The Key to Heaven
The third day of our trip landed us in Kortrijk, a town rich in medieval Flanders history. Kortrijk is home to Brouwerij Bavik, the 3rd largest brewery in Belgium. Like so many Belgian breweries, Bavik has strong family roots; they are preparing for the 4th generation to take over and have been in the brewing business for 115 years.
After touring the stunning town of Kortrijk, we headed to Bavik, where their brew master was to be the leader of our tour of the historic brewery. During the visit, he filled us in on every last detail pertaining to the brewery, like the fact Bavik uses three different yeast strains, a bottom and top fermenting strain, as well as a strain for bottle conditioning. He also told us of some of his duties as brew master, letting us know that is was his duty to try ten beers a day for quality control issues. We have plenty of information pertaining to the brewery, so feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about Bavik. Now on to the beer!
The Best Seller
Bavik Pils is not only Baviks best selling beer, but one of the best selling pilsners in Belgium. We had the opportunity to try an unfiltered version of Bavik Pils that the brew master drained straight from one of the giant stainless steel maturing tanks that the lager resides in. Most agreed that the unfiltered and cloudy Pilsner was superior to its filtered and clear counterpart, so of course we had to question the filtering process. The brew master let us know that the consumer for the most part is unwilling to drink cloudy and unfiltered beers, kind of like judging a book by its cover. Nonetheless, the filtered version of Bavik Pilsner is a dandy, and is going to hit Binnys in 12 packs very soon. Bavik Pilsner will compete flavor and price wise with the other great pilsners we carry.
The Wood Barrels
In the latter paragraph the stainless steel maturing vessels were mentioned, but these only pertain to the bottom fermenting beers, which pretty much consists of only Bavik Pilsner. One thing that makes Bavik stand out among the slew of Belgian breweries is their use of fifteen massive wooden barrels to age their top fermenting beers in, most notably the Petrus line of beers. Compared to their stainless steel counterparts, the wooden barrels cost five times more in initial cost and output. But the flavor of the beer that comes out of these giants more than makes up for the money. Petrus Aged Pale, which ages for two years in the micro organism infected barrels before being bottled, is one of the most unique and flavorsome beers in the world. We had the honor of tasting Aged Pale directly from the cask, and it was quite possibly the finest thing to ever hit our lips. Perhaps some of it was the mystique of being in the room with the famous wooden barrels (some of us even felt the need to hug or kiss the barrels), but the beer speaks for itself, and Petrus Aged Pale is one of the finest sour beers out there. This beer was previously only available in 11.2oz bottles, but the 750ml bottles are due to hit our shelves very soon.
The Best of the Rest
Bavik also produces Witterkerke, a delicious Witbier that comes in cans. It is the perfect golf course beer, claimed a member of our group, and we couldnt have agreed more. There are six additional beers in the Petrus line besides the Aged Pale, which will all be available in a holiday mixed pack, making this the best way to experience the Petrus line. We know they will be hitting our shelves soon, as we saw a few palates of them in Baviks warehouse. The Petrus beers all carry the slogan The Key to Heaven. If you are serious about Belgian beer, you just may find this to be true.