BRUGES - Although Fort Lapin has been on the market since last year, and Bruges’ second working brewery is now operating under the same name, the BeerTourism.com team has not yet had the opportunity to take a closer look at this relative newcomer to the Belgian beer scene, let alone taste it. Having looked into the background of this relatively new blond beer, we were keen to get going and do what we love to do, tasting...
The name Fort Lapin (in full: Fort Lapin Triple 8) makes a fairly straightforward reference to an old fort that used to be located in the eponymous quarter in the City of Bruges. The military building has long since disappeared, but the quarter, and hence the new brewery, still bears its name. Fort Lapin itself dates back to 1664, which makes it far older than the nearby Fort Beieren, which has therefore been preserved much better.
Fort Lapin is brewed by young Bruges entrepreneur Kristof Vandenbussche. Kristof had been brewing as a hobby for ten years before taking the final step from beer lover to professional, although he is running the brewery alongside his other business, which sells and maintains freezing solutions and cold storage. Before Kristof set up his own brewery, the production of Fort Lapin was in the capable hands of the de Graal brewery in the Flemish Ardennes.
Why choose a name such as Fort Lapin? The beer originates from nearby Jabbeke, which offers scant explanation as to why the name is French and does not appear to be from Bruges or West Flanders. Kristof explains that the answer to this is very simple. Everyone recommended the name as the most logical choice for his beer project and, the brewer being modest, allegedly did not find himself in a position to contradict this opinion.
Production started with four 1000-litre tanks plus a 500-litre mashing tun, aiming for an initial production of 500 hectolitres per year. Exceeding his own healthy ambitions, Kristof is keen to manage the entire production in-house. In the meantime, a Fort Lapin Quadruple 10 has been announced and, if the announcement on the Fort Lapin website is anything to go by, the beer is maturing as we speak.
Kristof is anything but a beer geek. He is not interested in tasting every beer around and even less interested in judging or ranking them. He is far more interested in creating tasty and accessible beers. We can certainly describe his first brew as tasty and well-balanced. It has a rich malty aroma with a fruity character, a full, slightly bitter taste with a hint of sweetness.
Enjoy the beer with whatever suits you best, but we recommend a combination with shrimp (prawn) croquettes, or just freshly peeled grey prawns, as a snack without the croquette. The beer is also perfect in combination with a steaming dish of mussels au naturel, with fries of course. We really like this beer and, as far as we are concerned, we cannot wait until the Fort Lapin Quadruple 10 is approved for our (and everyone’s) consumption.