The Van Honsebrouck family has been brewing in West Flanders since 1811 and in Inglemunster, their current home, since 1900. Today, the brewery is run by the 5th generation of Van Honsebroucks, Xavier. Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck is a member of the Belgian Family Brewers organization which is a trade group of Belgian breweries that are family owned and have been in existence for at least 50 years.
They have long been a brewer of their regional style of Flemish Rood/Bruins but in 1958, they decided to truly dedicate themselves to this style when they discontinued brewing pilsner. In the 50s, this was a bold move considering regional specialty brewers were going out of business at a prodigious rate. When other specialty styles were going by the wayside, Van Honsebrouck doubled down on their Bacchus Oud Bruin.
Van Honsebrouck has a few different lines of beer available in the US besides Bacchus, including: Kasteel & St. Louis. Despite Bacchus being the oldest, it’s probably one of the brewery’s least well known options. In Belgium, they offer a Cherry and a Raspberry version as well. Hopefully they’ll decide to export both of these to the US soon. They’re quite nice variations of the classic Vlaams Oud Bruin. I got to try them for the first time at the brewery on my trip to Belgium in the spring of 2015.
Appearance: Clear brown, light tan head, good retention.
Aroma: Tea, chocolate, berries, leather, cola, wood notes, caramel.
Taste: Tart, sweet, leather, wood, caramel.
Overall Impression: Bacchus is above all a balanced beer with the classic sweet-tart combination that Flemish Red/Browns are know for. The nice paper bottle wrap makes for a nice presentation to go with this tasty beer. With a medium finish and low alcohol, Bacchus is nice drinking sour beer that’s not too sour. It’s a nice beer to use to introduce people to the style but equally deserves to be in the glass of more experienced drinkers. Hopefully American audiences will be able to experience the fruited version in the future.
Availability: Nationally where Global Beer Network beers are sold.