More than 300 years of history. And you can taste it.
The rich history of Liefmans Brewery dates back to 1679. Around 1750 brewer Jacobus Liefmans selected these fertile soils of Oudenaarde, where the banks of the river Scheldt provide natural nourishment for unique Liefmans beers. Liefmans flourished thanks to the talents of master brewer Rosa Merckx. As the first – and for many years also the only – female master brewer, she added finesse and gusto to the Belgian beer culture for 46 years. We can still enjoy the taste of that passion today.
The soul of Liefmans
How it all began
“Local farmers took their surplus cherries to Liefmans and received beer in return.”
The building in Aalststraat is now more than 300 years old. This is where Jacobus' original brewing installations are now kept, as part of the brewing museum.
Even so, it took several centuries before Liefmans was successful in putting itself on the map as a brewery. It wasn't until about 1900 that the brewery began filling its maturation tanks with cherries on a limited scale. Local farmers brought their surplus cherries to Liefmans and received beer in return. A pretty good deal, don't you think? The flavor of this cherry beer has been perfected over the course of time. One figure played a key role in this unprecedented taste (r)evolution: Rosa Merckx.
Master brewer extraordinaire
“I was attracted by the fragrance of malt and hops. Along with the comings and goings in the brewery, the hustle and bustle. "A brewery is alive, just like its beer.”
Thanks to Rosa Merckx, the cherry beer became a real success story, during which the beer became famous among beer experts and beer lovers far and (world)wide. This unique lady certainly stood up for herself and out from the crowd in the world of Belgian beer - which was predominantly a man's world.
The feminine touch often adds some refinement. So, it's no surprise that Liefmans was the first brewery to hand-wrap its bottles with silk paper. As a tribute to this passionate pioneer, the signature of Rosa Merckx now appears on every piece of Liefmans packaging. In this way, she joins today's master brewers in safeguarding the quality of the entire range. Her personal favorite? Goudenband, in particular, captured a special place in her heart.
You must discover Liefmans craft blends for yourself
These days, tradition and progress go hand in hand
"No other place in the world has such perfect air to create these unique fruit beers."
Ever since the very beginning, Liefmans has been produced with a combination of Belgian cherries, and light, dark and roasted malt. After blended fermentation lasting one week, the beer continues to mature in the cellars of the brewery in Oudenaarde in order to acquire its full expression. Then it's over to the master brewer, who carries out the coupage or blends the beer. By mixing young, fresh beer with older, more mature beer, the fermentation is restarted, giving Liefmans its exceptional flavor profile.
This unique balance between the typical sourness and sweet flavors is the culmination of years of craft(wo)manship and an endless search for quality. This brewing process, which forms the bridge between tradition and innovation, was perfected by Rosa Merckx, and is still managed with the same dedication by every master brewer.
Find out for yourself
Book your brewery visit
''Blending’ is the code word for Liefmans, just as it is for champagne.”
Until a few centuries ago, Liefmans was traditionally brewed during the winter season. In order to extend the shelf life until the subsequent summer, people started mixing or blending the beer. This practice means that older, more complex beers are blended with young, fresh brews. Then the beer is refermented, creating an ideal base for the typical Liefmans flavor, which is all down to the master brewer.
The time-consuming nature of the brewing process is confirmed by Liefman's current master brewer, Marc Coesens. ‘Every tank matures differently, and it's the task of a master brewer to blend the different beers into a consistent end product with constant quality. It's crucial to be able to give that guarantee.’ Besides product knowledge, passion and experience, it's also essential to be good at tasting, says Marc. As a master brewer, he and his team keep a close eye to ensure that the beer retains its personality and flavor. Their mission to achieve perfection is the most crucial ingredient in any Liefmans beer.
Keen to find out more about life in our brewery?
Visit the brewery
Our master brewer Marc and his team will be happy to immerse you in the 'hoppy' life of Liefmans. You can top off your visit by tasting a few beers from the range.
The Liefmans brewery on the banks of the river Scheldt in Oudenaarde is a monument in the Belgian beer patrimonium. Being so close to the river Scheldt, the microflora which have developed in this region over the centuries are exceptional. This means that there's nowhere else in the world with such perfect air to create unique fruit beers.
Meanwhile, the original brewery has been renovated, allowing visitors to (re)discover the authentic craft of brewing in a modern and creative environment. When the weather's fine, you can spend a while enjoying the latest Liefmans innovation on the terraces beside the river Scheldt. Got your diary handy?
Attention: it is only possible to book online for a visit to the Liefmans brewery.
- Welcome by a professional guide
- A talk on the history of the origins of this brown beer from Oudenaarde
- A look at the history of Liefmans brewery
- A guided tour in the original brewery
- Two beverages
- Duration tour
- 2 hours
- Price per visitor
- € 14
- Oudenaarde, Belgium
Our brewery can only be visited as part of a pre-booked tour. A guided tour can be reserved for between 15 and up to 35 people. If a group of 15 people has already registered for your chosen moment, you can join this group individually. One guide is provided per group of 35 people.
Visits can be arranged from Monday through Saturday, at 10 am, 2 pm and 5 pm.
Print off the payment mail which you have received after making the
reservation. Use this form as your entrance ticket. The payment must be
settled no later than 14 calendar days before your visit, otherwise your
reservation will be canceled automatically.
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