In the Flemish Ardennes, a hilly region in the Belgian province of East Flanders, you will find Brouwerij De Ryck. The brewery was founded by Gustave De Ryck in 1886 on a farm just across the church of Herzele. Gustave learned the craft of brewing in Bremen at ‘the Goldener Adler’ brewery, German for ‘the golden eagle’. As a tribute, he named his brewery ‘De Gouden Arend’, the Dutch translation for golden eagle. To honor the founder a new beer ‘Gouden Arend‘ was launched in september 2011, celebrating the 125th anniversary of the brewery.
During the First World War the army took possession of the kettles and the family was forced to stop all brewing activities. In 1920 the brewery reopened under the name ‘Brouwerij De Ryck’. They also introduced a new beer ‘Special De Ryck’, an important example of the Special Belge beer style. In the beginning of the nineteenth century, Belgian beer was faced with severe competition of British, German and Czech beers. To promote authentic Belgian beer, The Union of the Belgian Brewers launched a contest resulting in the new beer style ‘Special Belge’.
Today, the brewery is run by An de Ryck, the fourth generation of the family and the first female brewing engineer in Belgium. Her son Bram and daughter Miek are her faithful co-workers. Together they brew with strong respect for the family heritage and the local community. Their beer Steenuilke for example, was originally brewed to raise awareness for the little rock owl (steenuil). The owl is an endangered species, native to the region. To match the local theme, three herbs that grow the Flemish Ardennes are used: angelica root, woodruff, and blackthorn flowers.