Bourgogne Des Flanders

A surprising beer with a unique flavour

The Van Houtryve brewing dynasty, made up of no fewer than three breweries, has left its mark on the Bruges brewing tradition. Records from 1765 mention a farm-brewery in Loppem belonging to Pierre-Jacques Van Houtryve. However, it was his son who obtained permission from the representative of the States of Flanders to set up a brewery within the city walls of Bruges in 1825. Den Os Brewery was born.

On the eve of WWI, three members of the Van Houtryve family stood at the helm of their respective breweries: Den Os, La Marine and Ten Ezele. This is no surprise as the number of breweries in Bruges peaked in this period with 34 active breweries, only two of which remain today. It was during this heyday just before the First World War that the flagship beer of Den Os Brewery came into being.

Bourgogne des Flandres is an authentic West Flemish red-brown beer that has survived the long-term competition from the hugely popular lager beers since WWI as well as the destruction caused by WWII. However, Den Os Brewery finally had to close down in 1957.

Den Os brewery closed its doors. The emergence of German lagers and the damage after the two world wars made it difficult to survive on specialty beers. Den Os brewery was well known for its Dubbel, Trippel, Uytzet, Pitthem wheat beer and Bourgogne des Flandres. However, this wasn’t the end of Bourgogne des Flandres. Michel Van Houtryve did not have a brewery anymore, but under his supervision different breweries continued to brew the beer according to the family recipe throughout the years.

In 1985, Michel Van Houtryve launched Bourgogne des Flandres with Timmermans Brewery in Itterbeek near Brussels, where lambic was given a prominent role in the brewing process. In 1993 John Martin, the oldest distributor of Guinness and known for Martin’s Pale Ale in Antwerp, took over Timmermans Brewery. As a result, Bourgogne des Flanders ended up in the Martin’s Finest Beer Selection along other classics.

In 2015, the works for a new microbrewery in Bruges commenced in Kartuizerinnenstraat, barely 50 metres away from the former La Marine Brewery. Bourgogne des Flandres is once more brewed here.

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