Brugse Zot

Brugse Zot is the only beer to be brewed in the medieval town of Bruges in Flanders,Belgium.

For many centuries, the people of Bruges have been known to their Flemish neighbours, as “Bruges Fools”. How did they get this name? A couple explanations run around today. The most prevalent is that Emperor Maximilian of Austria, who had acquired Flanders through his marriage to Mary of Burgundy, was staying in Bruges at the end of the 15th century to watch the famous yearly Holy Blood Procession. The day after, the citizens of Bruges asked him to sponsor the creation of a ‘fools house’, an institution for mental illness. The emperor responded’ “Just close the city gates. Bruges is one big fools’ house!” During the procession the day before, he had seen the burghers of Bruges jumping and fooling around. The procession is a lot of fun, and the most festive day of Bruges.

Indeed, there was certainly a lot of ale drinking during the procession, and all participants dressed up in all kind of costumes, picturing scenes from the Holy Bible and from daily life. To this very day, this procession is quite a spectacle! What’s more, each of the Trade Guilds in those days had their own Joker, whose task it was to bring the funny note into their meetings, and to make the people laugh during their public outings. Each guild competed to have the most funny guy in their midst. So there you have a second explanation for the Bruges nickname, “Brugse Zot”.

The institute for people with mental illnesses was eventually created in the early 16th century. An exceptional link with the ‘Halve Maan’ brewery is the fact that Cannon Maes, head of the Mental Illness institute in 1856, gave money to Leon Maes to install a new brewery at the premises. This is the year when the Maes Family took over the brewery. Thus, the first big customer of the brewery was the mental institution. Indeed, even today, hospitals still serve beer to their patients in Belgium.

Pale blond ale, crowned with a white head, blooms with a fruity pronounced aroma, hints of lemon, and hits the palate with a refreshing dryness, embellished by hints of spices and orange, balanced by an underlying faint malty sweetness. This is one of the lighter Pale golden ales with an alcohol content of 6 %, brewed by the renowned HalveMaan Brewery The beer finishes with a short, fruity taste that somewhat sticks to the palate.

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