Wheat beer was a typical beer in this region and was brewed using a considerable quantity of raw wheat. It was a refreshing beer that was flavoured with a mixture of herbs, because people did not yet know about hops or these were not widespread. That is why historically wheat beer contained fewer hops and was traditionally flavoured using coriander seeds and dried curaçao orange peel. This makes wheat beer highly drinkable and gives it a refreshing flavour. It is also why wheat beer is known as a summer beer and has a lower alcohol content, with only 5% ABV.
When wheat beer re-emerged on the market in the 1980s, Paul Vanneste, the 4th generation brewer to follow Jules Vanneste, also decided to re-establish the tradition of brewing wheat beer. He made a start with the brewery “De Gouden Boom”, that succeeded the original family brewery “‘t Hamerken”. He then launched “Brugs Tarwebier”, a refreshing wheat beer. There were not many wheat beers on the market in the 1980s.
In the 1990s, he entered into a partnership with the “Alken-Maes” breweries that distributed “Brugs Tarwebier” through its sales channels. This enabled the beer to be distributed across Belgium and marked the start of the glory years for “Brugs Tarwebier”. This wheat beer grew to become the number two brand of wheat beer in Belgium. Alken-Maes also eventually acquired the “Brugs Tarwebier” brand from the brewery “De Gouden Boom”.
So, Paul Vanneste was partly responsible for pioneering the revival of wheat beer in Belgium.
“Brugs Tarwebier” was a beer with two names. It was known in French as “Blanche de Bruges”.
It was under this name that the beer became popular in countries such as France and Italy, where wheat beer also grew in importance.