Drawing inspiration from Belgian and local mythologies, Lakewood Brewing Company every so often releases another limited batch brew in its ever-popular Legendary Series. On June 1, Lakewood will introduce its sixth release in the series, a very personal creation by Lakewood’s founder Wim Bens, that pays homage to the Belgian legend of Saint Dymphna expressed through the sweet, complex characteristic of a Belgian-style Tripel brewed with linden flowers.
Saint Dymphna will be featured on tap at the Lakewood Taproom during taproom hours beginning on Saturday, May 30. Come by and taste the goodness before it hits the market. Beginning June 1, the beer will be available on draft at local bars and restaurants across DFW and in 22 ounce bottles in retail stores that carry Lakewood beers.
Saint Dymphna, known as the Lily of Ireland, had kindness and beauty that knew no match. In her youth, fleeing lecherous looks, she escaped to Geel, Belgium, where she devoted her life to helping the mentally ill. Unfortunately, her not-so-stable father tracked her down and insisted she return with him. She refused and was martyred instead, becoming the Belgian city’s patron saint.
Bens keeps this story close to his heart as this part of history played out in what is now the backyard of his grandmother’s home in Geel, Belgium. The Chapel of Saint Dymphna stands near an ancient linden tree where Bens played as a child.
“My grandmother ‘ons Moeke’ lived in Zammel near Geel right behind the St. Dimpnakapel. I spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s place growing up and playing around the little chapel,” Bens recalled in a recent story in Geel’s local newspaper. “We would take daily walks to the big linden tree in front of the chapel and my grandmother would tell me stories about the saint.”
The nearly 500 year old linden tree near Bens’ family home influenced the addition of the linden flowers to the 8.6 percent ABV Belgian-style Tripel, adding a subtle bouquet to the complex flavor of the beautiful, golden beer.
Bens added, “The linden flowers add a slight tea-like lemony character to the beer which complements the Belgian yeast and Belgian candi sugar we use in the beer. It’s strong yet light and full of conviction, like the fair Saint Dymphna.”
For centuries, the people of Geel, including Bens’ grandmother, have honored the legend of Saint Dymphna by caring for the mentally ill and disabled through a family-care system, welcoming them into their homes like a member of the family.
Not so coincidentally, the town of Geel also puts on an Ommegang (elaborately choreographed procession) honoring Saint Dymphna once every five years. This year, the event occurred on May 3, right around the time Lakewood began packaging the beer.
“Saint Dymphna is a legend I’ve always had on my mind since the beginning of the Legendary series,” said Bens. “The release of this beer in conjunction with the Ommegang celebration is pretty special.”