Origins dating as far as 1240
The story of beer begins in the Middle Ages at the time when monasteries and abbeys had a monopoly on brewing beer. The first written record of brewing technology was the work of Father Ekkehard, friar of the Sankt Gallen monastery in Switzerland. Not only was beer safer to drink than water, but the rich abbey beer was also a form of highly nutritious ‘liquid bread.’
Despite the revolutions over many years, the monasteries continued their traditional role as food repositories. Wine, beer and cheese therefore have sacred origins. One of the best known Belgian abbey beers is Leffe, which is brewed according to the traditional recipes of the monks of the Abbey of Leffe. The symbol of Leffe is the picturesque tower of the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Leffe in Dinant, Belgium, where the beers found their origins dating back as far as 1240.
In parallel, brewing activities outside the monastery walls developed from the twelfth century on. No country developed as many different beer types as Belgium during this time period.
Stella Artois, for example, has roots that go back to 1336 (the year which can be seen in the logo), and to the Den Hoorn brewery in Leuven. It was originally launched as a Christmas beer under the name ‘Stella’ (Latin for ‘star’).