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Local grains to restore authentic taste to Geuze brew

Only 3% of the grain used in the production of Belgian beer is grown in Belgium, but brewery 3 Fonteinen in Lot (Beersel - Flemish Brabant) is eager to see this change.  It is working together with fifteen local farmers to source its ingredients locally.

Brewery 3 Fonteinen (3 Fountains) is versed in the production of Lambic, Geuze and cherry beer.  Three years ago it initiated a project aimed at sourcing more of the grains used in beer production locally.

Lucas Van den Abeele, who co-ordinates the project, believes that local sourcing can ensure the beers’ authentic taste that the brewery is keen to promote.  Today 15 local farmers produce wheat and barley for the brewery, but nobody yet knows whether you will be able to taste that the beers are brewed with local produce. Lucas is enthusiastic:

“The first brews were made two and a half years ago.  Our Geuze is only ready after three years because it needs to be ripened in oak casks.  A little patience is needed.”

The brewery started its project with a search for the original ur-grain used in Lambic beer.

“In the Sixties this specific type of wheat was used by Lambic brewers.  Partly as a result of the modernisation of farming the grain has disappeared without trace.  We want to resume cultivation of what is called the “Little Redhead” of Brabant in the Pajottenland District.”

A bond of trust is a crucial part of the relationship between farmer and brewer.

“We believe it’s important that there is fair co-operation and farmers get a fair price.  Farmers are regularly invited to the brewery and we like to visit the fields.  This bond of trust has completely disappeared.  It’s our priority to see it restored.”

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