Brewery Van Eecke, also known as the Golden Lion Brewery is a Belgian family brewery in Watou, part of Poperinge. The brewery was founded in 1862 in an area where since the 17th century beer has been brewed. The brewery was revived after the World War II, to come to fame with the line of abbey beers "Kapitel".
The flagship of the company Hommelbier, a hoppy blond beer 7.5%, since 1991. It is a very hoppy beer by belgian standards, hence the name: bumblebee does hops in the local dialect. Hommelbier is not only popular in Flanders, but is also readily available outside the region
More History of the Van Eecke Brewery
Van Eecke family only started to brew in Watou from 1862, the actual premises date back as far as 1629 where the small farm brewery sat adjacent to a local castle owned by the Earls of Watou. This flourished in the local community until the French Revolution, when of course the buildings were first plundered, looted and then burnt to the ground. The Earls of Watou escaped by fleeing to England, and thus it was left to a local farmer to revive not the castle, but the brewery. The motto at the time in the village was “Revolt all you want, but we still need beer here!” – wise words indeed.
The brewery became the ‘Gouden Leeuw’ (the Golden Lion), and despite the proximity of Watou to the French border, the locals were very keen to keep the Flemish name. In France, as in England, the Golden Lion was a very popular inn name, translating as ‘Au Lion d’Or’, which is pronounced exactly the same as ‘au lit on dort’ –which means ‘in the bed one sleeps’. This would have been a much more apt title if they had kept the French translation as the local farmer turned the brewery into a proper inn with rooms for travellers. The inn stayed true to the village motto and continued to quench the thirst of its locals until 1862 when the Van Eecke family took over the brewing and began to push the boundaries on improving the stock of top fermenting ales. The range of beers, especially the Het Kapittel beers remain amongst Belgium’s finest.