The Het Anker Brewery, based in Mechelen, has been a family-owned Belgian brewery for five generations. In 1872, the Van Breedam family bought the brewery and built a steam boiler to brew special beers. In 1990, they turned part of the brewery into a three-star hotel. The family also own a separate distillery, which is where Gouden Carolus Whisky is made. Tours are available in each and are well worth a visit.

So, what is Gouden Carolus Imperial Beer Day? On 24th February 1500, the Holy Roman Emperor – Charles V was born in Ghent. After his abdication, he regularly had beer delivered to him from the Het Anker Brewery. Gouden Carolus was the beer the Emperor drank and is named after the golden coins that he used to pay for the beer. To mark the Emperor’s birthday, the Het Anker Brewery brew a special beer every year called Gouden Carolus Cuvee van de Keizer. Both the brewery and beer drinkers celebrate this special event every year, known as Gouden Carolus Imperial Beer Day.

There are two versions of Gouden Carolus Cuvee van de Keizer – Imperial Dark and Imperial Blond. Both are limited edition beers that come in 75cl bottles. Imperial Dark is a dark, speciality beer based on Gouden Carolus Classic. It has an ABV of 11%. It smells of roasted malts, caramel and plums. It is best served between 10-12 degrees Celsius. Imperial Blond is a strong, blond beer, first brewed in 2008. It has an ABV of 10% and is best served between 7-8 degrees Celsius. It is refreshing but somewhat spicy.

We also stock other Het Anker beers that can be purchased by the bottle, as well as Gouden Carolus gift packs, their single malt whisky and branded glassware. Gouden Carolus Classic is a strong dark beer with an ABV of 8.5%. Many beer drinkers class it as one of the best dark beers in the world and it has certainly won a lot of beer awards over the years. Gouden Carolus Triple is a strong blond beer with an ABV of 9%. It dates back to 1491 and the recipe has hardly changed. It has a full-bodied flavour and refermentation takes place in the bottle.

We stock two Gouden Carolus whiskies. The first is Gouden Carolus Single Malt. It is distilled from the mash of Gouden Carolus Triple. It has been awarded numerous whisky awards and is the perfect gift for any whisky drinker. The other one is called Gouden Carolus Single Malt Belgian Cream. This is a whisky liqueur with an ABV of 17%. It is made from the Single Malt whisky mentioned above plus cream.