Walloon solera ale in Sweden

Happy New Year, Jeff

I will now serve you a (true) story about the oldest belgian beer in the
world which is a swedish, solera homebrew (!)

Some history behind it.

Already in the beginning of the seventeenth century walloonian blacksmiths
began to emigrate from the region nowadays called Belgium to Sweden.

The immigration increased in the middle of the century . Noble immigrants
like Louis de Geer recruited his skilled fellow countrymen to his own and
others of the growing amount of ironworks in Sweden at that time.

And they brought their beer with them.

Probably there were some homebrewing but soon many ironworks had their own
brewery. The first brewers to get their royal permission were Willem and
Gillis de Besche. Another brewer who worked at the request of Louis de Geer
was Lina Gauffin.

“The Old Beer”or “The Hundredyearold beer”

This is the name of a tradition that was preserved at least until the time
of the first World War at the ironworkmanors.

The brewery, the blacksmiths families or the lord had barrels made of wood
and filled them with beer. Every second year half of the content was bottled
and consumed and the barrel was filled up with new beer.

Many ironworks closed by the time and the barrels disappeared one by one.
In the middle of the 1960-ies at least seven barrels was kept in a brewery
in Uppsala, a city on the county that had most of the wallonian ironworks.

But there is at least one barrel still in use (!).

This barrel is private and is now owned by the Hultén-family. It has been
continuously in use in this family since 1860 and the fist brew in the
barrel was made 1806 probably by Jean Le Febure, owner of the ironworks Gimo
and Rånäs.

Here is a description of the beer from the Hulténs:

It has the colour of a Maderia wine and the taste is sourish. The new beer
is brewed with wienermalt, OG 1055-1060, FG 1012

I have met one of the Hulténs last year at a homebrew competition that was
held in the “orangerie” on the manor of Leufstabruk, one of the former
ironworks. But I did not have the opportunity to taste the beer, it is kept
in the family.


Björn Petersson


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