Tasting Notes From the Brewery:
A wonderful return to nature, with its flavour of yesteryear, this is a beer that was drawn from the wooden metal-circled barrels to fill so many mugs in our Flanders bars! Its bitterness comes from our hop fields scattered throughout the region. Brewed by infusions, it is an old-fashioned rising beer made with strong and hearty Flemish hops. Fermented using top yeasts, like the barrel brewers of yore and clamped like bonderised barrels.
According to the archives in the Mairie of St Sylvestre Cappel, a brewery existed in the village before the Revolution. The precise date of its foundation is unknown. The hillside location was determinated by the presence of numerous freshwater springs. During the 1860s Louis DevriÃ¨re acquired it from the Cordonnier family. His only daughter married Emile Dehaene (1864 â€“ 1915) who took over the business. In 1904 his son Louis, fresh out of the Ecole des Industries Agricoles de Douai, gave a new impetus to the brewery.
In 1920 Marcel Bacquart sold the brewery to his nephew RÃ©my Ricour for the then sum of 400 000 francs, having taught him the business and above all the expectise necessary for the creation of fine beer. Scientific knowledge is important nowadays, but it is experience and acute observation that are the hallmarks of a good brewer.
In September 1939 RÃ©my Ricour, the grandfather of the present owners was again called up, along with fivz of the thriteen employees of the brewery. His son Pierre, then 16, replaced his fatherand worked alongsidethe remaining staff, learning every aspect of the business. After the war the brewery, still called â€œBrasserie Ricour Savageâ€, propered while many local Flemish brewers were closing down in the face of competition from the big brewers like â€œMotte Cordonnierâ€, â€œBreuvartâ€, â€œLa grande brasserieâ€, â€œMasse Meurisseâ€â€¦
In 1947, Pierre Ricour decided of his own free will to attend the â€œEcole de Brasserie de Nancyâ€, and returned a year later full of new ideas.
In 1954 he took over the running of the brewery and began to put into effect his most cherished projects. These included :
- A new brewing hall, much of which is still in use,
- Top fermentation was abandoned in favour of bottom fermentation,
- The wooden barrel gave way to the mechanised bottling plant.
The brewery grew in the years from 1966 to 1980. Many wholesalers were former brewers ; they made their purchases at the brewery for resale direct to the consumer, this being the only method of sale used in the north of France.
In 1983 his sons FranÃ§ois and Serge, after attending brewing school, became budding brewers. With three brewers in the family, conversation now became relentless : we must rediscover traditional beers, distinguish between beers from Lille, Alsace and abroad. We must go beyond les trois monts. As a trial, 8000 litres of high-fermentation beer were produced and sold under the name â€œBiÃ¨re de Marsâ€ ; the success exceeded all expectations.