From humble beginnings
In 2011, Jan De Waele and Levi Hogenhall became neighbours in the charming town of Waardamme, situated in the shadow of Bruges. It soon became apparent that they shared a passion for beer and both wanted to delve deeper into the intricate brewing processes. A voluntary part-time job in a brewery would become the first tile of the paved road towards their own recipe for a Tripel.
Many months and many tasting sessions later, Jan and Levi perfected their first recipe which was well received by a panel of family and friends. While our brew masters were satisfied with their first creation, it would later turn out that the Waardamse Triple was excellent enough to be an award-winning craft beer.
Jan and Levi decided to start their very own Brewery ‘Stokhove’, named after the neighbourhood in Waardamme where they reside. After achieving their brewing engineering diploma at the Brew-school of Ghent, a brewery with a capacity of 200 liters was purchased, enabling sales towards the local market. Every weekend was spent inventing and brewing the Tripel.
The brewery was still small, but it was starting to become noticed for its notorious tasty beer. Brewery Stokhove received an invitation to the famous Bruges Beer Festival, organized by the BAB (Bruges Autonomous Beer tasters). Our gentlemen were oblivious to the fact that a competition was tied to this festival. Each participating brewery competes for the title of best beer with 15.000 festival participants performing extensive tasting. Eventually the winner was announced: the Waardamse Tripel !
The demand for Waardamse Tripel rose sharply after this unexpected titular praise, even exceeding the brewing capacity several times over ! To meet this problem head-on, the brewers had to invest heavily in additional capacity. Both brew masters decided to make the jump and expand the capacity of the brewery, from 200 to 1200 liters per week.
Meanwhile, neighbour Jean Paul Proesmans was asked if he was interested to join the adventure. With these Three Musketeers, Stokhove Brewery started its newest chapter. A building was rented in Akkerstraat 18, Waardamme, where construction of a new brewery could begin. By the end of June 2015, Jan, Levi and Jean Paul could start brewing at their new location. Just two years later, Stokhove would outgrow this location as well, and another move was required to Akkerstraat 1H ! Now with 800m² at their disposal, Stokhove could expand once again.
While Jean Paul is no longer a part of the Stokhove venture, as he is enjoying his retirement since 2018. Since that same year, Stokhove was strengthened by Andy Ramandt and Guy De Meester. And while Sofie Devriendt had been Levi’s support in life, she now also came to be an official part of the Brewery.
Meanwhile, the beer is now distributed all-over Belgium and the Netherlands. Stokhove is also always ready to explore new horizons and new markets !
Who would ever have thought; what began as a childhood dream … would become a full-fledged craft brewery.