This month we are featuring the Huyghe Brewery which is situated in Melle, just outside Ghent. If ever you visit Ghent, a very picturesque city with canals and lots of history not to mention Christmas markets, then you can either catch a bus or take a short train journey to Melle, where you will easily find the brewery along the main road; only yards from the bus stop and less than a kilometre from the railway station.
We visited the brewery this summer whilst touring Belgium. They have tours in English at certain times, so it is best to email Jose at email@example.com and he can book your tour. The tour lasts around an hour and at the end you are allowed a tipple or two, purely in the name of research of course! An excellent tour all round and highly recommended.
The roots of the brewery date back to 1654 however the Huyghe name came on the scene in 1902 when Leon Huyghe started working for Den Appel, the brewery on site at the time. By 1906 he had bought the brewery and in 1936 the Art Deco brewery was built and re-named Huyghe Brewery soon after. Jean De Laet married the grand daughter of Leon Huyghe and until this day the brewery remains in the hands of the De Laet family, the current CEO being Alain De Laet.
The brewery has had some turbulent years in the past but now with an investment program in place and a vision to be the most sustainable brewery in the country the future is looking very rosy. A true family brewery despite its growing size and production.
The Pink Elephant
The Delirium name is a relative newcomer having only been developed in the late 80s, and originally for the Italian market. In 1989 the tax and excise inspectors visited the brewery and Jean gave them a taste of their new brew. Immediately they said it must be introduced to Belgium, but one of the inspectors stated “If I drink a lot of this I will have a delirium”, to which the name stuck! Shortly after a student was offered two crates of beer to design the label and he came up with the Pink Elephants, Dragons, Crocodiles, and birds, all apparently visible in varying stages of delirium. All we will say is if you see the birds after drinking this beer then go home, if and while you can!! From this the brand has grown.
Today there is an ‘Confrerie of the Pink Elephant’, a brotherhood of ambassadors, from which there are 25 bearers who wear the blue and pink gowns, 200 members and 1500 honorary members all made up of lawyers, tax inspectors, head teachers, professionals from the beer world, and celebrities, all promoting the Delirium Beers. The induction is to ‘down’ a Delirium in one! At 8.5% that is a good challenge!!
There are quite a number of beers produced by Huyghe Brewery, many of them multi-award winning beers.
The most famous is Delirium Tremens but in this range there is also Delirium Nocturnum, Delirium Christmas, Delirium Red, Delirium Argentum and Deliria. They also brew La Guillotine, the abbey beer Averbode, the Floris range of many flavoured beers based on a wheat beer, the Mongozo range of beers including a gluten free beer, St Idesbald Abbey beer, Campus, Blanche de Neige, Artevelde and Villers Abbey beers.
We’ve included a number of beers this month in all of our subscription boxes, we hope you enjoy your Pink Elephant experience!