De Halve Maan
The house brewery - "brewpub" - "De Halve Maan" is the only family brewery in the centre of Bruges that is still active.
De "Halve Maan" is situated in the heart of our historical town and offers a hospitable welcome to the visitors. In 2005 new life has been blown into the brewery with the revival of the brewery’s activities. Xavier Vanneste, son of Mrs Véronique Maes, restarted the old brewery after a thorough renovation of the remaining installation. He launched this new beer under the name ‘Brugse Zot’ for which a unique recipe has been developed.
Today Brugse Zot is the one and only beer really brewed in Bruges’ towncenter !
By the end of 2008, "Straffe Hendrik" a beer once developed and brewed by the Maes' familiy returned to Bruges and is now being brewed, once again, at the brewery "De Halve Maan" according to the original recipe. An exceptional link with the ‘Halve Maan’ brewery is the fact that Cannon Maes, head of the Mental Illness institute in 1856, gave money to Leon Maes to install a new brewery at the premises. This is the year when the Maes Family took over the brewery. Thus, the first big customer of the brewery was the mental institution. Indeed, even today, hospitals still serve beer to their patients in Belgium. Xavier Vanneste, today’s brewer, is the son of Veronique Maes.
About Brugse Zot
The only beer that is actually brewed and lagered in Brugge (Bruges), the fierce medieval town in Flanders, the Venice of the North, one of the three most beautiful cities in Western Europe. Pale blond ale, crowned with a white head, blooms with a fruity pronounced aroma, hints of lemon, and hits the palate with a refreshing dryness, embellished by hints of spices and orange, balanced by an underlying faint malty sweetness. This is one of the lighter Pale golden ales with an alcohol content of 6 %. The beer finishes with a short, fruity taste that somewhat sticks to the palate.
BRUGSE ZOT (BRUGES FOOL), WHERE DOES THE NAME COME FROM?
For many centuries, the people of Bruges have been known to their Flemish neighbors, as “Bruges Fools”. How did they get this name? A couple explanations run around today. The most prevalent is that Emperor Maximilian of Austria, who had acquired Flanders through his marriage to Mary of Burgundy, was staying in Bruges at the end of the 15th century to watch the famous yearly Holy Blood Procession. The day after, the citizens of Bruges asked him to sponsor the creation of a ‘fools house’, an institution for mental illness. The emperor responded’ “Just close the city gates. Bruges is one big fools’ house!” During the procession the day before, he had seen the burghers of Bruges jumping and fooling around. The procession is a lot of fun, and the most festive day of Bruges. Indeed, there was certainly a lot of ale drinking during the procession, and all participants dressed up in all kind of costumes, picturing scenes from the Holy Bible and from daily life. To this very day, this procession is quite a spectacle! What’s more, each of the Trade Guilds in those days had their own Joker, whose task it was to bring the funny note into their meetings, and to make the people laugh during their public outings. Each guild competed to have the most funny guy in their midst. So there you have a second explanation for the Bruges nickname, “Brugse Zot”. The institute for people with mental illnesses was eventually created in the early 16th century. An exceptional link with the ‘Halve Maan’ brewery is the fact that Cannon Maes, head of the Mental Illness institute in 1856, gave money to Leon Maes to install a new brewery at the premises. This is the year when the Maes Family took over the brewery. Thus, the first big customer of the brewery was the mental institution. Indeed, even today, hospitals still serve beer to their patients in Belgium. Xavier Vanneste, today’s brewer, is the son of Veronique Maes.