Monday, March 26, 2012

Drie Fonteinen to Close Lambikodroom, Install New Brewery.

It appears to be sad news for those looking to visit lambic house Drie Fonteinen on their travels this spring and summer... but I'm not convinced the news is all that sad, in reality.

Brewer-blender Armand Debelder plans to shut his Lambikodroom tasting café in Beersel starting April 1, according to the café's website (in Dutch). The blendery will also cease all group tours until October 1, during the installation of the new brewing equipment.

To catch you up: Debelder ceased brewing operations for lack of funds after a thermostat disaster in 2009, although he never stopped blending lambics brewed elsewhere. His series of seasonal lambic blends launched last year, sold at a higher price which geeks have been happy to pay, has raised the money to re-start brewing.

Already I've seen messages from troubled beer travelers who had been looking forward to visiting Drie Fonteinen. They are fearful that it would be a waste of time. So let's put this news into context.

First of all, the Drie Fonteinen restaurant remains open and is one of the finest places around to enjoy traditional lambic with regional cuisine. Anyone who's ever been there for a bottle of vintage geuze with the Pajottenland salmon knows that it is never a waste of time. In fact, in my view, those who visited Lambikodroom but skipped the restaurant missed a key part of the Drie Fonteinen experience.

Secondly, the fact that Debelder and wife Lydie Hulpiau are re-installing a brewery ought to be welcome news to any Drie Fonteinen fan. The artisan will have full control over his product again, from fresh wort to blended and aged geuze (not to mention various experiments).

My advice: Swing by the brewery and see if anyone is there, perhaps say hello, and buy some bottles if the shop is open. The head directly around the corner and have a meal that ought to be on the bucket list of any lambic enthusiast.

I've asked Debelder and Hulpiau for more details and will share them right here if/when I hear back from them.

*Hat tip and hip-hop head nod to Jimbo Kowalczyk for sharing the news on BeerAdvocate.


  1. I think you put a link to the wrong restaurant, Drie Fonteinen in Vilvoorde. For 3 Fonteinen in Beersel, the link should be

  2. You're right Greg, I caught that almost as soon as I found that link then forgot to fix it. Fixed now, with my thanks.