Saturday, May 23, 2009

Serious Blow to Drie Fonteinen.

Just heard a bit of news from brewer/blender Armand Debelder at Drie Fonteinen in Beersel. For those of us who love his beers, this certainly qualifies as tragic.

Because of a busted thermostat, excessive heat ruined about 100,000 bottles of lambic and gueuze in storage last weekend. He said that represented about a third of his annual revenue, so it is a serious blow to his business. It is not a fatal blow—he is determined to survive and keep going—but it is serious nonetheless. For example, there will be virtually no 37.5 cL bottles of gueuze on the market this summer. Options available at the tasting café and restaurant may be limited.

There are two silver linings here.

One is that Armand has been taking a distillation class (with Marc Limet, incidentally, the brewer from Kerkom). He is hoping to possibly distill the ruined lambic into a liquor that could be sold, thus salvaging a positive from the catastrophe.

The second thing is that, not long before the temperature accident, Armand's partner Lydie accepted his marriage proposal. So some congratulations are in order there.

Those who know Armand or are passionate about his beer, or both, are sure to feel a bit of heartbreak at the difficulty and at the loss of all that fantastic beer. If there's any way for us to help his business out (beyond continuing to buy his beer), I'll find out and let you know.

In the meantime, going out and spending some duckets on a fine bottle of Drie Fonteinen lambic is never a bad idea.

*Spelling corrected from Lidi to Lydie, 5/27 13:39 p.m. Sorry Lydie!


  1. This is really sad... I can't imagine how Armand must feel...does he have insurance against such mishaps??? Looking forward to next month...

  2. To be honest, I didn't think to ask about insurance. A little voice in my head is saying, "Is that really any of our business?" But if we want to speculate, I don't think he'd be able to collect insurance AND turn the ruined beer into a product for sale, i.e. beer jenever.

    Anyway, I don't think the money matters nearly as much as the years of hard work, love and creativity that went into all that beer.