The brewery of the month:Affligem!
The Affligem brewery credits its history back as early as 1074, when a group of Belgian knights seeking redemption made the decision to become monks. The brotherhood became one of the most influential monasteries in the Flanders region, and went on to build an abbey in Affligem, a Belgian municipality northwest of Brussels. Beer quickly became an important source of income for the Belgian abbey as it continued to grow and build its reputation.
The Affligem abbey has seen its fair share of challenges throughout history. In 1129, a huge fire struck the abbey, then it was further devastated in the fourteenth century during the war between Flanders and Brabant. In 1580, the monks of the Affligem abbey were sentenced to exile following the passage of the troops of William of Orange. This didn’t stop the growth of up to 1500 hop plants on the abbey’s grounds in 1620, however.
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The story continues...
In the years following the wars between Flanders and Brabant and the annexation of the country by French revolutionaries, the brewery was revived by the community under the leadership of a young surviving monk. Brewing activity resumed at the Affligem abbey in 1885.
The Affligem brewery was also hit badly by the world wars that were to come in the following century. In 1917, the Germans dismantled Affligem’s tanks to take the copper, thus stopping all production. WWII also halted the brewery’s activity, but this resumed in 1947, and shortly after, in 1950, the monks of Affligem created the Formula Antiqua Renovata: an adaptation of the historical recipe to modern technologies.
In 1956, Elder Tobias decided to entrust the Affligem recipe to Hertog, a secular and independent brewer. And since 1970, Affligem beer has been produced in the Affligem brewery in Opwijk, a village near the abbey.
Thanks to this decision by Father Tobias, the Affligem brewery traditions continue today. The brewery has a range of beers, steeped in history, that can be enjoyed. The logo harks back to its humble beginnings, however: it symbolises the chivalrous and monastic traditions of the Affligem brewery.
Today, all Affligem brewing is done in the brewery of Opwijk (not far from the abbey), under the supervision and control of the monks. In Opwijk, the Affligem brewery is continually investing in efforts to improve safety, the environment and the brewery’s overall efficiency.
Affligem beer is brewed from the finest ingredients and two types of barley malt: pale malt, and caramelised malt, which gives Affligem beer a colour ranging from amber to chestnut - depending on the amounts used.
The Affligem Dubbel is a very traditional style trappist beer with a red/brown hue. It’s brewed with dark toasted malt and is sweet yet spicy. Affligem Blond, a bronze winner of the Brussels Beer Challenge is a well-balanced, refreshing beer with a hoppy aftertaste. It pairs deliciously with mature cheeses.