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April 13, 2011 | by  | in Opinion |
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RIP Pierre Celis

Last weekend a brewing legend passed away. His name was Pierre Celis.

You may not have heard of him but he absolutely influenced the beer world. His meme will survive. Pierre Celis is one of those unique individuals (along with Fritz Maytag) who managed to resurrect and propel into the mainstream a near-extinct style of beer.

Pierre Celis was the man who saved Witbier.

You probably haven’t heard of beer styles such as Gose, Peetermann or Sahti. If it wasn’t for Celis then you probably wouldn’t have heard of Witbier either.

Celis holds some personal significance for me. A moment I reflect upon is basking in the sun drinking chunky glasses of Hoegaarden at Leuven Beer Cafe on Featherston Street. Hoegaarden was one of my gateway beers.

To put it in a New Zealand perspective:
Martinborough White Rock Wheat
Limburg Witbier
Three Boys’ Wheat
Mata Blondie
Emerson’s beWITched
Soon have gone… some remain.

I’m sure there are a few I’ve missed. The best thing is Pierre Celis’s legacy will live on within each pint.

I wanted to do an accompanying piece to my German Hefeweizen article explaining the background of the classic Belgian Wheat Beer. That may eventually happen but for now I want to pay credit to the man who resurrected a fantastic beer style.

Pierre Celis (21 March 1925 – 9 April 2011)

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