Podcast Episode 229: Xavier Ballieux of Au Baron carries on the family tradition of brewing on the farm

This is a remarkable location for a brewery – the site of an old mill on a meandering stream, with the village church towering overhead. Behind the Brasserie Au Baron in Gussignies, you can literally throw a stone and knock Belgium into the neighbour’s front yard. Yet it is officially a French brewery, even though its influences are many – the traditions of Hainaut saison and French lager beer mingle with beers such as Cuvée des Jonquilles and Saint-Médard. , drawing on a distinctive ancestral yeast strain and locally grown ingredients. .

The brewing runs in the Ballieux family; while Xavier Ballieux represents the second generation to run Brasserie Au Baron, his grandfather Roger brewed in Belgium, France and the Congo, moving from brewery to brewery as the industry consolidated in the 20th century. closed one after another. In his last years, he advised his son Alain for the creation of a brasserie in the family restaurant of Gussignies. Their idea was to brew beers like those farmhouse beers Roger remembered from his youth in Hainaut.

In this episode of the podcast, recorded at the Gussignies brewery, Xavier Ballieux shares the story of their family business and their approach to brewing rustic beers. Among other topics, he also discusses the character and temperamental nature of their homemade yeast culture, which originally came from his grandfather; his own point of view on the difference between saison and lager; the use of elderberries in the darker version of Saison Saint-Médard; and much more.

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