Beer & Hike: Sainte Nitouche & Chevremont

The year was 987.

It could have been a scene right out of a Netflix series. Prince-Bishop Notger of Liege enters the citadel of Chevremont, a village just a few kilometers from Liege. With him followed a long procession of robed priests. The chatelain of the citadel, Immon, long a bitter rival of Notger sets aside the rivalry out of concern for the spiritual well-being of his newborn heir. Wanting prestige for his son, he invited Notger to perform the baptism. The citadel was considered impregnable and was a constant frustration to Notger, who was trying to consolidate and expand his power in the region after becoming the ruler of the Prince-Bishopric of Liege back in 980. It was a scene that all binge-watchers would have seen the treachery coming a mile (1.6 kilometers) away. Upon safe entry into the citadel, Notger shouts “This castle is no longer yours, but mine!”1. His fellow priests dramatically throw off their robes revealing that they were not priests but soldiers with armor and weapons. Rather than take Notger’s offer to submit peacefully, Immon goes on an expletive tirade. Notger’s army slaughtered everyone and razed the citadel to the ground.

Notger remains a historical celebrity in these parts even garnering his own beer for a while, although long out of production at Piedboeuf Brewery, the makers of Jupiler beer. Today, only beer mats and beer glasses give evidence to Notger’s dabble in beer culture.

980 Notger beer glass (beer out of production)

Eventually an abbey was built on the spot of the former citadel. It was a highly popular pilgrimage site, reaching its peak in the 19th century when shops and restaurants lined the road. The topography around Chevremont was instrumental in helping slow the progress of the Germans during the World Wars, but both wars took a toll on the abbey. Today the shops are gone and a former brasserie adjacent to the abbey church lies destitute. According to reviews on Trip Advisor, it looks like the restaurant closed around November 2019. It is quite a shame as this would have been a great place to sip a beer during a hike. Many windows of the abbey church are broken, missing, or covered with plywood. An alley between the church and brasserie has become a dumping ground for discarded furniture and trash.

Nevertheless, Chevremont, in its less-than-elegant decay, is still worthy of a Beer & Hike destination, both for its historical value and the fact that Chevremont has its own place in Belgium beer culture with the Merveilleuse de Chevremont beer brewed by Brasserie de L’Abbaye du Val Dieu. In addition, you can visit a brewery in the village of Fleron and end at a brewpub near the Liege-Guillemins train station.

Hike Details

Distance20.4 km
My Moving Time3h 58m
Starting/Ending PointLiege-Guillemins train station

Hike Highlights

Rivers & Canals

This hike captures one of the most striking features of this area and that is its plethora of rivers and canals. Fletcher Allen writes about Liege, “It is so rich in rivers that almost everywhere the glint of the sun and the reflection of tree-clad hills built up a panorama which Flanders had not only lacked but positively denied as a possibility.”3


Once you head up into the hills away from the city, the landscape opens up and there are some nice views of Chevremont from a distance.

A typical cobbled farm road
Chevremont from a distance
Overlooking the Vesdre river valley from Chevremont

Chapel and Cross of St. Anne

At the top of the hill on your way to Fleron, there is a historic chapel and cross.

Brasserie de la Croix

This brewery is located in Fleron. I managed to make it just as they were closing at 12:00pm to purchase their Sainte Nitouche Tripel and Blond. Nitouche means “don’t touch” and the saint of such would be someone who encourages innocence and prudery. Hence, the oxymoronic seductive woman logo.


Approaching the abbey
The abbey and boarded up windows
The forlorn façade
Au Bon Accueil Brasserie (closed since 2019)

Notre Dame Chapel & Way of the Cross

Just a few meters away down a path is the Notre Dame Chapel, built in 1688 to house a venerated statue of Mary. The chapel also sits at the end of a 7-stage way of the cross from the valley below.

Notre Dame Chapel (exterior)
Notre Dame Chapel (interior)
Stage VII of the Way of the Cross

Brasserie Le Chevremont

In the shadow of the abbey sits this brasserie which has the Merveilleuse de Chevremont beer on tap, thus making it a worthy beer pilgrimage. It was a glorious Saturday and sipping that beer in the sunshine at the 14km mark with the abbey in view was a true highlight of the hike.

Le Chevremont
The abbey is visible up on the hilltop
Merveilleuse de Chevremont on tap

Brasserie Tripick

Back by the train station, my final stop on the hike was at the Tripick brewpub. As with any establishment near a train station in Belgium, you are assured of interesting colorful people watching. I tried the Tripick 8, an amber-colored tripel, a bit heavy after 20km but as soon as the beer buzz set in, I didn’t care.

Tripick 8

Final Words

On May 4, 1874, some 20,000 pilgrims were visiting Chevremont to pray for their Pope2. The hill would have been swarming with people. Stall vendors would have been shouting out prices and waving their goods in the air. This place meant something. Then the world wars came and ended all of that, and today it remains a haunting shell of the past. It is painful to see historical places like this simply decaying and forgotten, it’s last gasp fading away when the brasserie closed down a few years ago. As I stood in front of its façade, I soaked up the silence and calm as a single solitary pilgrim. Today, Chevremont would mainly be a waypoint for hikers passing thru like me, although it seems that maybe part of the abbey will one day be converted into apartments2. It sits at the end of a cul-de-sac with no benefit anymore to drivers and cyclists now that the brasserie is closed except to quench whatever flicker of curiosity still exists. The abbey is visible from around the countryside and easily catches the eye, probably its only remaining vestige of hope. There was a humbleness standing there, a reminder that what is important today may not be important tomorrow. What was once celebrated may one day be lost and forgotten. It was a reminder of how life changes and how infinitely small we all are. For a moment, the site of all the decay compromised my mood, which neither the sunny blue skies nor the budding green of the forest could penetrate. But then I drank a couple Merveilleuse de Chevremont beers. Mood fixed.



  1. Belgium by G.W.T. Omond (1908)
  3. A Wayfarer in Belgium by Fletcher Allen (1934)

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