• Limetree

Frank Boon – Lambic Liberator

On my recent trip to Brussels for Belgian Beer Weekend and the Knighthood of the Brewers Paddle I had the good fortune to visit Brouwerij Boon in the heart of Lambic country.

And it just happened to be Frank Boon's birthday.

A life devoted to Lambic

Half a century of wild yeast whispering

And oak barrel listening

Millions of gallons of sacred juice

Fermented, aged, blended and bottled

For our celebrations

Cheers and thank you Frank Boon!


For 50 years Frank Boon has carried the flag of Lambic beer. As a teenager he was intrigued by the spontaneously fermented tradition, even as it was dying a not-so-slow death in Belgium. And not just Lambic, many of Belgium's traditional beers were facing extinction in the 1970s.


Frank started a company to buy traditional beers and distribute them to keep them alive. He was the first to buy Pierre Celis' Wit beer, before Hoegaarden. He began buying bigger quantities after finding that when he returned for another purchase, some breweries had already closed.

He began as a blender and took over the De Vits lambic blendery in 1975 and 10 years later began building his own brewery in Lembeek, in the heart of the Zenne Valley. His passion for lambic is matched by his love of oak barrels. Boon now has 131 giant oak foeders, the largest of which holds 12,500 liters. Boon has a stock of over a million liters of lambic aging in oak.


Frank officially retired in 2021, but he doesn't stray far from the brewery. The everyday operations are now overseen by his two sons, Jos and Karel.


After maturation in oak barrels for up to three years, Lambic is blended and bottled. Traditionally there is Kriek with cherries and Framboise with raspberries, but what fruit the Geuze made?


Well, it is a secret and very rare Belgian fruit – the Geuzeberry. A bit like a mushroom, the Geuze plant grows very close to the ground and flowers and fruits in a miraculous 24-hour period. Geuzeberry harvesters possess almost psychic powers to know when and where to pick the geuzeberries, relying on centuries-old knowledge that has been passed down from generation to generation. It is said that it was the Chouffes, or Gnomes, who discovered this magical fruit.


– Tony Forder