The homestead that would later be called "De Hoorn", was documented early on in Steenhuffel’s history. In 1380, it was owned by Peter Vander Smessen. In the Duke of Brabant's tax records it is described as a house with a courtyard, located by the cemetery.
Around 1525, old documents mention the name "De Hoorn". It is an inn operated by Joos De Lichte. But in the final decades of the 16th century Steenhuffel is faced with violent war and De Hoorn is reduced to ashes. It would take several decades for the Mertens family, the new owners, to rebuild the buildings. However, it was not an inn during that period. Around 1700, De Hoorn was inhabited by a nobleman called Urbaan Lecocq. He sold the estate to Andries Van Doorselaer and Joanna Van Accoleyen, who would eventually start brewing there.
Andries Van Doorselaer and Joanna Van Accoleyen were from Malderen, where they also married in 1691. However, they founded their families and businesses in the neighbouring town of Steenhuffel. In 1698 at the latest Andries Van Doorselaer already rented a brewery at the church. But when he was able to buy the De Hoorn estate opposite the church in 1706, he was able to set up his own brewery.
In any case, Andries Van Doorselaer’s entrepreneurial spirit was unstoppable. Based on a description from 1736, De Hoorn appears to offer a home to a variety of activities. Firstly, it was a farm, with horses, dairy cattle and grain farming. The inn was also re-opened. Not only for villagers, but also for travellers who were able to switch horses there. Finally, for beverage production, there were brew kettles and cooling containers, a combustion plant and also our own malt kiln, for the germination of the malting barley and the drying of locally grown hops.
Brewery De Hoorn
So the village brewery in Steenhuffel owes its name to a 500 year old inn. Once the name "De Hoorn" was established, it was continued through the centuries, each time the estate was mentioned. A number of scarce documents about the brewing activities at Brewery De Hoorn in the early years have been preserved. For example, a settlement of excise duties from 1724 shows that brews of 9 hl were made. This was usually "brown" beer. The brewery produced the largest flow in the village.
De Hoorn’s beer was also appreciated at Diepenstein Castle. According to a 1710 receipt, Theodoor Cornet had a tonne of "half beer" and a tonne of "good beer" delivered that year. In the following years, Cornet regularly ordered beer for the workers at the castle, for the local marksmen’s guild at their patron party or for the hunters on Saint Hubert’s Day.
In 1720, the Count of Maldeghem decided to carry out major renovation works on his castle grounds in Diepenstein. An old defensive tower was knocked down and a new access bridge was erected between the courtyard and the castle. According to an old tradition, the bricklayers and stonemasons were entitled to a daily ration of beer. Steward Theodoor Cornet, ordered more than 4,000 litres of beer from De Hoorn for this reason.