This is the story of Mr Janis Jerumanus, a child refugee from communist Latvia who went on to become the key in St. Stefanus’ unique ageing journey.
It all started with his education. The Augustinian monks took Mr Jerumanus in and raised him as one of their own. He was a bright, dedicated and passionate pupil, so they were more than happy to fund his schooling. He studied to become a Professor of Microbiology at the University of Leuven and later earned himself a place as a consultant at the Sint Stefanus Monastery – where he was introduced to the world of brewing specialty beer.
Fast forward to 1978. The Sint Stefanus Monastery was looking for a local brewery in Ghent to take on the task of brewing and selling their beer. They felt that modern brewers were better placed to protect the recipe, along with the unique monastic yeast that allows the beer to age in the bottle. And at that time, the man responsible for both of those elements was none other than Mr Janis Jerumanus.
Mr Jerumanus formed a partnership with the Van Steenberge Brewery, offering to come on board as a consultant to implement and oversee the brewing process. He brought the recipe with him, along with a sample of the rare yeast strain that makes ageing possible. In his honour, the brewers named the yeast strain Jerumanus yeast. Thanks to him, our beer keeps on ageing today.
So next time you enjoy a glass of St. Stefanus, raise a toast to the man that made it all happen – Mr Janis Jerumanus.