Vander Ghinste Brasserie LeFort Tripel and the reassurance of tradition

Vander Ghinste Brasserie LeFort Tripel and the reassurance of tradition

John ShearlockAug 18, '22
It’s another slice of Belgian brewing history today courtesy of Vander Ghinste with a tale that spans 125 years and five generations.

The story begins in 1892 in the town of Bellgem, which looks awfully like a misspelt attempt at Belgium but, I assure you, is a small town in West Flanders, near the city of Kortrijk.

It is here that Remi Vander Ghinste buys a house (and accompanying buildings) for his son Omer, allowing Omer to dive head first into the world of brewing, which he does with his first beer called Ouden Tripel. We all need something to kick start us right - and it seems the good ‘ol bank of mum and dad was just as prevalent back in the late 1800s as it is today.

Beer branding was a much simpler affair in the old days, it would appear, and so Omer named the business after himself - Beers Omer Vander Ghinste. Simple and to the point and still rather exotic to anyone who doesn’t come from Belgium I imagine.

This simplistic, yet rather impactful approach continues on the marketing front as Omer hits on the genius idea of installing stained glass windows of his beer brand in the shop fronts of pubs and bars.

Although this is very much a nod to the pleasantries of a bygone era, the real beauty of this idea is the permanence of the advertising medium. Windows tend to remain whilst posters wear and tear and are eventually replaced.

Omer’s elegant take on permanence and how to win the war advertising didn’t stop there!

Omer met a lady called Marguerite Vandamme who was the granddaughter of Felix Verscheure, owner of Brasserie LeFort, a thriving town brewery located in nearby Kortrijk. They fell in love, married and - you guessed it - had a son. 

Together they hit on the very clever idea that by calling their son Omer - the expensive stained glass windows that they had so painstakingly installed around the town of Bellgem would not need replacing when the next generation took over. 

Of course, if you go down this route you have to do it properly, and five generations on - Omer, the great-great-grandson of the founder, has stepped into a role at the brewery.

That’s pretty impressive in my opinion but must make things tricky at Christmas when the whole family sits down around the dinner table?

The brewery has of course gone from strength to strength and in 2013 added the Brasserie LeFort range to its lineup in a tribute to Felix Verscheure, founder of Brasserie LeFort. Tripel LeFort was added three years later and immediately won a gold medal at the European Beer Star Awards in Germany. Let's have a look at it…

It’s a beautiful golden amber in the glass with a thick white head that magically appears from nowhere. The nose is crisp and clean with citrus, green bananas, candy, cloves and subtle coriander notes and opens into a palate that is rich and succulent - and rather like a trip to the sweet shop for the palate, where confected citrus and tropical chews, green banana lollies and bitter, spiced gobstoppers mix with lime jet planes and sherbet dips. 

A top drop that somehow manages to be both full bodied and light and zesty all at once.

There something totally great about traditional brands such as Vander Ghinste that seemingly never change. We feel reassured and comforted by the notion of permanence in our lives. Add to the mix a style such as this tripel that will never get old and the results are simply magic.