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Jan 9, 2002 02:13 PM

Celis Beer

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It's been over a year since Celis Brewery closed in Austin, TX. I dearly miss Celis White which was brewed with coriander and orange peel.

There were roomers early last year of Pierre Celis buying back the rights he sold to Miller... does anyone know what happened to this?

Also, does anyone know of a comparable beer to Celis White? I'm not a regular beer drinker, so it'll take me years to sample dozens of beers to find a similar brew. Thanks!

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  1. You're in luck. Before Celis made Celis White, he made Hoegaarten beer, in Belgium. He sold the rights to that brand to a big company over there when he moved to Texas, but they're still making it. It's not quite what it used to be, but then again, Celis White was not as good as Hoegaarten used to be. It's a bit more expensive than Celis, however, since it's imported.

    I'd suggest you post an inquiry to the regional message board for where you live, asking if anyone knows where to find Hoegaarten beer thereabouts. I'll bet you'll be drinking the stuff in no time!

    By the way, it's made with coriander and CuraƧao orange peel!


    15 Replies
    1. re: Jim Leff

      Jim, you are so right about the quality of Hoegaarten diminishing. I just thought I was drinking so much of it that I had lost the taste. But, it is quite watered down now.
      However, I did recently have another belgium white called Vuuve, which I now prefer over both Hoegaarten and Celis.

      1. re: Shoeman

        Yeah for Belgium! Anyone for white beer and mussels?

        1. re: MichaelA

          Any Belgo Beer + Moules is always good (xcept for Stella). The "good" thing about the current version of "Whogarden" is that the bottles are labeled w/an expiry date and I believe that it is botle conditioned. The way beer is mishandled in the states this is almost a must, especially when you're paying the ig bucks. Also, "who" is available is many pubs on draft. Though I'd stick w/the bottle. It's almost criminal what Miller "did" to Pete Celis and what Interbrew has done to "who".

          1. re: Ivan Stoler

            When I visited the brewery in the spring of 2000, Hoegaarden was keg- and bottle-conditioned. I expect that's still true.

            1. re: Jim Dorsch



              1. re: IVAN STOLER

                I'm not sure what happened to the Celis family, but I do know that for the last couple of years of the brewery the beer was not brewed by Pierre, but rather by his son-in-law Peter (whose last name escapes me), a very affable fellow who once was Belguim's leading stand-up comic.

                I understand from the hopvine that there might have been some marital discord between Peter and his wife (Pierre's daughter who was listed as the President of the Austin brewery) and that might have helped lead to the end of the brewery.

                Rumor also has had it that Pierre is looking to get back into brewing somewhere in the US, but has not found the right situation yet.

                1. re: Deven Black

                  It was Peter Camps. I didn't know he was a comedian, but I believe it!

                  Pierre is involved in brewing in Belgium. He has some beers made for him there. I'm not tuned in enough to know all the details. I'm going to ask a friend of mine, who saw Pierre recently, to elaborate if she has time.

                  1. re: Jim Dorsch

                    Yes, Camps is it. We used to spend an annual couple of nights tearing up Chicago while at the National Restaurant Association Show. After those nights I could barely remember my own name, much less anyone else's.

                  2. re: Deven Black
                    Priscilla Estes

                    Pierre Celis lives in Hoegaarden, Belgium and now is brewing a very tasty, 7% dark Grottenbier, which he stores in caves in Kanne, Belgium (across from Maastricht, The Netherlands). Grottenbier was brewed by Affligem but ongoing will be brewed by St. Bernadus in Watou. (Nothing wrong with Affligem's quality, BTW, just a personal decision, it seems.)

                    Celis White is made and distributed in Europe by Van Steenberge Brewery in Ertvelde, Belgium. I believe Miller owns the name in the USA, though they seem (who knows) to be doing nothing with it.

                    You probably knew all the above. Re rumor that "...Pierre is looking to get back into brewing somewhere in the US, but has not found the right
                    situation yet," I have no idea! He is in his early 70's, but is healthy, especially after his heart surgery.

                    Priscilla, an American expat in Antwerp

              2. re: Ivan Stoler

                Yea, but do you remember years ago when you bought the bottles the bottom was covered with sediment and proper pouring technique was crucial. Now the bottoms are clear. I don't know enough about the brewing process to know the dif. but the bottles just aint the same either.

            2. re: Shoeman

              Follow the link below for information on Vuuve.


            3. re: Jim Leff

              I was just going to suggest Hoegaarten! What a shame about Celis! Blue Moon is a pretty good domestic white beer. Then of course there's the slippery slope to Belgian whites... aaahh. Blanche de Bruges is very good, Chimay White (hard to go wrong with Chimay)... I'll post more as they occur to me.

              1. re: sc

                "Then of course there's the slippery slope to Belgian whites..."

                Hoegaarten is the PROTOTYPICAL Belgian white. Celis the same (only pasteurized, which removes a lot of the life). None of 'em are consistently great, though Hoegaarten, years ago, was da bomb (as they say in Flemish).

                I'm not a huge Blue Moon fan, but a lot of people agree with you.

                oh, one correction: chimay white is NOT a "white" or "wit". it's so-named just cuz of it's cap. It is more of a tripel style, an entirely different thing. No orange, no coriander, much stronger (though I believe it does have some wheat in it...could be wrong).


                1. re: Jim Leff

                  They call Chimay White a tripel, but I don't get it. Chimay White is hoppier than any tripel I ever had. Not sure about the wheat. If I get a chance, I'll see if anything is mentioned on this over at the Burgundian Babble Belt; I recall a recent thread on the subject.

                  BTW, Blanche de Chambly, from Unibroue in Quebec, is another white beer to try. Unibroue specializes in bottle-conditioned beers. And watch your local microbrewery, as many are starting to produce witbier and other Belgian styles. Victory does a summer seasonal, Whirlwind Wit, for example.


              2. re: Jim Leff

                Yes for Hoegaarden! I also miss Celis White, but Hoegaarden makes me happy.

              3. Magic Hat #9. It's a little fruitier but a comparable beer. I didn't know Celis had closed. I loved their White as well as their Raspberry. The great thing about Celis is it was as good as Belgian Beers. Play around with those as well until you find one you like.

                1. I don't know how widely available it is, but Allagash White (from Maine) is similar to Celis.