The Oostvleteren Ostrich and Old Monk's Ale


De Struise Brouwers is located in Oostvleteren in West Flanders and takes its name from the old Flemish word for ostrich. The pseudo coat of arms of the brewery takes it a step further and features a proud ostrich standing on one leg. Not the bird one would immediately connect with beer or West Flanders. Unless, of course, you know the story behind the brewery.

In 2001 the owners of an ostrich farm in Lo-Reninge with an interest in beer making decided to start offering their holiday guests distinctive regional beers. The idea developed into a commercial prosition and in 2003 first the Caulier brewery and then the Deca family brewry started production for Struise. In 2008 the company established its own microbrewery in an old school building in Oostvleteren, where all their beers are available on draught.

Pannepeut Old Monk’s Ale is the brewery’s best selling and most popular product. The name Pannepeut refers to the traditional style of fishing boat in the De Panne area, featured on the label.

Struise is also a contemporary slang term meaning “tough”. This beer, with its 10% alc. Vol. is certainly a tough bird. It pours with a thin beige head on top of a rich dark brown with reddish hues. The aroma is malt and molasses as is the taste which is complimented by figs and dried fruit followed by a somewhat medicinal feel which gives way to a long lasting spicey tobacco follow through.

Perhaps too tough for many but it certainly grows on you. Save the price of a cigar, sit back and enjoy the feeling.