I just learned the sad news from my friend Pete Slosberg that brewmaster Pierre Celis passed away today, around 8:00 p.m. Belgian time. He was 86. A funeral is scheduled for next Saturday in Hoegaarden, after which, according to his wishes, he’ll be cremated.
Celis was a true brewing legend, he single-handedly revived the style witbier in the 1960s when he was a brewer at Hoegaarden. He later moved to Texas to start a microbrewery with his daughter Christine, which was sold to Miller in 1995. He was still brewing, making three cave-aged beers under the label Grottenbier at St. Bernardus in Belgium. Join me in raising a toast to Pierre’s memory this evening, with a Hoegaarden if you can get one, or if not a Belgian or Belgian-style witbier.