Brewer- owner Luc Vermeersch is fascinated by old handicrafts. It can therefore not come as a surprise that he installed a bread oven and a small brewery in his garden house. He purchased the 30-litre microbrewery in 1997 in Finland. The manufacturer gave him a training course of exactly one weekend. Thanks to much self-study and by making numerous small test batches, both his knowledge of, and his interest for brewing, grew. After 10 years’ brewing experience he enlisted for a brewery course. During his tuition year, he forged plans for a larger brewery and he started purchasing parts of the installation in various places. In April 2008 Brewery De Leite was a fact.
Brewery De Leite
The first brewery installation was installed even before the hobby brewer finished his course. It was established in the buildings of Helbig of which the brewer was manager. The brewery had at that moment a capacity of 500 litres per batch. It availed of a brewing kettle of 800 litres, a warm water tank and a yeasting and maturing tank of 650 litres. Each brewing day saw two brewing sessions, and this was repeated once or twice per month over a period of three years. Because the demand for the beers kept going up, the brewery was extended in December 2011.
New tanks were delivered in February 2011:
- a boiling kettle of 6000 litres,
- a filtration tank of 9800 litres,
- a whirlpool,
- a water buffer tank and some yeasting and maturing tanks varying from 4000 to 10,000 litres.
During the subsequent years, the installation was further improved and expanded:
- all tanks were connected by permanent stainless-steel pipes
- a new mash/boiling kettle of 11,000 litres was installed
- part of the brewing process was automated, meaning that the mashing became fully automated
- new cylindric-conical yeasting tanks of 8000 litres were installed
The Bottling Line
In 2018 a new bottling line ensured that the beer could now be bottled in situ. Previously, the beer was transported in tanks to an external brewery for bottling. Both the 33cl bottles and the larger champagne-sized bottles of 75cl can be filled at a ratio of respectively 5000 and 2500 bottles per hour.
In 2011 the brewer saw another dream fulfilled. He brought with him 14 ‘barieken’ (wooden wine barrels of 220L) from befriended vintners in the Medoc area (France). His love for sour beers could finally be translated in his own brewery into a series of ‘cuvée beers’. Meanwhile, already105 ‘barieken’ are installed in the brewery, together with eight wooden barrels varying between 4000 to 5000 litres.