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One of Austin’s oldest, most beloved beers is back as a winter seasonal

Arianna Auber
Contributed. Sip on the Celis Grand Cru tripel at Celis Brewery's North Austin taproom, open every day except Mondays.

When Celis Brewery was resurrected this summer, one of the most venerated beers from its 1990s heyday wasn’t on the opening taps. 

That was one of the questions I received most over the course of covering Celis’ long-anticipated return to Austin: When would the Grand Cru be back, too? The founder of this second Celis brewery, Christine Celis, finally has an answer: now. The Celis Grand Cru Tripel is back as a winter seasonal after a 17-year hiatus, and though it’s a draft-only beer, it’ll be around for a few months.

Look for the 8.6 percent ABV tripel, made following Celis founder and legendary Belgian brewer Pierre Celis’ recipe from his Hoegaarden days, in bars and restaurants in November and at the brewery’s North Austin taproom now. It’s a traditional Belgian-style tripel “with the characteristic deep golden color, sweet soft maltiness, fruity and spicy flavors, with a dry finish,” according to the brewery.

The late Pierre Celis, who crafted authentic Belgian brews both in Belgium and then in Austin with the 1992 opening of Celis Brewery, created the Grand Cru in 1967 at Celis Brouwerij in Hoegaarden. The ale received a renewed following thanks to the Austin brewery a couple of decades later and won several awards, including a silver medal at the 1998 World Beer Cup and a gold medal at the 1998 Great American Beer Festival.

And Austinites who remember the beer more than two decades ago have been clamoring for it now, something Pierre’s daughter Christine is happy to deliver.

“We are excited to brew Grand Cru again and over the moon happy that it is even better than before,” she said in a press release. “It is a complex beer to make, and a beer with complex tastes. It is the perfect time to introduce this remarkable ale to celebrate the holidays.”

She officially reopened Celis Brewery, located at 10001 Metric Blvd., on July 11, 25 years to the day of Celis’ first grand opening. 

Future phases of the brewery include a beer garden and the adjacent Pierre Celis Museum that will house all of Pierre’s old brewing equipment — historic items Celis plans to restore to the point of brewing small-batch sours on them. It will take time to get these beautiful weathered pieces, which include a 4,000-pound open mash tun, a coolship, foeders and 1800s-era copper kettles, into working shape.

For locations of where you’ll be able to find the Grand Cru in the coming weeks, keep an eye on Celis Brewery’s Facebook page