We know there are craft beer enthusiasts all over the world, and as such, we’ve decided it’s high time we covered some of the hottest breweries in the world in order to give you a broader view of this amazing industry that has taken hold in the U.S. and spread like wildfire. With that said, we’ve decided to start out with St. Bernardus Watou, established in 1946 in the beautiful country of Belgium.
When we think of Belgium, we tend to think of the beautiful landscape, the waterfalls, the waterways, and of course the architecture, which are all amazing. However, for those of us who absolutely love craft beers, we also think of… the beer! After all, this country is well known for its Stella Artois lager! It would be foolish to visit such a richly cultured country and not at least try some of the beer, lager, and ale crafted by these amazing people! So on to the brewery, where you even have the option for tours or an overnight stay in the brewery?! Seriously? I feel the flight bug coming on because that sounds too good to resist, especially considering the outstanding rates we noted.
We’re not joking, not one bit. Located in West Flanders, an area steeped in tradition and possessing a very slow way of living compared to western countries, this brewery was inspired and founded by two separate monasteries. Trappist monks from France chose to move to Watou and transformed a farm into what became a cheese factory. By 1934, the issues that had caused them to move were finally settling down and they decided it was time to move back. Selling the cheese factory to Mr. Evarist Deconinck who continued to produce cheese until finally selling the facility to Belgomilk, who still holds ownership today. This opened up the doorway for a Trappist monastery named St. Sixtus of Westvleteren, who had been looking for someone to continue marketing their beer, a task they’d tired of over time.
Selling a contract to the cheese factory, St. Bernardus Watou was born, and production has expanded over time with hop fields added to the facility, as well as their own yeast. Such self-sufficient production has ensured they were able to stand the test of time and their quality has certainly kept their customers happy. A list of approximately eight different labels is currently available and we’re sorely tempted to consider offering a few of them when we open in south Florida in 2017!
While you’re in Belgium, make sure to take a tour, which is offered in English, French, or Dutch and definitely take the time to taste some of their outstanding brews. Also, if you’re into architecture and checking out some seriously beautiful olde world sights, make sure to travel around, because this country is like stepping back in time! The waterways and rivers are picturesque and you’ll find stonework that you can only dream of in more modern cities across the world.