The history of DE GOUDEN BOOM brewery

DE GOUDEN BOOM is situated in the historic centre of the city of Bruges, where Jan Hugheins was brewing beer as early as 1455. For generations the business alternated between a brewery and a distillery. In 1872, Jules Vanneste bought the building which, at that time, still housed the ‘t Hamerken distillery. In 1889, he took the step of definitively converting the distillery into a brewery. Soon, ‘t Hamerken top-fermentation beers became a household name in the Bruges area. In 1983, the brewery was dubbed DE GOUDEN BOOM. This name harks back to the marriage of Margaret of York to Charles the Bold in 1468, when the winner of the knights’ tournament was presented with a Golden Tree (“Gouden Boom”), the emblem of the city of Bruges, as a trophy.

The secret of the historic BRUGGE Tripel city beer and the STEENBRUGGE abbey beers, brewed by DE GOUDEN BOOM, is the “gruut” blend of herbs and spices used to enrich them. The “Gruuthuse” in Bruges, which can still be visited as a museum, maintained a monopoly on the sale of “gruut” until late into the century.

St Peter’s Abbey in Steenbrugge

In 1084, Arnold of Tiegem founded the Abbey of Oudenburg, after which he was appointed Bishop of Soissons and was later canonised. In his time drinking water was still unsafe and spread all manner of diseases. In order to safeguard his flock from these diseases, he taught them to drink beer instead of contaminated water. During the time of the plague, many were thus spared death. It is therefore understandable that brewers took him as their patron saint: St Arnold. In 1934, the rights of the Abbey of Oudenburg were transferred to the new St Peter’s Abbey in Steenbrugge. This abbey owned a brew-house where beer was brewed until the outbreak of the Second World War.

In 2003, the Prior of St Peter’s Abbey in Steenbrugge licensed PALM Breweries to brew STEENBRUGGE abbey beers. He instructed Belgium’s leading family brewer to carefully preserve the legacy of St Arnold for future generations. PALM Breweries solemnly promised to safeguard the unique, ancient recipe.