What to know before trying Belgian beer in Brussels
Brussels offers an ideal setting for sampling Belgian beer, with charming cafes dotting the city, particularly around the picturesque Grand Place. While the Grand Place can be touristy, the ambiance of old medieval guildhalls against the cobbled backdrop is unbeatable. You’ll find a wide array of Belgian beers, but the city’s specialty lies in lambic-based brews. Keep an eye out for lambic doux, lambic blanche, gueuze (pronounced “kurrs”), and faro, along with fruit-infused lambics like kriek (cherry) and framboise (raspberry, known as frambozen in Dutch). These beers have a resemblance to dry, slightly bitter cider, and what makes them unique is the absence of added yeast, as they ferment naturally from wild yeast in the marshy Brussels air.
A La Mort Subite
Rue Montagne aux Herbes Potagères 7, 1000 Bruxelles
Rue Chair et Pain 3, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Pl. Fontainas 8, 1000 Bruxelles
Moeder Lambic is one of Brussels’ top beer bars, with two locations. It’s much loved for its relaxed atmosphere, ample seating, and an extensive beer selection. The staff is helpful, assisting you in trying experimental brews or choosing from the vast tap list. They also offer exceptional beer snacks, featuring a variety of organic cheeses, cold cuts, and bread to complement your drinks.
With over 100 beer bottles and nearly 50 taps, they showcase every local Brussels brewer. Their beer menu resembles a wine list, complete with flavor notes and details. Whether you choose the city center or Saint-Gilles location, you’re in for a treat with their incredible beer selections.
La Porte Noire
Rue des Alexiens 67, 1000 Bruxelles
La Porte Noire may not catch your eye from the outside, but stepping inside reveals a local gem. Situated on the outskirts of Brussels, this Celtic-themed bar attracts fewer tourists.
Housed in a 16th-century medieval cellar, it’s renowned for its extensive beer and whiskey offerings and has also earned a reputation as one of the city’s top spots for live music. With an interior resembling an old medieval tavern, complete with wooden tables, exposed brick arches, and a traditionally styled bar, you’ll feel like you’ve walked into Tolkien’s Middle Earth.
They offer over 200 varieties of beer and around 60 different whiskeys. The cozy, old-fashioned ambiance combined with live rock music creates a unique atmosphere that’s hard to find elsewhere.
Pl. de la Vieille Halle aux Blés 30, 1000 Bruxelles
Le Gist is a quintessential Brussels-style beer bar that exclusively serves craft beers. The name of the bar, “Gist,” interestingly means “yeast” in Dutch. They offer a selection of beers on tap and bottled options, with a focus on Belgian brews but also including some international choices.
Located just uphill from Manneken Pis and near Jacques Brel’s iconic bronze statue, the bar offers a cozy and welcoming setting where you can enjoy a thoughtfully curated selection of Belgian beers, including saisons, hoppy tripels, pilsners, and more, both on tap and in bottles. Brews are primarily from smaller independent producers like Senne, Lupulus, Verzet, and En Stoemelings.
Vinyl turntables and exposed wood paneling contribute to a retro vibe, while skateboards and street signs hint at the modern nature of their beer offerings. Alongside your drinks, you can indulge in small plates of cheese and charcuterie.
Imp. de la Fidélité 4, 1000 Bruxelles
Brussels Beer Project
Rue Antoine Dansaert 188, 1000 Bruxelles
Pl. Eugène Flagey 18, 1050 Ixelles
Rue Lambert Crickx 26, 1070 Anderlecht, 1070 Brussel
Rue Gheude 56, 1070 Anderlecht
Brasserie Cantillon, a family-run brewery in Brussels, is a pilgrimage site for beer enthusiasts worldwide. Surviving as the last independent brewery in a city that once housed over 100 such establishments, Cantillon almost faded away before the craft beer resurgence.
The brewery’s charm lies in its traditional Lambic-style beers, fermented with “wild” yeasts from the surrounding air and aged in old wooden barrels for 18-36 months. What sets Cantillon apart is its commitment to using only organic wheat, barley, sour cherries, and raspberries, notably in their famed Kriek and Gambrinus ales. The brewery offers guided tours for €7, explaining its unique brewing process. Afterward, visitors gather in the taproom to savor two beers, with many staying longer to explore more of Cantillon’s distinctive sour creations. If you’re a beer aficionado, Brasserie Cantillon is a must-visit destination.
