The beer brewing legacy at Grimbergen Abbey in Belgium dates back nine centuries. The Abbey was torched three times over the years as a result of war, but just like the phoenix that adorns its label, out of ashes the brewery always arose. Now, 200 years after the last fiery incident during the French Revolution, the Abbey Brewery’s being resurrected once again.
Danish multinational brewer Carlsberg joined forces with the Abbey to bring brewing back inside the walls for the first time since the 18th century fire. In celebration of the momentous occasion, Grimbergen is releasing three new beers: Grimbergen Magnum Opus Brut Beer, Grimbergen Ignis Quadruple, and Grimbergen Astrum Pale Ale.
The Grimbergen Abbey dates back to 1128, when the Lords of Grimbergen were granted permission to build the Abbey by Norbert van Xantan. The Fathers began brewing soon after, but the original building was lost to fire during the War of Grimbergen in 1142 and rebuilt soon after.
The religious wars of the 16th century were the cause of the second conflagration in 1566. Persecution for their religious beliefs prevented the Fathers from returning to Grimbergen for 30 years. The Abbey was reconstructed in 1629, and the order took on the phoenix for its logo, accompanied by the motto “ardet nec consumitur,” which translates to “burned, but not destroyed.”
The final incident occurred in 1798, when the violence of the French Revolution spread to religious orders, and all material goods owned by churches were liquidated by the masses. The ensuing fire ended the Abbey Brewery’s existence for more than two centuries.
Now back in the brewing business, Grimbergen aims to combine ancient techniques documented in books held in the Abbey’s library with innovative modern technologies to produce limited-edition craft beers.
With almost a millennium of experience and a wealth of history contained within the Abbey’s walls, Carlsberg CEO Cees’t Hart is confident that the new project will be a success, declaring in a recent press release: “We believe this beautiful Abbey Brewery will take us, and beer drinkers around the world, on an incredible journey of flavor discovery.”