Moon Gazer, along with 3 other  Norfolk breweries have visited Leuven, in Belgium as part of an initiative to create closer links between the two great brewing regions.

The initiative – a long held ambition and vision of renowned beer writer Roger Protz – saw brewers from Norfolk twin with brewers from the Flanders region of Belgium and start to plan unique collaboration brews which will be created in time to launch at the City of Ale Festival in May 2023.

The vision of Roger was driven by the great brewing traditions of the two regions – although the links between Norwich and Flanders go beyond that and date back to the 16th century when residents of Flanders fled persecution and flooding to arrive in Norwich. The ‘Strangers’ as they became known, brought with them skills and knowledge, particularly in weaving and, over time helped to shape, transform and bring prosperity to Norwich and Norfolk.

The City of Ale initiative will seek to renew that success but through beer.

To me It seems as relevant today as it was in the time of the Strangers  that the sharing of skills, knowledge and creating friendships across borders can be so powerful.

Norfolk is a world renowned barley growing and brewing region and the similarities between the two regions brewing heritage makes it such a natural fit to start creating exciting new collaborations and brews.

The project will see these fellow  Norfolk brewers twin with their Belgian counterparts.

Tindall Ales, from Seething will team up with Hof Ten Doormal – a true farm brewery, brewing only with what they can grow on their land and even malting their own barley. Poppyland brewery, from Cromer, will pair up with De Coureur – an exciting new brewery and tap room in a suburb of Leuven.  They hope in some way to reflect the link of poppies across the 2 regions.

Blending tradition with contemporary a modern Abbey brewery; Braxatorium Parcensis, has been built in the original building which housed the brewery hundreds of years ago and was brewing at the time of the Strangers. Grain brewery, of Alburgh will join with them to explore exciting and unusual techniques of using grain to create beers – taking lost knowledge from centuries past and applying some modern thinking and problem solving.

Completing the line-up is us and Team Moon Gazer has teamed up with Den Adept to embrace the unusual process of ‘raw’ brewing which unusually doesn’t involve boiling of the beer.

As a group we want to create 4 amazing beers, but we also want to use the opportunity to push the boundaries a bit. It’s not just about recipe collaboration, it’s about exploring and combining blending, processes, cultures and science.

Of course, ultimately it’s about great beer, fun and company, so we look forward to raising a glass to new Leuven friends and a new twinning in May.

The trip was supported by Visit Flanders who will also host events during the festival so that visitors from Belgium can come and discover the historic links and the story of the Strangers.

Tickets for the City of Ale launch party can be purchased via the UEA Box Office.