Last year, 2015, Brasserie de Brunehaut celebrated their 125th anniversary. Although there as a brief interruption when the former owners declared bankruptcy which allowed Marc-Antoine de Mees to purchase the brewery and revamp the beers and the brand. Currently, he brews two lines of beers: his flagship line of gluten-removed beers under the Brunehaut name and his line of abbey beers named after the nearby abbey ruins of St. Martin.
To qualify as an Abbey Ale, the brewery must conform to these rules:
- The Abbey named must have a past history of brewing
- The brewery has to be authorized to use the name by the Abbey
- The brewery must follow the spirit of the old recipes if information is available
- A certain percentage of the profits are paid in royalties to the Bishop to be used for charitable ventures
If the beer meets these qualifications, the bottle can sport this logo on its label. The St. Martin beers are authentic Abbey beers. The Abbey of St. Martin was located in Tournai and had a book that mentioned purchasing spice for brewing. To maintain this tradition, the St. Martin Noel is made with cloves and cinnamon. In fact, you can see the 13th century crypts underneath the city hall. Recently, Marc-Antoine hosted a beer dinner for the US ambassador to Belgium in these crypts!
Appearance: Murky brown, tan head, great retention.
Aroma: Toffee, licorice, hard wood, mocha, figs, dates, chocolate, molasses, cinnamon.
Taste: Dried fruit, spicy, chocolate, nutmeg, cinnamon, toffee.
Overall Impression: St Martin Brune possesses a rich, deep flavor with a long and complex finish. It’s an elegant and enjoyable beer to warm you up with in the waning days of winter or any other time of the year. It’s another fine example of craft beer in Belgium.
Availability: Nationally where beers imported byC2 Imports are sold.
You can read more about Brasserie de Brunehaut, including more reviews, on my page dedicated to them. You can also read about my tour of the brewery with owner Marc-Antoine de Mees.