Discover barley, malt and beer
Looped walking and cycling routes in Haspengouw
In and around Gembloers you can now walk and cycle along the ‘Route du Malt’, a network of 5 cycling and 8 walking routes that lead you from the barley fields and along farms to the local malt house and four breweries, where you can enjoy a beer brewed with locally grown and malted barley.
The Groupe d’Action Local Culturalité from Haspengouw in Walloon Brabant, together with a number of agricultural organisations, the Belgomalt malting plant and four local breweries, have mapped out five cycling and eight walking routes that introduce visitors to the world of barley, malt and beer. The ‘Route du Malt’ consists of several loop-shaped routes from 13 to 44 km, departing from Gembloers, Perwez and Ramillies and which can, if necessary, be combined into a fun day trip.
The various routes of the ‘Route du Malt’ can be downloaded as .gpx files via www.routedumalt.be and are also available for the GPS via RouteYou. Ravel routes and rural roads of the Brabant cycling network allow hikers and cyclists to enjoy panoramic views of vast barley fields in Haspengouw, also known as the ‘granary’ of Belgium.
At numerous places along the route, Dutch- and French-language information panels were placed that tell more about the cultivation of barley, the sustainable farming methods used for this, the drying and storage of the barley at the agricultural cooperative and the malting of the barley to make beer afterwards. And that beer, brewed with locally grown and malted barley, can be tasted in the local breweries of Bertinchamps, Valduc-Thor, Jandrain-Jandrenouille and De Lonsees.
The ‘Route du Malt’ initiative is part of the Pure Local project that was started by Belgomalt from Gembloers in cooperation with the agricultural cooperative CultivAé to grow malting barley again on the rich sandy loam soil in Haspengouw. Until the end of the 1980s, the soon-to-be hundred-year-old Belgomalt malting plant mainly malted barley grown locally. Since then it has switched to malting imported barley. Spurred on by the Belgian malting group Boortmalt, of which Belgomalt is a member, the Pure Local project was launched in 2019 to reintroduce the cultivation of Belgian malting barley to Haspengouw. Initially four farmers participated in the project, meanwhile 38, mostly young, farmers joined the agricultural cooperative and the yield increased from 100 to 1700 tonnes spread over 260 hectares in the same period. At the same time, four local breweries undertook to brew beers with the barley grown and malted a few kilometres from their premises.
Discover our Pure Local history…
Route du Malt, www.routedumalt.be