Lost in Translation

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Published in Brewer & Distiller International, 1 December 2022

This article explores Oud Bruin’s slide from pub staple to niche curiosity.

It can be hard to tell, as the Eurostar whisks you from Lille to Brussels, exactly when you pass over from France to Belgium. The landscape doesn’t change. The towns don’t change. You know there’s a border clearly marked on maps, but when you look out of the window it’s all just countryside.

It’s October 2022 and I’m en route to Kortrijk – or Courtrai, if you prefer – on a journey long delayed by the pandemic. The first ever Oud Bruin festival, devised and hosted by Brouwerij ‘t Verzet, is finally going ahead and I aim to explore the style in closer detail.

It’s not a beer you see much in the UK. I have an idea of what I’m in for: beers that are darkish, tart and tannic. My understanding grows fuzzy around the edges though. Why are some called red and some brown? Is there really a difference?

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