The Van Roy family has been established in the heart of Brussels for more than a hundred years, and the Cantillon Brewery is one of the rare vestiges of this ancestral tradition in the city. The gueuzes, a blend of young and old lambics, are renowned for their freshness and finesse, and beer lovers love their beers flavoured with fresh fruit, krieks, raspberries, apricots, etc.
|Type of beers||Lambic|
|Certification||Organic agriculture (AB)|
|Our favorites||Nath, Iris, Rosé de Gambrinus|
Brussels is a beautiful city... lively, gastronomic, multicultural and atypical. But beyond the chocolate museum, the real curiosity of the city lies in its sister city, behind the walls of the Cantillon Brewery, which has been located in the Anderlecht district for over 100 years. This historic place takes us back in time, to a time when each district of Brussels had its own brewery. At the turn of the 19th century, the city had no less than 120 breweries, today they can hardly be counted on the fingers of one hand.
Founded in 1900 by the Van Roy family, Cantillon was originally a gueuzerie, which bought lambic wort and assembled it. Then, in 1937, with the acquisition of the necessary equipment, the gueuzerie was transformed into a brewery, still in the same premises... and nothing has changed since.
The large red copper basin at the top of the building is a must-see. The wort is cooled there, in the open air, and inoculated with bacteria and wild yeasts, the famous Brettanomyces bruxellensis, in order to start its spontaneous fermentation, and then put into barrels, mainly from France, always second-hand, where it becomes lambic... At Cantillon, they only brew in autumn and winter, about forty times, when the temperatures allow it. The milder air contains too many harmful bacteria.
The house signature is acidic beers, not seeking the bitterness sometimes associated with the beverage. Unmalted wheat, malted barley and older, softer hops are the simple ingredients needed to make Cantillon beers. And then of course time...
The Gueuze is a harmonious blend of a young lambic and various older lambics, two or three years old, and then goes through a second fermentation, this time in the bottle. The younger beers provide the sugars needed for the second fermentation and the freshness, the older beers give the blend its character and finesse.
Since 1999, the brewery has only used certified organic ingredients, in order to defend a certain idea of the environment and ecology, and to preserve the climate necessary for the brewing process during the winter. Pragmatic activism.
The gueuze itself is a blended beer, made from young lambic and older ones, usually two or three years old. Fruity lambics are also a tradition linked to the Belgian beer world and carried high by the Cantillon Brewery.
One of the best known of these, Kriek, is a 20 month old lambic macerated with Morello cherries for two to three months before being blended with a young lambic. Nearly 200 grams of fresh, organically grown fruit from Turkey are needed to make one litre of Kriek. As with wine, the fruit differs from one vintage to another, so the beers will also have a more or less fruity, more or less acidic profile...
In addition to cherries, Cantillon also works with raspberries for its Rosé de Gambrinus cuvée, or for the rarer brews with apricots (Fou'Foune), rhubarb (Nath), elderflowers (Mamouche), Merlot (Saint-Lamvinus) or even Muscat or Viognier (Vigneronne)