Phone: +32 (0)25 69 03 90
Address: Lenniksebaan 1479 Vlezenbeek, 1602
Lindemans is a lambic producer that brews and blends its own lambic as well as provides wort to several other blenders throughout the Senne Valley. Lindemans produces both traditional lambic as well as sweetened lambic. The brewery is currently under its 7th generation of ownership by the Lindemans family. Though there is some confusion as to when exactly the brewery came into its own under the Lindemans name, some older Lindemans labels note 1811 as the founding official founding. Around 2016 this was updated after more historical research by the brewery found that the date written as 1811 was actually 1822. The 1822 date is now officially noted by Lindemans as their start as a lambic brewery, but there may have been breweing production as early as 1809 (noted below).
The Lindemans name initially began as a wheat and barley farm that produced lambic on the side during the winters to supplement income and employ workers year-round. The first recorded brewing session under the Lindemans name took place in 1809. By the 1930’s, the brewing aspect of the farm was so successful that the family discontinued the farming business to concentrate solely on making lambic, gueuze, and kriek. First generation brewer Frans Lindemans married into the family, who owned the land where the brewery is located.
Frans Lindemans passed away in 1830 and was succeeded by his son Joos Frans, who was also a mayor of Vlezenbeek. Joos had a total of eleven children, only one of whom was interested in taking over the brewery after he passed away in 1865. This son, Duc Lindemans, constructed the buildings and brewing hall which still stand on the property today. Only one of Duc’s nine children succeeded their father in the brewing business. In 1901, Theofiel Martin took over the brewing at Lindemans and started to scale back the farming activities. In 1930, Theofiel eventually passed the brewing on to one of his four children, Emiel Jozef.
Emiel married in 1937 and passed away in 1956. During that time he fathered two sons, René (1939) and Nestor (1941). When Emiel passed away, both sons were too young to continue operations at the farm and brewery. All farming was again stopped and a man who studied brewing and worked at Timmermans, Triphon Antoons, helmed the Lindemans brewing operations. Up to the point that Emiel passed away, the brewery was still only producing lambic for other blenders and café owners and not bottling on their own.
By 1963, René and Nestor had finished their studies and took over operations at the brewery. René, who studied brewing, became the head brewer while his brother Nestor, who studied accounting, handled the sales and administrative aspect of the business. As café blenders began to close their doors Lindemans began to produce sweetened lambics after the 1972-73 season to supplement the income of supplying wort to independent blenders.
The introduction of sweetened lambic to the Lindemans repetoire was also the result of not being able to source enough Schaarbeek sour cherries. According to Van den Steen, “blenders were forced to switch to the ‘northern’ sour cherries which were easier to obtain but did produce the desired results” which resulted in the lambic having to be finished off by adding fruit juice and non-fermentable sugars at bottling. The sweetened cherry lambics were so popular that other sweetened products were added to the lineup including Faro (1978), Framboise (1980), Blackcurrant (1986), and Peach (1987). The resulting popularity led to the first major Lindemans expansion in 1988.
Over time, Lindemans eventually abandoned the oak casks used to age lambics in favor of stainless steel tanks with wood shavings added in so that the lambic would still come in contact with wood, in accordance with Belgian law. As the brewery’s popularity continued to grow, more storage space was required. Plans to construct new buildings to house a bottling line and warehouses were completed and finally approved by 2002.
The recent history of Lindemans also reflects the revival of the lambic culture as a whole. In 1995, the Lindemans importer for the United States, Merchant du Vin, convinced René that enough demand existed for a traditional oude gueuze. Lindemans Oude Geuze Cuvée René was born with a vitnage date of 1994 for the first batch. Over a decade later, Oude Kriek Cuvée René made its first apperance in 2007. The addition of twenty 100hl oak foudres (in compliance with European Union protections for lambic) in 2005-2006 saw the return of one of the most traditional aspects of lambic brewing and blending.
The future for Lindemans looks strong. Since 2006, the seventh generation of Lindemans has been in charge of the brewery. René’s son Geert (1968) now runs the administrative side of the brewery while Nestor’s son Dirk (1968) runs the brewing operations after having been involved with the brewery since 1993. Sadly, Nestor Lindemans passed away in 2008. For his part, René Lindemans is still involved in the brewery. He still opens the brewery in the morning and closes it at night, but spends most of his time with the future 8th generation of the Lindemans brewing family: three grandsons born in 2001, 2002, and 2010. Lindemans is a member of HORAL.
In 2013, with demand for lambic products increasing around the world, Lindemans began working on a new expansion that would increase the storage capacity to 170,000 hectoliters. At a cost of 15 million euros, the new space was dedicated on April 28, 2015. This new space houses a bottling line for 25cl bottles, more storage area for barrels, and new office space. The coolship and brewhouse remained intact.
Lindemans follows much of the traditional lambic brewing processes, with the following notable facts:
- Wind drives much of the brewing. Wind leads to more evaporation during brewing, shortening the boiling time. Also, the beer is divided among the two coolships in different ratios depending on the direction that the wind is blowing.
- Lambic is primarily aged in stainless steel tanks with wood shavings as opposed to barrels. However, in 2005, 10 foudres were purchased thanks in large part to the requirements around the european protection of lambic. The brewery has continued to acquire more barrels since then.
Lindemans bottles are coded to indicate the vintage and other information about the beer. Examples of this code are: LA22NGC or BA22OGC
- L = Lot (first character in the code. L was on all bottles, pre-2015. Since the expansion some codes start with L, others start with the B/G designation below)
- B/G = The production line where this was bottled (added after the Lindemans expansion in 2014)
- A = A letter representing the month. In this example, the A code indicates that the beer was bottled in January
- 22 = The day that the beer was bottled *
- N = The 14th letter in the alphabet. This indicates the year (by counting up the alphabet starting from 2001). So N would be a 2014 vintage. O would be a 2015 vintage.
- GC = The specific beer. In this code example, this was a Gueuze Cuvee
- * On some special releases such as Blossom Gueuze, the code (BI00OBG) was printed on the bottle directly, and the day just shows 00 as the specific day of bottling was unknown when the bottles were screen printed.
- De Heeren Van Liedekercke 20th Anniversary Blend
- Lindemans Gueuze (filtered)
- Lindemans Loerik
- Lindemans Oude Gueuze Cuvée René
- Lindemans Oude Gueuze Cuvée René Special Blend 2010
- Lindemans BlossomGueuze
- Lindemans Cassis
- Lindemans Chello
- Lindemans Framboise
- Lindemans GingerGueuze
- Lindemans Kriek
- Lindemans Oude Kriek Cuvée René
- Lindemans Pêche (Pécheresse)
- Lindemans Pomme
- Lindemans Tea Beer
- Lindemans / Mikkeller SpontanBasil
- Tim Webb, Chris Pollard, Siobhan McGinn, LambicLand: A Journey Round the Most Unusual Beers in the World, 2010
- Jef Van den Steen,Geuze & Kriek: The Secret of Lambic Beer, 2012
- HORAL - Lindemans (Dutch), http://www.horal.be/en/members/lindemans-vlezenbeek
- Lindemans Press Release - Verdubbeling brouwcapaciteit en personeel, April 28, 2015