Hanssens Artisanaal bvba

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Website : N/A

Phone: +32 (0)23 80 31 33

Address: Vroenenbosstraat 15 Dworp, 1653

Overview

Hanssens Artisanaal bvba is a traditional lambic blendery located in Dworp (Tourneppe), Belgium. Hanssens offers a range of lambics including Oude Geuze and Oude Kriek, a specialty Scarenbecca Kriek made from Schaerbeekse Cherries, and the only authentic strawberry lambic in Belgium, Oudbeitje. Raspberry and Cassis lambics are available in the United States, and Hanssens has also blended lambic and mead. According to Van Den Steen, Hanssens was the first brewery to use the protected name of Oude Geuze and Oude Kriek on their labeling.[1]

Hanssens corks

History

In a roundabout way, Hanssens is one of the oldest lambic blenders in Belgium. Before moving to their current site in 1896, lambic was brewed and blended at the family farm since 1871.[2] Hanssens, as we know it today, came into existence through a non-lambic brewery known as Het Hooghuys brewery. This brewery was initially owned by the Van Hemelrijk family and eventually became associated with the Hanssens name after Petrus Van Hemelrijk married Joanna Maria Hanssens in 1837. The oldest son of Petrus and Joanna, Jozef (1861-1890), continued the family brewing tradition until he fell ill in 1888. That same year, Jozef let his cousin Bartholomé Hanssens (who later became the mayor of Dworp from 1914-1927) take over the brewery operations on the condition that he would return it back to the Van Hemelrijk family when Jozef’s young children were old enough to maintain the business. The brewery was signed over on a 9-year lease to Bartholomé.[1]
Old Hanssens crate

A family quarrel came about when Bartholomé did not want to return the popular brewery, and he was eventually fired, forcing him to find a new location for his brewery. Professionally, Bartholomé Hanssens was not a lambic brewer or blender originally. He brewed a popular brown table beer known as “Waalschen Bruynen” (Walloon Brown).[1] By all accounts, his new brewery, Sint-Antonius, broke with Dworp tradition by not producing or blending any lambic. However, during the First World War, Bartholomé’s brewery was stripped of all its copper equipment by the occupying German forces. The loss of all of his brewing equipment forced Bartholomé Hanssens to turn to purchasing wort, maturing it, and using the resulting lambic for blends.

Bartholomé’s second marriage resulted in four children (two daughters and two sons). One son, Jozef, died young leaving Theo Hanssens (1909 - ? ) as the male successor to the lambic blending business. Theo Hanssens began to learn the lambic blending craft at the age of 14 as his father started to become ill. Not only did he learn with his father, but he also learned with one of the most important lambic breweries in Dworp, Winderickx. Theo took over the business full time when his father passed away in 1928. In 1932, Theo married Rosa Vastiau, whose name makes up Hanssens barrel marking today: THV. With so many lambic breweries in the immediate area, Theo used wort from Van Haelen in Beersel (closed in 1957), Van Haelen-Coche in Uccle (closed in 1968), La Fleur d’Or in Brussels (closed in 1969), Timmermans in Itterbeek, and Winderickx in Dworp/Tourneppe (closed in 1969). The numerous brewery closures after World War II lead to Hanssens using wort from Lindemans and Girardin to create their lambics. By 1990, the blend also contained lambic from Boon.[1] Today, these three breweries make up all of Hanssens's gueuze blends. Theo Hanssens and Rosa Vastiau had one son, Jean, who would eventually learn the trade from his father and move into the business after completing his military service.
Barrels at Hanssens

After succeeding his father Theo in 1974,[3] Jean Hanssens continued to produce only gueuze and kriek throughout the 1970’s and 80's as the lambic market continued to shrink. Van Den Steen quotes Jean Hanssens to Armand Debelder saying that “de guis is kapot” (geuze is dead).[1] However, in 1993, Hanssens along with 3 Fonteinen and Moriau won the OBP trophy which can be seen on 3 Fonteinen labels from the time. Jean Hanssens continued to blend lambic until 1997, when it became apparent that it was time to retire. Jean and his wife Julienne De Wulf had two children, a son Theo and a daughter Sidy. Having not taught his children the art of blending, Jean saw no immediate successor for the name and began to work his way through the final stocks of lambic to be blended with the intention of discontinuing the Hanssens name.

Bottling and corking machine at Hanssens

Fortunately for the lambic community, Jean’s daughter Sidy, and her husband John took interest in continuing the family’s blending business. In 1998, Hanssens Artisanaal bvba, as we recognize it today, was set up--passing the Hanssens name onto the fourth generation. As a very small blendery, neither Sidy nor John make a living from blending lambic and they have regular day jobs. Today, Hanssens is a 100% traditional lambic blendery, producing only authentic, unsweetened, and unpasteurized lambics. As of now, there are no immediate successors to the Hanssens name and is still located in Dworp on the same family farm and in the same family farmhouse purchased many years earlier by Bartholomé.[2] Hanssens is also a member of HORAL.

Beers

Geuze

Fruit

Jonge Lambiek

Oude Lambiek

Breweriana

Pictures

Videos

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Jef Van den Steen, Geuze & Kriek: The Secret of Lambic Beer, 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 Tim Webb, LambicLand, 2010
  3. HORAL - Hanssens, http://www.horal.be/leden/hanssens-dworp