One of the applications for registration in the 31st year of the International Beer Festival has been sent recently by the Belgian brewery Val de Sambre, which is based in the Walloon Region near the French borders in the southern part of the Kingdom of Belgium. Though its name dates to 2019, the brewery’s history is much older. Under its former name Abbaye d'Aulne, beer was brewed in the Monastery of the Benedictine Order in the complex of an old Cistercian Abbey of the same name, founded in the early stages of the common era - as early as 657(!).
Like many Belgian abbeys, Cistercians of Aulne Abbey had brewed their own beer from the Middle Ages. Stronger beer, such as Blond, Brune or Triple, was served on special occasions. Lightest beer was intended for normal consumption.
After the last monk died, the year 1859 saw the Monastery turn into a hospice. In 1998, company Leveau decided to follow the local tradition of beer brewing and began to produce abbatial beer directly in the Monastery complex, using the old recipes. The complex ranks among the most interesting tourist attractions, even though a part of the Monastery has survived in a form of romantic ruins only.
Since it ultimately proved impossible to brew larger quantities of beer due to the limited space available in the barns and stables, the company started to construct a new brewery in 2019 in the nearby industrial zone. With the new premises on its disposal, the craft brewery now operates under the trade name Brasserie Val de Sambre. The company continues to produce abbatial beer Abbaye d'Aulne – top fermented beer that follows Cistercian traditions of beer brewing. The company’s offer also includes the typical Belgian wheat beer - called “white beer” and fruit beer of range Chérie.
Activities of this small innovative brewery are directed at export expansion of its production. Last May, the brewery, as one of the first breweries in Belgium, was awarded the internationally renowned certificate FSSC 22000 in the area of food safety, a fact that greatly facilitates export activities.
In its modern establishment, the brewery not only restored the offer of abbatial beer, but it also develops new flavors of its unfiltered fruit beer. Importantly, the brewery’s wheat beer Blanche de Charleroi is organic certified.
The brewery’s portfolio includes the following types of beer: Belgian Abbey Beer, Belgian Organic Wheat Beer and Fruity Flavored Wheat Beer.
In this year’s International Beer Festival in České Budějovice, the brewery registered its samples in these categories: Extra Strong Beer, Wheat Beer and Flavored Beer.