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Des de Moor
Best beer and travel writing award 2015, 2011 -- British Guild of Beer Writers Awards
Accredited Beer Sommelier
Writer of "Probably the best book about beer in London" - Londonist
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Des de Moor


Bocq St Feuillien Brune

Beer sellers:

ABV: 7.5%
Origin: Purnode, Hainaut, Wallonie,

Feuillien or Foillan was an Irish evangelist who, like numerous others, took up the viable 7th century lifestyle choice of wandering Europe preaching and setting up monasteries. Shortly after founding one at Fosse-la-Ville near Nivelles he was murdered by bandits — allegedly his decapitated head continued to preach after it had been flung into a pigsty. The Catholic Encyclopaedia says he died in the Zoniënwoud, the Forest of Soignes southeast of Brussels, but another claimed scene of the crime is Le Rœulx in the province of Hainuat. A Premonstatrensian abbey was founded in his name here in 1125, which quite likely brewed beer; it later succumbed to dissolution following the French revolution.

In 1873 the Friart family established a brewery in the town which through the 20th century developed a lucrative sideline in drinks distribution, so much so that in 1977 it pulled out of brewing altogether, commissioning its brands elsewhere. The mash tuns were stoked again by a new generation of Friarts in 1988 — the aim to bring all brewing back in house has not yet been achieved and some beers are still farmed out. When the Friarts moved into the abbey beer market, they naturally enough took the name of St Feuillien, and these brands have since become so prominent they renamed the both brewery and warehouse after them.

The brune is currently still one of those contract brews, emerging from du Bocq of Purnode, Namur, which brews for Corsendonk and others as well as making its own strong ales under the Gauloise brand. But despite its mixed origins it’s one of the better Belgian abbey browns. It’s a dark amber beer with a ruby tinge and a loose white head. A rich aroma has old books, yeast and chocolate, while a rich, sweetly fruity and malty palate yields mandarin, herbal angelica, glacé cherry and vermouth, drying into a rounded but firm, long and layered finish with plenty of fruit, some burnt roasty notes, dates, bonfire ash, a waft of hops and a sprinkling of salt.

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