Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Westvleteren: the old brewery at De Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren

Photo, above: Brother Joris, the manager of Brouwerij Westvleteren,
and yours truly at the old mash tun.

I had the pleasure of a second visit to the old brewery at
Westvleteren, at De Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren, on
December 9.

Michael Jackson, in his "Great Beers of Belgium" states that he was
told by Brother Daniel, who gave him a tour in what must have been
the mid-late 1980's, that this brewhouse was built in 1900, replacing
an earlier one.

Photo, above: the outside of the old brewery at Westvleteren

However, the passage into the inner courtyard, where the brewery
building is located, is dated 1914. See the photo, below. Whatever
the case, the old mash tun is clearly the type used in Belgium during
that period of time. It was used until 1989, when the new brewhouse
was erected.

Clearly, brewing here was a time-consuming, labor-intensive process.
It was also a challenging place to work, with tight spaces and nearly
vertical stairs to the brewkettle and mash tun area on the top floor.

Photo, above: the steps to the top floor are nearly vertical.
I'm guessing no"quality control" tasting was done until after
the day's work was done!

Photo, above: The tops of the brewing kettles, on the left. The mash
tun is on the right.

It looks like bags of grain and hops were hoisted up to the top floor,
through this entrance shown in the photo below.

On the bottom floor of the old brewhouse, you can see the bottoms
of the old brewing kettles, shown in this photo.

Stacks of old Westvleteren crates are stacked in the corner in the below photo.

You can see the open fermenter on the left in the two photos below,
and the stairs leading up to the top floor.

Photo, below: a close up shot of the bottoms of the brewing kettles.

Photo, below: old bottles in the old brewhouse. As you can see, some
old bottles from had labels. Colorful ones!

Photo, below: part of the inner courtyard of the old brewing complex
at De Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren.

A view of the top of the Abbey buildings at Westvleteren, from the
Inner Courtyard.

Photo, below: one more shot of the old mash tun.


That guy... said...

Thanks for showing off, Chuck.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is really interesting to see. Thanks for sharing this Chuck!