Rue Dieudonné Lefèvre 37, 1020 Bruxelles
“En Stoemelings,” roughly translating to “on the sly” in the local dialect, perfectly encapsulates the discreet and intriguing nature of this venture by two young friends, Denys van Elewyck and Samuel Languy. Their beer journey started with brewing in a bathtub, which eventually led to the establishment of a microbrewery. They would often have curious beer enthusiasts watching them work, as if they were conjuring magic while measuring malted barley and hops. Their signature ale, the delectable malty Tripel brew known as “Curieuse Neus” (the Nosy Kid), garnered a cult following. They continued to craft seasonal and experimental ales, including the porter-style “Smokey McSmoke” and the amber, hoppy “Tram Jaune.” In 2017, they expanded their operation with the opening of an artisan brewery near the city’s convention center.
Best beer bars in Brussels FAQs
What beer is Brussels famous for?
Brussels is famous for a range of distinctive beers. Lambic and Gueuze, spontaneously fermented and often sour, are standout styles, including fruit Lambics like Kriek and Framboise. The city is known for Trappist ales, such as Orval, and classic Belgian styles like Witbier and Saisons. Tripels and Dubbels, exemplified by Westmalle and Rochefort, are strong and complex. Cantillon Brewery offers traditional Lambic and Gueuze experiences, while Brussels Beer Project explores innovative craft brews. The beer culture in Brussels is diverse, catering to both traditionalists and those seeking unique, contemporary flavors.
What is the most popular beer in Belgium?
The most popular and iconic beer in Belgium is Stella Artois. This Belgian lager, originally brewed in the city of Leuven, has gained international recognition and is widely consumed both within Belgium and around the world. Stella Artois is known for its clean, crisp taste and is often enjoyed as a refreshing, easy-drinking beer. It’s a go-to choice for many Belgians and is also appreciated by beer enthusiasts globally.
Which Belgian bar has the most beers?
Delirium Cafe in Brussels holds the Guinness World Record for the largest number of beers available in one establishment. It offers an extensive and diverse beer menu with a staggering variety of choices, typically featuring over 2,000 different beers from around the world. This makes Delirium Cafe one of the most famous and popular beer destinations for both locals and tourists, providing a wide range of options for beer enthusiasts to explore and enjoy.
What beer is brewed in Brussels?
Brussels is home to a variety of beer styles, with Lambic and Gueuze being some of the most iconic and traditional brews that are exclusively produced in the Brussels region. Lambic is a spontaneously fermented beer, while Gueuze is a blend of young and old Lambics, resulting in a sparkling and complex beer. Additionally, various Trappist and Belgian-style ales, saisons, Witbiers, and other craft beers are brewed in and around Brussels, contributing to the city’s rich beer culture. Some famous breweries in Brussels include Cantillon Brewery and Brussels Beer Project, which produce a range of unique and innovative beers.
Which beer to try in Brussels?
In Brussels, the beer scene offers a rich tapestry of styles to explore. Start with Lambic and its variations like Gueuze, known for their spontaneous fermentation and often sour profiles. Fruit Lambics like Kriek (cherry) and Framboise (raspberry) add a delightful fruity twist. Belgian Trappist ales, including Orval, Westmalle, and Chimay, showcase complexity and tradition. Refresh with a Witbier, such as Hoegaarden, spiced with coriander and orange peel. Saisons provide a unique, refreshing taste, with Saison Dupont as a standout. For those seeking bold flavors, Tripels and Dubbels, exemplified by Westmalle Tripel and Rochefort 10, deliver complexity and strength. Don’t miss Cantillon Brewery for a traditional Lambic and Gueuze experience, and explore the modern craft beer creations at Brussels Beer Project. These beers capture the essence of Brussels’ diverse and rich beer culture.
Which bar in Belgium has 2000 beers?
The bar in Belgium with approximately 2,000 beers in its selection is Delirium Cafe. Located in Brussels, it holds the Guinness World Record for the largest number of beers available in one establishment. Delirium Cafe is renowned for its vast and diverse beer menu, making it a must-visit destination for beer enthusiasts looking to explore a wide range of choices from all over the world.