Goodbye to ‘Grandfather Geuze’ – Armand Debelder dies at 70 – Good Beer Hunting
Armand Debelder was born on October 26, 1951 in Halle, a city near Brussels and close to the border between Flanders and Wallonia, in the farm buildings of his grandfather, also named Armand Debelder. Two years later, in 1953, his parents Gaston Debelder and Raymonde Dedoncker moved the family to the neighboring commune of Beersel and started blending Lambic, eventually buying a cafe on Herman Teirlinckplein called De 3 Fonteinen which would later become their restaurant. family. Debelder’s sister Lieve was born in 1954 and his brother Guido in 1960. As the children grew, the family worked together, in the kitchen and in the blender, delighting guests from all over Pajottenland with their Flemish stew and their bottles of gueuze.
“He was nice,” says Guido Debelder. “He was passionate about beer. And he was passionate about food. Armand Debelder went to the hotel school in Anderlecht in the early 1970s, but he was always more attracted to blending than cooking. The Debelder brothers lived under the same roof for 42 years; for 25 years, Armand and his first wife Lieve Heymans lived upstairs just above Guido and his wife Thérèse Vergels. “I had breakfast with him more than with my wife,” Guido says affectionately. Every year they closed the restaurant for two weeks and went skiing in France, Austria or Switzerland. In 2002, Armand moved into the house opposite the brasserie, just behind the restaurant. He was made an “honorary citizen” (“ereburger”) of Beersel in 2006.