Why a Brewery Spraying Beer on Its Walls Isn’t as Ridiculous as It Sounds

By Mike Pomranz |
FWX EXPLODED BEER

© RubberBall / Alamy

A Belgian brewery recently posted on Facebook that they were spraying their walls with beer. But this isn’t some wild frat party or ridiculous parlor trick; there’s a method to their madness.

We tend to think of breweries as sterile places full of meticulously cleaned metal brewing equipment, but this is not the case with the world-renowned Cantillon in Belgium. Anyone I’ve ever spoken with who’s had the pleasure of visiting has remarked on the same thing: Brasserie Cantillon is comparatively messy.

But there’s a reason Cantillon keeps things a bit unkempt. The brewery is known for making some of the world’s best lambics—a style of sour beer. Cantillon’s specific process involves spontaneous open fermentation, which means instead of “pitching” a specific type of yeast into the mash, the brewers let it start fermenting naturally from the yeasts that happen to be hanging out around the brewery.

The brewery allows the specific yeasts found in their building to ferment their beers in similar ways through the ages (Cantillon was founded in 1900), resulting in the consistent, aforementioned world-renowned product.

But here is the rub: Cantillon has become so popular they’ve decided they need to expand (and with good reason—their beers have become notoriously difficult to find, which is a damn shame because they truly are as good and unique as advertised). The brewery announced last August they’d be taking over a nearby building, allowing them to double production.

Though it appears the new property will mostly be used for storage, they’ve decided it still needs to be overrun with those heralded Cantillon yeast. Thus, as they stated in their Facebook post: “Walls and roof sprayed with lambic. When a lambic brewer invested in a new building, he ‘washed’ the place with his beer to recreate the same environment as the original building. We are doing the same here to recreate a ‘Cantillon microclimate’ in our new location.” Yes, that means they are spraying down the entire place with beer.

It seems like at least this particular strain of yeast has been able to trick the humans it masters to help it expand on its way to world domination. Hopefully, its next stop will be on more store shelves in America.

[h/t First We Feast]

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