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Ichtegem's Grand Cru
Brouwerij Strubbe
Type: Brewery
Website: http://www.brouwerij-strubbe.be/

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In 1830, one Carolus Strubbe left the trading town of Tielt to try his luck in Ichtegem, a town well known for its flax industry. He became a farmer and brewer there: in summer, he tilled the land, and in winter he worked on the malt floor with his stirring barrel. At the time, most brewers grew their own raw materials, not only barley and grains, but some of them even grew their own hops. They made their barrels and tanks thereselves or at least restored them themselves; most of the time with oak from their very own trees. Due to this traditional method, there was a great variety of beer barrels in size and off course in content.

Since its establishment, the brewery has remained family owned for six generations. In the distant past, each village had at least one brewery. Belgium had over 1900 with its 6.7 million inhabitants. Today there remain about a hundred. Strubbe brewery has survived, thanks to it the fact that the different generations of Strubbes for one hundred sixty-five years continued to invest in their own company. Many other brewers didn't follow this course, and invested in bars and taverns. When business began to decline, brewers were no longer able to keep up the quality of their beer, and many failed.

Until the end of the first world war, Strubbe brewery produced exclusively ales. After the war, they began to shift production into lagers such as pilsners and bocks. This change was extremely expensive, and didn't result in great profit for the brewery. Thankfully, they were still producing their traditional sour beer, that continued to be popular. This beer after some reformulation and improvement, became the Strubbes Bruin in 1982. The Strubbes bruin was further refined to create the Ichtegems grand cru. This beer, that they still sell today, has a lineage leading back to the founding of the brewery in 1838.

Picture: Keytje Dobbel Tripel label.
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