Waterloo Is Not A Mournful Beer
The Waterloo brewery is certainly much older than the battle associated with the name. It was founded in the Middle Ages, in 1456 to be precise, in Braine L’Alleud and called Brasserie du Marché. There were no fewer than two hundred breweries in the region (with a very local production, sometimes even only for the family), which resulted in very tough competition.
Benefiting from a double fermentation beer and reputed for its pure water, the quality of its malt and the mild hops used, the brown beer of Waterloo was widely recognised as an invigorating tonic, restoring the health of convalescent patients and inspiring bravery in soldiers.
So it will come as no surprise that the Duke of Wellington established his quarters near the brewery on the eve of this famous battle, allowing his men to partake generously of the double brown beer, which would give them strength and courage for the terrible battle that awaited them in the morning. Following the victory on 18 June 1815, the legend of Waterloo was born.
As an aside, in many people’s minds including that of the owner of the Marché brewery, Waterloo would always be associated with the image of Napoleon, who may not have won the battle but went on to become a mythical figure. That’s why in 1965, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the battle, he launched a “Napoleon” beer instead of a “Wellington” beer.
The old brewery closed in 1971, but was acquired by enthusiastic investors in the early twenty-first century who relaunched the Marché brewery’s old beers: Waterloo brown, of course, but also Waterloo blonde.
Recently Waterloo was included in the prestigious selection of Finest Beers, after the brand was acquired by the John Martin Group. The Group intends to preserve this flagship beer which contributed to the reputation of Brabant as a beer-making province while promoting the art of regional microbreweries. In this way, the Group will highlight the beer’s originality and artisanal qualities and also guarantee the continuity and the growing brand awareness among connoisseurs of fine exclusive beers.
A decisive battle
The Battle of Waterloo entered the annals of history as the most terrible and above all the most decisive battle which effectively ended the Napoleonic era.
Next year, everyone will remember 18 June 1815 as we celebrate the bicentenary of this symbolic and bloody confrontation, during which 38,000 men were killed in the vast plains around the village of Waterloo.
In reality however the battle took place on a much wider scale than the municipality around Mont-Saint Jean, with fighting in Wavre, Genappe, Braine l’Alleud and even along the axis between Brussels and Charleroi. More than 130,000 soldiers battled for almost three days in the vast (and muddy) plains of Brabant.
Today this chapter in history is mainly associated with the town of Waterloo and its famous Lion’s Mound, which commemorates the victory of the British (albeit helped by the Germans, Dutch, Spanish and others) over the Little Corporal, before whom Europe had trembled. This event permanently changed the continent’s map and more specifically the geography of our little country, which passed into Dutch hands after the Congress of Vienna until the Belgian Revolution of 1830. “Belgian” beer flourished in the wake of the country’s independence. The Waterloo range, the victory of taste The micro-brewery is renowned for its expertise and its range of products, which is deliberately artisanal in terms of the production.
Waterloo Triple 7 Blonde, a triple fermentation beer: Its flavour surprises with its hint of bitterness and soft mouth feel, despite its 7.5 alcohol content. This beer hides its robust and lively character under a slightly fruity flavour, pleasing fine head and full-bodied taste. It is also a great accompaniment to a main course, pairing particularly well with red meat for example. Waterloo Double 8 Dark, a double fermentation beer: This beer is fuller-bodied than its blonde sister and has rich, spicy aromas combined with a strong, slightly caramelised taste, thanks to the roasted malts. It has a pretty dark colour and a foamy, dense head. This robust beer is perfect for celebrating moments of victory. It goes almost without saying that it works wonderfully well with cheese (especially soft cheeses) but it is also marvellous with sushi.