5th generation family brewery
The town directory of Bruges mentions Die Maene brewery at Walplein (wall square) as early as 1564. From 1856 onwards, when Leon Maes (also known as Henri I) acquired the building, we can begin to talk about the modern Brouwerij De Halve Maan, De Halve Maan De Halve Maan
An artisan brewer, he made a slightly-sour, top-fermented beer that was served from the barrel. Leon passed away in 1867 and his sons Henri II and Achère took charge. Henri II crossed the Channel to England where he learned the latest brewing techniques and it wasn't too long before the brewery launched its own stout and pale ale.
Unfortunately both brothers died at a relatively young age and it was up to their widows to steer the brewery safely through World War I. Henri III took over the in 1919. He learned all the secrets of the brewing trade and, in Germany, discovered bottom-fermented beers. As a result, the brewery launched its own Bock pils beer.
After World War II, De Halve Maan acquired the adjacent Brugge Zeehaven brewery. After several renovations the current brewery site, with its traditional cooling basin, large malt floor and oasting equipment, began to take shape. Henri IV began to get involved in the brewery in the 1950s as the company went through a
period of strong growth.
The inauguration of a Sint-Arnoldus (the patron saint of hop pickers and Belgian brewers) beer in Bruges prompted the launch of a strong, top-fermented beer in 1981, this was named Straffe Hendrik.
This beer was a tribute to generations of Maes men, all named Henri or Hendrik, and who all worked in the development of better beers.
The brand was acquired by a different brewery in 1988 and the name disappeared for a few years. Véronique Maes, the daughter of Henri IV, started restoring the historic brewery site in the 1980s; the former bottling plant and maltings were transformed into cafés and restaurants.
Since 2005, De Halve Maan has been treading a new path under the guidance and leadership of Xavier Vanneste, Véronique’s son. The old brewing equipment was thoroughly refurbished, modernised and production was resumed.
In 2005 Xavier introduced a new city beer, Brugse Zot and at the end of 2008 De Halve Maan re-acquired the rights to use the Straffe Hendrik name.
The brand returned to Bruges, where it is once again brewed to the original recipe; the city had its own authentic triple back.
This has since been complemented with a storage beer called Straffe Hendrik Quadrupel, and the oak-matured Straffe Hendrik Heritage. Overall, De Halve Maan produces between 3,500,000 and 4,000,000 litres of beer per annum.