Brasserie St. Feuillien pronounced “Foo-Yen”, located in Le Roeulx, Belgium, has a history as interesting as its name. The Belgian abbey brewery had its start in the 7th century when an Irish monk named Foylan, which later morphed into the more French “Feuillien,” was killed in the Belgian village of Le Roeulx. A chapel was built to honor his memory.
Eventually that chapel became the Abbey St. Feuillien du Roeulx, which opened a small brewhouse that made beer to support itself. Sadly, the original Abbey St. Feuillien du Roeulx was destroyed by soldiers, like many religious establishments, in the upheaval during the French Revolution.
In 1873, the Friart family resurrected the brewery by rebuilding and re-opening the abbey as Brasserie St. Feuillien. Today it is one of the most revered Belgian abbey breweries in the world.
St. Feuillien is helmed by the fifth generation of the Friart family who continue to brew a range of beers, demonstrating a determination to stay rooted in the region’s history and keep this local tradition very much alive. At the same time, St. Feuillien continues to invest in its equipment and facilities, allowing its brewers to channel their passion and brewing knowledge into creating new offerings, such as quality gluten-free beer.
Like any great Belgian brewery, its beer and tradition are what truly set it apart. Notable beers include its famed golden blonde ale St. Feuillien Saison, the rich and complex St. Feuillien Tripel, and with an unforgettable character the extra-blond amber St. Feuillien Grand Cru. Below is the brewery’s core lineup that is available in the United States.
St. Feuillien Grisette Blanche – 5.5% ABV – Witbier
A recent innovation of St. Feuillien’s is this refreshing summer sipper: Grisette Blanche belongs to the rich family of Belgian White beer. With a light character and a gentle flavor and aroma, this beer makes for a very refreshing summer beverage. Year-round, this brew is a full-bodied, savory beer offering lots of complex and contrasting flavors and aromas.
St. Feuillien Saison – 6.5% ABV – Saison
A classic example of the Belgian Saison style, this St. Feuillien is brewed to perfection and undergoes a secondary fermentation in the can. As the only Belgium-brewed Saison available in a can, St. Feuillien Saison is what Belgians call a beer of the terroir, or a traditional farmhouse ale with all the rich savor of the fertile land of southern Belgium.
Full of unmistakable flavors, rich nuances and subtle tang, St. Feuillien Saison is a top-fermented classic.
St. Feuillien Tripel – 8.5% ABV – Belgian Tripel
One of the most well-known St. Feuillien brews is the brewery’s Belgian Tripel. A sparkling orange-gold color capped by a brilliant white foam stand greets drinkers when they pour St. Feuillien Tripel. Highly aromatic with vivid hop resins leaping out of the glass, the beer’s flavor follows suit with bright, malty, spicy and hoppy elements making themselves apparent throughout each sip. A generous amount of carbonation makes for a full mouthfeel beneath mountains of pillowy foam.
According to St. Feuillien, “Tripel is best enjoyed with salads and seafood or as a foil for rich, buttery or creamy dishes. Truly one of Belgium’s great Tripels and a beer that is not to be missed!”
St. Feuillien Grand Cru – 9.5% ABV – Belgian Golden Strong Ale
A fairly recent creation from the St. Feuillien brewing team, St. Feuillien Grand Cru features a full, dense, white head of foam that’s both lacy and beautiful. Stunningly bright and appetizingly pale golden, Grand Cru has a delicate nose full of subtle hops and fruit with a backdrop of malt and honey. Grand Cru is very dry on the palate, firm in body and well-attenuated with a pleasant fruity bitterness and a wonderful toasted malt character.
With an aroma featuring cascading hop elements followed by minor hints of fruitiness, St. Feuillien Grand Cru is a modern take on St. Feuillien’s historic brewing traditions.
Visiting the Brewery
Brasserie St. Feuillien is one of the most historic and interesting abbey breweries in Belgium. It is a destination for any beer enthusiast traveling to the area. While the brewery can be visited year-round through appointment, it is also open for walk-in tours Saturdays at 2 p.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m.
The picturesque town of Le Roeulx, with a population of 7,977, is also home to the St. Feuillien Guild. The Guild serves as a foundation for continuing the brewery’s unique traditions within the town of Le Roeulx.
“All members are connected to the town of Le Roeulx, all wish to help develop the bonds of friendship between the people of Le Roeulx, all are protectors of the town’s venerable traditions, all are champions of the beers of St. Feuillien Abbey both inside and outside the walls of Le Roeulx,” says the Guild.
Planning a trip to the brewery to try and coincide with an event hosted by the St. Feuillien Guild would make for an unforgettable occasion.
Brasserie St. Feuillien
Rue d’Houdeng 20
7070 Le Roeulx, Belgium
+32 (0)498 86 41 82