Beer & science

Leuven has a very rich beer history. The first Stella Artois was brewed here in 1926. But Leuven also has a rich beer future. The university investigates new brewing processes and breweries test innovative techniques and flavours.
By
Rebecca Rose Poulsen
4 April 2022

Aside from brewing and enjoying beer, Leuven plays a big role in science and finding innovative techniques and flavours. KU Leuven does extensive research into the beverage at its unique research centre, the Leuven Institute for Beer Research.

Just outside Leuven city, in De Kroon Brewery’s high-tech beer lab in Neerijse, you also see bowls of beer among the microscopes and Petri dishes. Professor Freddy Delvaux is a doctor of agricultural and applied biological sciences and the ultimate flavour and beer expert in Belgium. Together with his son, they’re breathing new life into the old De Kroon Brewery.

Once again, the brewing and tasting is proceeding apace, as is the scientific research. They developed a genetically modified super-yeast that gives the beer a more or less fruity taste. Or a blonde beer with the taste of a dark beer. Professor Freddy Delvaux approaches beer scientifically, with surprising results. Professor Delvaux’s lab carries out quality assurance and product development for about 20 of Belgium’s biggest breweries.

No doubt about it: beer and science are more than ever a perfect combination in Leuven. Especially during the Leuven Innovation Beer Festival. Created in 2015, the festival is a showcase platform for craft brewers from all over the world. This very special beer festival honours the centuries-old beer tradition while highlighting innovation. Here, craft brewers demonstrate their innovative approach and let you sample their beers. Their innovations are very diverse, ranging from the ingredients, the brewing techniques and production methods, the way they generate energy, their packaging, and even the origin of the recipe.

Leuven Innovation Beer Festival is the ideal event for tasting beer novelties or unknown styles. Connoisseurs and beer lovers can discover international, innovative and special beers, that truly reflect Leuven’s DNA, city of innovation.