21.11.12

Rodenbach Brewery Roeselare, Belgium

The Rodenbach Brewery logo - Roselare, Belgium
Beer really is not my thing; I typically feel bloated and some 10 pounds heavier after even half a pint of beer. I know, I know, I'm like the worst Belgian expat ever! You beer connoisseurs out there will be pleased to know that I am trying to find some love for Belgium's "water." Since moving to Roselare, Chris has convinced me to take a sip of every new beer he tries. Some Belgians claim that 1500 unique vintages are brewed in this country, and others claim that the number is closer to 2000+. Regardless of the number, there are a lot of very unique beers here. Chris has a whole lot of drinking (and I, a lot of taste-testing) left to do to get through all of them!

Since the Rodenbach Brewery is in Roeselare, I figured we should check it out as a future "show-and-tell" destination when we have visitors. It is pretty difficult to set up a brewery tour for a small group, but my friend, Ben, and I were lucky to join a tour that was being given to an Italian group. Unfortunately, my hubby had to work, but he'll eventually get a chance to visit the brewery.


Rodenbach Brewery is now owned by Palm Breweries, and the renovations are obvious and impressive. The 2-hour tour started with coffee and a brief video-orientation of the Rodenbach family and their beer. It was interesting to learn that without the contributions of the Rodenbach's, the city of Roeselare may not look the same today. The family was about so much more than beer; they truly formed this city. Their legislation helped build the canal in Roeselare that is integral to industry. For centuries, they were a family of doctors, authors, artists, poets, politicians, war heros, merchants, and entrepreneurs. . .

And then of course, they are brew masters. The Rodenbach Brewery tour is really interesting because it is not like any brewery I've ever toured before. They have a unique blending process, and then their maturation process takes up to two years and requires enormous oak vats. Each vat holds 12,000 liters (3,170 gallons) to 65,000 liters (17,171 gallons) of beer, and as of today, there are 294 of those monsters hanging out in their brewery. It is a maze of vats and they even have their own vat-making-workshop. The last two room that you walk through to complete the tour are vat rooms that are used for event. Almost every weekend, weddings are held amongst the vats. Now that sounds like a real Belgian affair. I hope we get invited to one of those weddings eventually!

Ben and I had a great time, and it didn't hurt that the current brew master was giving the tour. Apparently it is not typical to have the brew master as a tour guide, we just got lucky.
Reception room and restaurant at Rodenbach Brewery.
Rodenbach Brewery has received several awards and here is a link if you want to see what they have won. 
The Rodenbach Brewery brew master. 
Just one of the vat rooms. They were very impressive!
This is where weddings take place amongst the Rodenbach vats. 
      The original Rodenbach has a sweet and sour "green apple" taste to it. 
Ben liked the tastings after the tour!
Post tour questions and comments at Rodenbach. 
It was worth the tour, and I actually enjoyed the beverages.