Brouwerij Malheur‘s newest release is somewhat of a departure for the brewery, although well within the range of the brewery’s innovative nature. The brewery’s history story matches that of many of Belgium’s family breweries. The De Landtsheer established a brewery near Buggenhout on family farm in last part of the 18th century. Originally the brewery was called “De Halve Maan,” no affiliation with Bruges’ famous De Halve Maan. The founder’s grandson, Emmanuel, renamed the brewery to De Zon which means “The Sun.” The brewery pays homage to this time by featuring the color orange in its logos.
Two world wars caused the brewery to halt production and instead of restarting brewing operations, the current Emmanuel De Landtsheer decided to halt brewing entirely and focus on bottling drinks and distribution. He didn’t see a way to compete with the massive influx of pilsner beers on the market. They’re brewery simply wasn’t setup for brewing this style of beer.
The De Landtsheer family revived their brewing tradition in 1997 when Manu, the current head of the family, opened the newest incarnation of the brewery under the new name of “Malheur,” which translates to misfortune. The brewery chose this name more in the spirit of misfortunes one laughs about later with their friends than the serious kind.
The brewery is most famous for its creation of Champagne conditioned beers. Although fellow citizen of Buggenhout, Brouwerij Bosteels claims that they’re the ones that created this style of beer. It’s unknown who actually did, either way, we as lovers of Belgian beer are grateful for both of their creations. It’s in this vein of innovation that Malheur created Zestig.
Zestig is a hoppy blond ale. Zestig is Dutch for 60, the number of IBUs measured in the beer.
Appearance: Hazy blond, white head, great retention.
Aroma: Lemon creme, earthy notes, herbal, spicy, banana.
Taste: Spicy, banana, earthy, herbal, bitter.
Overall Impression: Zestig is crisp and zippy. The intense carbonation creates a creamy/velvety mouthfeel. The yeast combined with the hops creates a very bright character. Be careful of the alcohol, it’s well hidden and quite high!
Availability: Malheur is imported by Belukus Marketing. You can find their beers nationally in most markets at stores that carry a variety of Belgian beers.