Hanssens Bartholomeus, former major of Dworp, started to brew lambic in 1871, in the previous Sint-Antonius brewery. Documents have proven that he continued to brew, from 1896 onwards, in buildings located in the Vroenenbosstraat, Dworp. These premises are still used.
Nowadays, Hanssens Artisanaal is directed by Sidy
Hanssens, daughter of Jean, the fourth generation in
this family's tradition.
It has to be noted that Bartholomeus started as a
lambic brewer, but after World War I, when the
Germans took all the cupper brew material to produce
war equipment, he, like many others at that time, had
to continue as a blender.
The most significant difference between a geuze
blender and a geuze brewer is that a geuze blender
buys wort (lambic wort) of lambic brewers and does
not brew the lambic by his own. A geuze brewer only works with its own lambic whereas a blender works
with different lambics.
Thirty or forty years ago, this unique art of
blending was done by plus minus forty blenders.
Nowadays there is only one independent blender left.
Hanssens Artisanaal (Sidy, her husband John and
father Jean), still blend the same way the family did
one hundred years ago, using almost the same
material, which requires a lot of skill and effort.
It has to be remarked that Sidy and John, besides this both still have another full-time job. This
makes them financially independent of the brewery
thus giving them the opportunity of making a
traditional product without being driven by market
demanding quality and quantity.
Lambic wort.Lambic wort is brewed
from water, barley malt, unmalted wheat and over aged hops. No yeast is added to
the wort. During the one night cooling process, the
wort is being exposed to the open air. The result of
this method is that wild airborne yeasts come into
the wort and will start the fermentation on a natural
and spontaneous way.
Note that lambic wort is only brewed during winter.
In summertime, there are too many undesirable
bacteria that can have a negative effect on the
fermentation. The spontaneous fermentation is the
mystery of the lambic beers and is unique in the beer
world. It only happens in the Zennevallei in a radius
of twenty kilometers around Brussels