Finally found a moment to share a few pics from the southwestern Belgium trip. Hopefully followed soon by some shots of the Rodenbach brewery.
Brouwerij St. Bernardus started off as a cheese company, continuing on a dairy farm left behind by Trappist monks returning across the French border to Mont des Cats. About 10 years later, the Trappists of Westvleteren approached St. Bernardus to brew their beers under license, which they did until 1992.
As you may know, St. Bernardus Abt 12 is still brewed to the Westvleteren 12 recipe now, but on a different system. Interesting fact is that while they continued to use the Westvleteren yeast, St. Sixtus switched to yeast from another Trappist monastery; Westmalle.
Today St. Bernardus is a modern brewery excelling in classic Belgian styles.
Most hops (Hallertau Magnum & Kent Golding) are grown on-site, the remainder bought from a nearby farm.
The brewhouse was replaced a few years ago by a modern equivalent. No use in propagating their yeast now, it gets separated out by a centrifuge just before botteling (and another strain added for bottle conditioning).
Currently the finishing touches are being put on a building renovation, expanding the brewery and adding event spaces. The rooftop bar, which opened last year, has stunning views. A perfect place to enjoy the beers while taking in the hop fields of Poperinge.
A massive thank you to Marco Passarella for the extensive tour, and to Horizon Beers for setting it up!