Welcome to Ypres District Breweries. Enjoy reading about Brouwerij Westvleteren, De Struise Brouwers, Deca Brouwerij, Papegaei, St. Bernadus, the Leroy Brewery, Kazematten Brewery, Plukker Brewery, Zilver Cruys/ Silver Cross Winery, and the Monteberg Vineyard.
Ypres District Breweries
*Brewery Saint-Sixtus Abbey in West-Vleteren
**There is a strict procedure in place to order the beer if you want a crate. We recommend you read the directions prior to your trip. **
The village of Westvleteren got famous thanks to the world renowned beer that is being brewed in the local abbey. Their beer won several prizes and (gold) medals on beer competitions all over the world.
Their beers include: Westvleteren Blonde (green cap), Westvleteren 8 (blue cap),
and Westvleteren 12 (yellow cap).
“In de Vrede” is a cafe and visitor’s center opposite the abbey. It is the only other official sale point for the beer in small quantities. The shop also sells cheeses made at the abbey, yeast tabs (not yeast to make beer but dead yeast for health) and other Trappist products.
They don’t give tours of the abbey or the brewery, but you can visit the chapel and grotto.
(Photo from Belgium.beertourism.com)
The parish and the church get their name after Saint Martin of Tours. The Saint Martin Church (Dutch: Sint-Martinuskerk) is Gothic style with Romanesque components, and is a protected building.
*De Struise Brouwers (The Sturdy Brewers)
A group of beer lovers from Vleteren, in 2008 were voted the world’s best brewers. Visitors can stop by and taste their beer in a former school building in the village of Oostvleteren. Come and check out their 30 beers on draught. Going back to school never was this much fun…
The beers can be digested saturdays, from 2 – 6 pm. The brewery itself is not open for public.
Their “Struise Beershop” in Bruges (Burg 15-2, next to the Holy Blood Chapel) is open on Thursday, Friday & Saturday, from 12.00-6.00 pm.
The Deca brewery (from the name Decaestecker) was founded between 1880-1890. They made lemonade and beer. WWI destroyed everything. The brewery was partly rebuilt after WWI with recycled materials. Besides the traditional chiller of 1920 and the stirring barrel of 1850, the company has been fully modernized.
Beers: Antiek Blonde Super 5 Ale,Antiek Blonde 8% Antiek Blonde Super 5 Ale, Antiek Blonde 8%, Vleteren Alt 8°,
Vleteren Bruin 8° Port Barrel, Vleteren Blond 12°, Vleteren Bruin 12° Port Bruin, Vleteren Alt 8°, Vleteren Bruin 8° Port Barrel, Vleteren Blond 12°, Vleteren Bruin 12° Port Bruin
They also offer their brewery to other guest breweries to use.
Brouwerij Verstraete aka Het Bierhuis
Brouwerij De Poes
Papegaei is brewed and bottled by Adam Verstraete at the Deca brewery in Woesten. It is brewed with fresh hop flowers, which means that the flowers are dried but not turned into an extract or pellet. The mash contains barley, wheat and oats. Papegaei is a top fermented beer with a second fermentation in the bottle. The beer is neither filtered nor pasteurized.
The history of the St. Bernardus brewery is connected to 2 trappist monasteries, one gave the name, the other gave them their beer.
The name: The Trappist monks (cystercian ordre) of Mont des Cats in Godewaersvelde, France decided to move to Watou, a small village only a couple of kilometers away in Belgium. They transformed a farm into the “Refuge Notre Dame de St.Bernard” and started with the production of Abbey cheese. In the early nineteen thirties, the Abbey community decided to dispose of the Belgian annex and return all activities to France. Mr. Evarist Deconinck took over the cheese factory from the Trappist monks and expanded the cheese factory. The St.Bernard Watou name is reserved for the most important cheese. The cheese is nowadays produced in Moorslede.
The beer: Shortly after the Second World War, the Trappist Monastery St.Sixtus in Westvleteren was looking for somebody to commercialize their beer, because they didn’t want to do it anymore. They entered into business with the other monastery. Brewery St.Bernard was born. The brew master from Westvleteren, Mathieu Szafranski became a partner in the brewery and brought along the recipes, the know-how and the St.Sixtus yeast strain. They started selling the trappist beers under the brand names Trappist Westvleteren, St.Sixtus and Sixtus. In 1992 the contract came to an end. Both of them now brew the same beers, with the same recipes, but with the name St.Bernardus for one and St. Sixtus on the other.
*Leroy Breweries (Van Eecke)
Van Eecke-The city of Watou near Poperinge, was granted the privilege of becoming an earldom for the Earls van Yedegem in 1624. They owned the castle of Watou, and constructed a brewery. The French Revolution destroyed everything. A local farmer rebuilt the brewery in 1824. “Revolt all you want, but we still need beer here.” was his slogan. “In de Gouden Leeuw” (In the Golden Lion) was the name. It was later ran by the Van Eecke family, eventually being inherited by the Leroy family.
SAS-pils – its name originates from the middle ages. The Spanish conquerors built a sluice in the neighboring town of Boezinge. A brewery was built next to the sluice. Sas is a synonym of sluice in Dutch, SAS was born.
The breweries were combined in the 1960’s, but continued to be recognized separately until the new logo and beer was introduced in 2017 under Leroy breweries.
In the international contest “Monde Selection 2010″ the brewery won the gold medal for Pilsner Sas Pils, a gold medal for Abbey beer Kapittel Blond and a silver medal for Poperings Hommelbier.
Their beers are broke down into Boezinge Classics, Kapittel Watou, Poperings Hommelbier and Watou Classics.
The brewery’s’ location (underground) has served many purposes. A home for ammunition and military equipment and sleeping quarters as shelter for the troops who defended Ypres during the many sieges. The British troops during the First World War used the casemates as a ‘mess’ for the officers. ‘Hotel de Remparts’ (the Kazematten) was the command headquarters and field hospital. It was also the home of the famous British trench gazette ‘The Wipers Times’. Because the English name Ypres was difficult for the Englishmen to pronounce, they translated this to Wipers (the name of the newspaper) and now also the name of the beer. The beers they offer: Grotten Santé and Wipers Times 14. For a small fee you get to try 2 samples as well as have an informative tour.
Joris Cambie has the only organic hops farm in Belgium, and it’s also the only one with a brewery. A renovated hangar previously used for the picking and drying of the hops, is the current location.
Their year round beers include Keikoppenbier, Rookop, Triple Plukker. Single Green Hop, and IPA during harvest.
*Zilver Cruys (Silver Cross) Winery
The cross of reconciliation (15 meters high) in the front of the estate, is the inspiration for the name. On 22 April 1915 the first poisonous gas attack of World War I took place here. The estate was bought in 2007, and the idea of a B&B combined with a vineyard, was conceived. They now have approximately 12,000 vines. Allow a minimum of an hour and a half for the tour of the vineyard, cellar and tasting. Learn the entire process of making wine, with local history and stories told by your guide. Be sure to ask about the amazing story of Henri Corneillie & Suzanne Levilain.
The vineyard, situated on the Monteberg hill, grows 10 varieties of grapes for their wines: Chardonnay, Kerner, Solaris, Siegerrebe, Müller-Thurgau, Pinot Noir, Regent, Pinot Gris, Dornfelder and Rondo. They have about 23.000 grapevines and produce 3 white wines, 1 red wine and 1 sparkling wine, almost 40.000 bottles a year.