Rondje Roodbruin / Red-Brown Ale Trail

Red-Brown Ales

Red-brown ales are a category of mixed fermentation beers with a sour and smooth flavour. Mixed fermentation means the beers sold on the market are in fact a blend of young top-fermented beer and old spontaneously fermented beer that has matured in upright oak vats (= foeders) for at least 18 months. This way, a unique blend is created. The smooth, slightly acidic flavour of the red-brown ales makes them ideal thirst-quenchers. The process used for brewing red-brown ales is centuries old and firmly rooted in the Lys region.

Its thirst-quenching character and relatively long shelf life initially made this beer popular among the local farming community and enabled exporting the beer to the nearby emerging industrial centres in French Flanders and Hainaut.

Although the production area remained limited to a remote corner of Belgium, the Flemish red-brown ales succeeded in penetrating the Belgian beer market. Since the 1950s they can be found at virtually every Belgian café and beer retailer.

The Flemish red-brown ales’ fame even extends beyond Belgium. Eminent English author Michael Jackson dedicated a chapter to them in several of his books about Belgian beers. The Flemish red-brown ales were included in the TV-series Tournée Générale, which was broadcast by the Flemish public channel. Various Flemish red-brown ales have furthermore been recognised by the Flemish government as traditional local products.

Here you can find more information about the different beers: