With over 130 breweries dotted around the country and more than 600 beer varieties, Belgium’s diminutive size hasn’t stopped it from becoming a heavyweight on the international beer market. The Flanders region has been brewing specialty beers since the Middle Ages and beer enthusiasts will find an abundance of opportunities for beer tasting. Touring a brewery or taking an expert guided tasting tour are the best ways to taste local dubbel (dark lager-like brews) and trippel (strong pale beers) beers, but there are even dedicated Beer Routes mapped out around the country for those who want to plan a DIY tour.
Some of the country’s most famous breweries can be found in Flanders, like the De Halve Maan Brewery in Bruges, a traditional, family-run brewhouse dating back to 1856 and famous for its blonde Brugse Zot beer and Straffe Hendrick trippel. In Brussels, the Museum van de Gueuze is home to the city’s last Lambic brewery, devoted to producing the naturally fermented golden yellow beers, and nearby De Kluis Brewery brews the world famous Hoegaarden white beer. Other breweries worth touring are InBev’s principal factory in Leuven, producer of beloved brews like Stella Artois and Leffe; Mechelen’s Het Anker brewery, which churns out bottles of Mechelse Bruynen and Gouden Carolus; and the unique Achel Trappist brewery in Limburg, where Trappist beers are brewed by the monks of the Abbey of Saint Benedict.
Belgium’s famous beer cafés are another way to sample a wide range of beers while soaking up local beer drinking culture, and wherever you travel in Flanders, you’ll be sure to find a wide selection of bottled and draft beers. Take a tour of Brussel’s oldest and most renowned beer cafes; stop by the legendary Bierhuis Kulminator in Antwerp, where the range spans hundreds of new and cellared beers; or get off the beaten track and check out local favorites like Den Hulst in Blauwberg or Spytighen Duvel in Turnhout.