With some 130 breweries making more than 600 styles of beer, diminutive Belgium has become a beer heavyweight. The Flanders region has been brewing specialty beers in Belgium since the Middle Ages. Here are the best bets for beer enthusiasts to explore the brewing scene.
Flemish brewing traditions differ from those in the French-speaking south of Belgium. The region, particularly Bruges, has a long tradition of gruit ales—beers made with herbs and spices to stall oxidation instead of hops. While lambics might be Belgium’s most famous sour beers, it’s Flanders red and Flanders brown ales that are indigenous to this northern region. Many of Belgium’s most famous and historic breweries can be found in Flanders; sample Hoegaarden, Brugse Zot, Stella Artois, and Leffe right from the source. Belgium is home to six of the world’s 11 Trappist breweries, so don’t leave without sampling some Trappist beer made by monks.
- Sample from a wide selection of Belgian beers at a local beer café in Brussels or Antwerp.
- Educate your taste buds with a tasting tour through Ghent with a local beer connoisseur.
- Explore Belgium’s beer-making heritage and beer culture at the interactive Bruges Beer Experience.
- Tour a brewery where some of the country’s most famous beers are produced.