Europe is rich in culture and has an indefinite amount of food, music, art and more to delight any visitors. But if you’re lucky enough to find yourself destined for Belgium, there is one part of Belgian culture you won’t want to miss, and that is drinking their beer. Our head brewer Kevin Welch has been to Belgium on multiple occasions and knows several breweries that are especially worth visiting. In this post, we have compiled some of Kevin’s recommendations so that next time you’re in Belgium, you can easily find some of the best beer that Belgium has to offer!
- Cantillon – Located in the city of Brussels, this brewery is mere blocks from the central train station. Kevin describes it as “One of the most important Lambic breweries, in my opinion,” and it’s easy to understand why. The beers are carefully crafted at Cantillon to preserve the lambic tradition as well as the Gueuze style that originated in this area of the country.
- Cantillon website – http://www.cantillon.be/br/3_1
- Achouffe & La Vieille Forge – Kevin says that if you visit, stay at the BB&B (which stands for bed, breakfast and brewery) of La Vieille Forge in the little village of Mont and visit Brasserie Achouffe as well. Achouffe was a venture started by two brothers-in-law, and as the beer became successful, they eventually decided to pursue brewing full time. It is advised that you book and confirm the Achouffe tour ahead of time, and separately from the room at La Vieille Forge.
- Achouffe website – http://www.achouffe.be/en
- La Vieille Forge website – http://vieilleforge.freehostia.com/index.php?Itemid=54
- Brouwerij De Koninck – This brewery is located in Antwerp and is a virtual “Disneyland” of Belgian beer. The origin of this brewery dates back to the early 19th century, and later became officially formulated as the “De Koninck” brewery in the early 20th century. Kevin highly encourages sitting in the main city square on a sunny afternoon and enjoying a De Konink at Cafe Den Engel to pass the time.
- Brouwerij De Koninck website – http://www.dekoninck.be/en
- Westvleteren – Located in western Flanders, here you can find some of the most sought-after Trappist beer in the world. Brewed by the monks themselves, this brewery has a large reputation, but its producers prefer to remain out of the spotlight. Anyone visiting the monastery can get further information about the beer at the nearby visitor center, but the monks themselves do not receive visitors.
- Westvleteren website – http://sintsixtus.be/
- St. Bernardus – This brewery is also located in western Flanders. Book a room and a tour at the St. Bernardus brewery’s bed & breakfast in the city of Watou. Take advantage of the complimentary bicycles to pedal through the countryside (you can easily head out to the Abbey of Westvleteren). Kevin recommends partnering this journey with a tour of the Hop Museum in the nearby city of Poperinge.
- St. Bernardus website – http://www.sintbernardus.be/
- Brouwerij Rodenbach – Rodenbach, the original Flemish dark sour, is located in the city of Roselare and was originally started and operated by 4 brothers in the early 19th century. The business stayed within the family until the 20th century and was later sold to Palm Brewery. Today, Palm continues to produce and distribute a variety of Rodenbach beer.
- Rodenbach website – http://palm.be/nl/rodenbach
- Brouwerij Maenhout – Brouwerij Maenhout is one of Kevin’s favorite newer Belgian breweries in the village of Pittem and he says that owner and brewer, Tijs Maenhout’s Tripel “Koeketiene” is an outstanding beer to try. If you are able, stay in the nearby village of Tielt in the historic Sleutelhuys Bed and Breakfast, the newly remodeled historic city hall building which was built in the late 1500s.
- Maenhout website – http://www.brouwerijmaenhout.be/
Thanks to Kevin’s adventures around Belgium, now those of us who have a passion for craft beer in the United States can cross the pond and seek out the finest beers in Belgium, and perhaps the world.
If you’re interested in more information about beer in Belgium, you can also visit this helpful website: http://belgium.beertourism.com/