An Interview with Marc Lemay of Brasserie Dubuisson, Belgium
By Jim Clarke

Jim Clarke: Does beer in Belgium play a role in meals similar to wine?

Marc Lemay: Absolutely Yes! The beer brings its own particularities. With Bush beers, dishes can have a light and subtle taste, despite the strong personality of the beers. In fact, the bittersweet character brings out strong savory tones. With natural beers like ours, the flavor of meats does not change, unlike what happens with some other beers and red wine. The high alcohol content releases aromas which add the pleasure of smell to that of taste.

JC: Do you have some food recommendations to go with your various beers?

ML: Beer is actually used in or with most of typically Belgian dishes like mussels, game, and rabbit, as well as with soups and desserts. With the help of a chef, we have even developed a few recipes using our Bush beers. Our beers aid digestion because of their long fermentation process, so they can be drank before, during, or after a meal. With its bittersweet taste, Bush Amber goes very well with chocolate desserts or sabayon. Bush Blond is wonderful as an aperitif with cheese.

JC: Does your brewery welcome visitors?

ML: Yes. Last May 1st, we opened our new Visitor Center and now offer a few different tours. During the tours visitors have the opportunity to taste a new and very special beer produced by Dubuisson Brewery: “ Bush Prestige”. This beer is the result of a traditional, 6 month-long maturing process in oak barrels after the main fermentation. During that time, the wood tannins form heady aromas in perfect harmony with the natural beer aromas. Once the beer is bottled, it referments again for up 3 weeks. This triple fermentation process (the main fermentation followed by that in the barrels and then in the bottles) enables the beer to reach a fairly high 13% alcohol content level. Brewed in limited quantity, Bush Prestige is truly a unique hearty beer with its rich aromas and stylish bottle.

JC: In the 90s, after years producing a single brew, you decided to introduce three new beers; what motivated you to expand you portfolio?

ML: Bush Amber (Scaldis in the United States) was created in 1933 by Alfred Dubuisson, grandfather of the current brewer and manager, Hugues Dubuisson. At that time, Brewery Dubuisson brewed different beers as local production. Due to the success of Bush Amber the managers decided to stop producing other beers and to dedicate all their time to Bush Amber.

In 1990, a new generation, Hugues and Vincent Dubuisson, became the new managers and thought that counting on a single product was risky for future. They first launched the Bush de Noël (Scaldis de Noël in US) in 1991 in response to those looking for a hearty beer for the year-end festivities. In 1994, the Bush 7 (Clovis) was created in order to offer a less strong beer (7% alc.vol), but it is no longer produced. Then in 1998, Bush Blond (10.5%) was created to satisfy the golden ale lovers. In 2000 the Brewery Dubuisson opened its first brewpub in a student town called Louvain-la-Neuve and for that occasion created the “Cuvée des Trolls,” a blond beer with 7% alc.vol brewed exclusively with malt, hop, natural sugar and water. The use of dried orange rinds during the boiling process gives it a most pleasant fruity aroma that blends nicely with a full, round yet delicate taste. Finally, in 2003, we created the Bush Prestige for the opening of our new Visitor centre named “Trolls & Bush.”

JC: As I saw in one of your ads, “What is there after the blond?” -what are your future plans for the brewery?

ML: Our future is to maintain Bush Amber and Bush de Noël at its level and export it more, to develop sales of Bush Blond and Cuvée des Trolls, and to develop our brewpub concept named Brasse-Temps (literally “Brew-Time”). After the first Brasse-Temps opened in Louvain-la-Neuve in September 2000, Brewery Dubuisson opened a second one in Mons in April 2003. These brewpubs naturally offer our Bush beers range and Cuvée des Trolls, and also sell some beers produced in situ, such as an amber ale of 5.5% alc.vol, a white beer for summer, and, at end of March, a new beer which includes a natural cherry extract. These beers produced in situ are only available in our Brasse-Temps and are not sold commercially in bottles. The Brasse-Temps also offer typical Belgian dishes, most of them being prepared with – of course - beers.

As you see, Hugues and Vincent Dubuisson represent the 8th generation as true beer lovers and makers and they continue to share their old age family passion - brewing natural beers of character!


Brasserie Dubuisson
Chaussée de Mons, 28
phone: +32 (0) 69 67 22 21
Le Brasse-Temps
Place des Brabaçons 4
Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348
phone: +32 (0) 10 45 70 27
L’Auberge le XIXe
Grand-Place 2
B-7350 Thulin
Phone: +32 (0) 65 65 01 56




 Published: September 2004