world. The Chimay is one of the six genuine Belgian Trappists' beer, that is, completely brewed in a Trappists' monastery; the other Trappists' beers are Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle, Westvleteren and Achel. The monks of Chimay produce also five kinds of cheese.

The Princess of Chimay once said: "I wish the castle of Chimay were as famous as the beer of Chimay". Anyway, both a related, since the abbey of Notre-Dame-de-Scourmont was founded on a piece of land granted by thePrince of Chimay to the Trappist fathers.
Some limited parts of the abbey can be visited, that is the park and the monks' cemetary. It is also possible to attend the mass and to go into retreat in the abbey. The brewery is not open to visit and there is no shop inside the abbey. To preserve their quietness, the monks have set up the abbey's shop into the inn of Poteaupré, an old school located not far from the abbey. There you can buy the Red, White and Blue beers and the Old Chimay, Chimay with beer, Unpasteurised Chimay and Chimay Grand Classic cheese.
The Poteaupré inn is decorated with flags that reproduce the famous purple label of the Chimay Red beer bottles, with the emblem of the brewery, the word "CHIMAY" surmounted by two white fleurs-de-lis and surmonting "PERES TRAPPISTES", all in white on a purple shield bordered in white.

Jan Mertens & Ivan Sache, 15 May 2007

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Duvel

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Duvel beer flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 15 July 2017

Duvel is a special, blond beer, re-fermented in the bottle; its unique brewing process takes about 90 days, an extra-long maturation period. In 2007, the Tripel Hop Duvel was created, using the Citra hop grown in the Yakima Valley (Washington, USA).
Duvel is brewed by the Duvel Mortgaat group (corporate website), still owned by the Mortgaat family and now an international group.

Jan-Leonard Mortgaat established in 1871 a brewery in the family's farm, located in Breendonk, some 10 km north of Brussels. The fame of the Mortgaat, re-fermented beer soon reached Brussels. In 1900, the founder was joined by his two sons, Albert in charge of the brewing process, and Victor, in charge of the horse-drawn cart used to deliver the beer to Brussels.
During the First World War, the British soldiers introduced pale ale beers to Belgium; Victor Mortgaat, foreseeing the commercial potential of this new kind of beer, initiated ale brewing. He traveled to Scotland where he faced the reluctance of the local brewers to reveal their secrets; he eventually managed to acquire a specific strain of yeast, which has been kept in use until today.
The Mortgaat brothers celebrated the end of the war with the launching of a brand new beer, conveniently labelled "Victory Ale". During a public tasting of the new beer, the shoemaker Van De Vouwer called it een echte duvel, in Dutch, "a true devil". Accordingly, the name of the beer was changed to Duvel in 1923. While beers with nefarious names are now common (Judas, Satan, Lucifer, Black Damnation, Diabolici, Belzébuth, Démon...), selling the Devil's beer was quite audacious in the beginning of the 20th century, when the Flemish society was strongly controlled by the Roman Catholic church.

The international fame of the Duvel beer was increased in the late 1960s by the creation of a specific, tulip-shaped, glass. Inspired from wine tasting glasses, the Duvel glass is claimed to be the the first beer glass in which the full content of a bottle - here 33 cl - can be served.
Brouwerij Mortgaat was renamed to Duvel Mortgaat, for its flag product, in 1999, after the initial public offering at the Brussels stock exchange.
Duvel Mortgaat was licensed in 1963 by the Maredsous abbey to brew and sell the Maredsous beer, under the supervision of the monks. Since then, the group has acquired several breweries in Belgium (Achouffe, Liefmans, De Koninck), the Netherlands (Brouwerij ‘t IJ), in Czech Republic (Bernard, 50%) and the USA (Ommegang, Boulevard, Firestone Walker).

The Duvel flag (photo, photo) is similar to the bottle's label, white with the Duvel's logo.

Ivan Sache, 15 July 2017


Stella Artois

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Flag of Stella Artois - Image by Randy Young, 11 January 2016/P>

Stella Artois (website; Wikipedia), informally called Stella, is a beer brand of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, which originated in Leuven, since 1926.
The flag of Stella Artois (photo by Roelant Verhoeven) is white with the company's logo (image) in the middle, with the flag having a red and yellow dual stripe all around.

Esteban Rivera, 22 September 2015