The De Halve Maan Brewery is located in the famous and immensely popular town of Bruges, Belgium. It is a sixth generation owned family brewery, and while I’ve not yet ‘bonded’ with any of their beers, I was glad to find they still had space available for a tour on the day I was there, especially since it was raining pretty hard and, as much as I had enjoyed Bruges, I was ready to be indoors for a while.
When Leon Maes, known as Henry I, founded the brewery, the goal was to found a modern brewery that brewed using the traditional methods. The following generations always kept on the cutting edge of brewing technology. They often traveled to other countries to learn from beer master brewers there (England and Germany in the late 1800s) and often produced styles never before done by Belgian breweries. In the post World War II era, the brewery strode to increase production and develop new ways to deliver fresh product to the customer. In the 1980s , a new beer, Bruges Zot was developed and became popular with not only Belgian beer drinkers but in foreign markets as well.
During the first part of the tour, we were shown the modern part of the facility.
Much of the tour focused on the history and tradition of the company. There were a number of rooms withe displays of vintage brewing equipment, as well as the machinery used to harvest the ingredients that go into making their beers.
One of my favorite rooms had a large glass case which had many of the different and unique glasses from other Belgian breweries on display. It also has some select glassware for other breweries around the world.
Another of the highlights for me was the trip up to the roof of the brewery, where we were able to look out over the rooftops and canals of Bruges, such a beautiful city, and one incredibly popular with tourists.
I also enjoyed learning about the breweries long and proud history. It’s amazing to see the development of the business as it has been passed down through the generations.
At the end of the tour, each visitor was able to receive one free tasting of the brewery’s beer, and I chose Bruges Zot- one I was familiar with from Belgian Beer Week at my favorite home restaurant, Ashley’s.
While De Halve Maan certainly doesn’t produce my favorite Belgian beers, it was certainly a good experience seeing the inner workings of a brewery with such a proud history.
Beers & Bars of the Europe 2013 Trip Series: