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Rolling Hills.

Microbrewery and men’s trouser label, Rolling Hills and Zilton have quite a lot in common. We’re both committed to traditional craftsmanship and exacting quality standards in order to create premium and contemporary products.

The craft brewery is owned by the Vandermeersch brothers. Eldest brother Karel is a silent partner. Brewer Edward and the youngest brother Antoon run the brewery. We headed to Oudenaarde for a meeting of minds with Edward and were instantly immersed in a world of hops.

Edward, Matthias & Antoon

What are the origins of Rolling Hills? 

Edward: “Brewing runs in our family. Our eldest brother Karel experimented with beer making as a student. Our father was born and raised in Oudenaarde and grew up alongside the Pêtre brewing family. The history and mythology surrounding beer making captured our imaginations. When Karel got married, I built a compact brewing installation for his wedding present. This was the catalyst that kick-started our generation’s beer-making adventure.”

“Petre Devos was a time-honoured brewery in Oudenaarde with a rich history and close ties to our family and community. The brewery ceased operations in 1970. We resolved to revive that tradition and recreate some of our region’s long-lost heritage beers some 45 years later.”

“During the early years, we worked as gypsy brewers, crafting our products at the fledgling 't Verzet brewery in Anzegem. We brewed brown beers inspired by Petre Devos and simultaneously experimented with a number of blonde beers. We developed our own unique beer brand and harboured big ambitions for our brewery. In 2020, after 4 years of gypsy brewing, we established Brouwcompagnie Rolling Hills. Our very own brewery in Oudenaarde in the Flemish Ardennes.”

Rolling Hills is a family business. Do you all have your own specific responsibilities within the company? And what’s working with your brothers like?

“Our eldest brother Karel is a silent partner. But he felt compelled to get involved because the thirst for beer making originated with him. Karel provides a sounding board that’s extremely important in the running of the business.” 

“I’m the Rolling Hills founder and brewer. The driving force from the outset. I built the brewery and brewing plant, together with our youngest brother Antoon. We bought, transported and installed all of the necessary equipment. And then jointly commenced production.”

“These days, Antoon is in charge of customer liaison, primarily for the hospitality sector. I do the brewing, together with Matthias. We ran into him when he’d just got back from a round-the-world trip. He’s passionate about beer making and joined us in production.”

Each beer features its own animal logo. What’s the story behind these animals?

“Like our company name, these animals allude to our roots in the Flemish Ardennes. I was keen to make the region’s wildlife our mascots. The toad was the first. It’s considered an underdog in these parts, but we portray ours with its chin up. The pattern on its belly represents the patchwork of fields that forms its natural habitat.”

“We’re craft brewers who fuse the old and new. This is also reflected in our labels. We combine the crests of the traditional beer world with the vibrant graphics associated with a new generation of craft beers.”

How important is tradition and innovation at Rolling Hills?

“We’re forging our own path. We purposely refer to Rolling Hills as a brewing company, positioned at the crossroads between the tradition of renowned Belgian beers and the experimentation of international craft breweries. We take time-honoured beer concepts and harness our insatiable drive to showcase our capabilities. We’re a new breed of brewers, keen to produce innovative, upmarket beers that are both pure and sophisticated.”

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