The story of Hoegaarden dates back to approximately 1445 when the monastic order of Begaarden arrived in Hoegaarden, a small village in the province of Brabant.
The region has heavy clay soil which helps to grow strong wheat. Using locally grown wheat, working by hand and following a secret recipe combined with nature's purest ingredients, the local villagers developed the original white, unfiltered wheat beer characterized by its very pale, cloudy appearance.
Over hundreds of years the village developed into a centre of the brewing industry. By the end of the 18th century, Hoegaarden boasted 34 separate breweries - and its long-term prosperity looked guaranteed. But the world was moving on. Industrial production techniques, new refrigeration techniques and the irresistible rise of the new clear lagers all took their toll. By 1920, only five brewers were left. The final blow fell in 1957 when the last white brewery, Tomsin, closed its doors. But this is not the end of the Hoegaarden story.
During the record hot summer of 1965, villagers missed the cool, refreshing taste of their unique, local drink. The village milkman who lived next to the original brewery, and who worked there in the past, dug out the age-old recipe, got his inspiration, and, with a couple of vats sawed in half, an old copper kettle, pure spring water and natural ingredients, began brewing Hoegaarden Witbier. Within weeks, business took off. As news of what he had done spread, visitors and beer connoisseurs (from Belgium, Germany, Holland and France) flocked to his brewery.
Hoegaarden Witbier was born stronger and even more popular. In reference to its heritage, the Hoegaarden logo uses shields which are the Coat of Arms of the Hoegaarden village depicting the joint heritage of the abbeys and a mashing fork.