Belgium brews are world-famous as they are very distinctive and diverse - so much so they have been added to the UNESCO's List of intangible cultural heritage. Belgium beers vary from pale lager to amber ales and include sour brown ales, Flemish red ales, strong ales, lambic beers, and stouts.
Belgium beers are just another reason why Belgium should be on one's bucket list of places to visit. Additionally, Christmas is coming and Belgium's Christmas market isn't called Winter Wonders for no reason and it is a must if visiting over the holiday period.
Beer Traditions And Breweries In Belgium
In 2018 there were around 304 active breweries (others say over 130 breweries) in the tiny country of Belgium with some of those being traditional breweries like Trappist monasteries. They have over 600 superb beer bars just waiting to be discovered. Belgium is something of a beer lover's nirvana.
- Breweries: Belgium As 130 to 304 Active Breweries Depending On The Source
- Consumption: Belgiams Drink Around 68 Liters Of Beer Each Year (Down From 200 Liters in 1900)
Belgium is said to have the largest diversity of original beer styles on the planet. It has an unrivaled brewing heritage that is deeply embedded across its towns and villages. Some argue that Belgium is the best country in the world for beer.
- Size: Belgium Is The Size of Maryland
Brussels Is A Hot Spot For Belgium Beers
Brussels is the capital and largest city of Belgium and the political center of the European Union. Brussels is ground zero for beer tours in Belgium and a city with secrets that will amaze anyone.
Brasserie Cantillon Brewery: One of the top places in Brussels that should command one's attention is Brasserie Cantillon. It is one of the top beer destinations in the country and is one of the last 10 or so breweries in the country that produces beers by the method of spontaneous fermentation.
Brasserie Cantillon is something of a time machine and is a family brewery where the beers Lambic, Gueuze, Faro, and Kriek are made and where nothing has changed since 1900 when it was founded.
The tools, the process, and the beers themselves have not changed. In fact, some of the red copper kettles and barrels are over 100 years old.
- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: Open From 10 am to 5 pm (Last Brewery Tour at 4 pm)
- Saturday: Open From 10 am to 4 pm (Guided Visit Only - Online Booking Required)
- Closed: Wednesdays, Sundays, and Public Holidays
- Guided Tour: Price € 9.50 ($11) Per Person (Free For Children Under 14 Years Old)
- Duration: 1.5 Hours And Tasting Included
- Self-Guided Tour: Price € 7 ($8) Per Person (Free For Children Under 14 Years Old)
- Duration: 1 Hour
Delirium Cafe is located in central Brussels and boasts over 2,000 beers including 500 from Belgium. It is the largest selection of beers anywhere according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The cafe also has a taphouse on the above floor covering 24 Belgian brews on draft including some rarely seen in kegged form. They say on their website
"Having a hard time to choose? Don’t worry. Our staff is here to help you and they will listen to you before proposing different choices! All tastes are admitted. That said, quality goes first. It will be necessary to insist on drinking industrial products! But hey, the customer is king !"
- Record: Has The Largest Selection of Beers In The World According To The Guinness Book Of World Records
- Beers: Over 2,000 Beers (500 From Belgium)
Another place to check out in Brussels is Chez Moeder Lambic in the Ixelles area. It has 400 beers and artisanal cheeses.
- Chez Moeder Lambic: Boasts 400 Beers and Artisanal Cheeses
Beer Tasting In Liege
In the east of Belgium is the French-speaking city of Liege. It is home to the Brasserie du Val-Dieu that is housed in a Cistercian abbey. While the last of the monks left a few years ago it remains run by a non-profit society.
- Founded: The Cistercian Abbey Was Founded in 1216
- Visiting: From 12 Euros ($14) Per Adult To Visit The Abbey
The Val-Dieu Abbey is the only Belgian Abbey that managed to survive the French Revolution.
Guided Beer Tours
There are many other cities and villages around Belgium that one should visit, but they are all impossible to list out here. If one is looking for a guided beer tour of Belgium, then Belgium Beer Me has a number of tours on offer. They offer tours across Belgium, in other European countries, and even in the United States.
The Lonely Monks Trappist Beer Tour: In this tour, one will learn the history of beer, beer tasting, and see how monks perfected it as it was one of the few indulgences monks are permitted.
- Duration: 10 Days
- Cost: From $400
- Visit: Eight Trappist Abbeys