Hanssens Artisanaal is the oldest independent geuze blender in the whole world. At Hanssens, no beer is actually brewed! Instead, they pursue a profession that was very important in the history of lambic style beers, they are solely blenders of beer.
Lambic beers are famous for being “wild fermented”. Instead of adding a special yeast strain to cause fermentation, some brewers in the Senne river valley leave the warm, sweet, unfermented beer (called wort) open to the elements. Wild strains of yeast and other microorganisms will then seed the liquid. Normally when brewing beer, a brewers yeast will be used to turn sugar into alcohol and certain flavor elements of the beer. In these wild beers, yeast and others will turn sugar into alcohol, acid, and a huge variety of flavor chemicals.
Since each batch is different, the beer has to be blended with multiple batches to create a consistent product. Most lambics are created from a mixture of aged sour beer and young, sweeter beer. They are then barrel aged to combine the flavors.
Hanssens takes this a step further, and actually blends batches from different breweries in their area. This used to be a very common practice, but Hanssens is now the oldest remaining blender. They bring to this endeavor a variety of barrels, some up to one hundred years old, and a passion and a love for the tradition of Geuze and Lambics. They will also add whole fruits to some of their beers, to make even more flavorful blends.
Hanssens Bartholomeus, former major of Dworp, started to brew lambic in 1871, in the previous Sint-Antonius brewery. Documents have proven that he continued to brew, from 1896 onwards, in buildings located in the Vroenenbosstraat, Dworp. These premises are still used.