Beer in Belgium

It is said that beer is to Belgium what wine is to France, and with their own patron saint of beer casting a watchful eye over the country's 150 breweries, it's safe to say that beer is as ingrained in Belgian culture as chocolate or moules frites.

So, if you’re looking to sample a few demis of some of the most well regarded beers the world has to offer, jump on one of our ferries and head to this beer enthusiast’s paradise. You will not be disappointed.

Header image credit: Rum Bucoloc Ape

Breweries

Breweries

If you want to know what makes a Kriek a Kriek, and a Dubbel a Dubbel, a trip to one of Belgium’s many breweries can offer insight into the brewing process, as well as tastings and tours.

Take a trip to Timmermanns brewery just outside of Brussels to sample their multi-award-winning tipples, or to the Brasserie d'Achouffe deep in the Ardennes to explore their fairy themed beers.

The Duvel Moortgat brewery, between Antwerp and Brussels, offers degustation sessions with a beer sommelier as well as lessons on how to pour the perfect beer. The brewery has recently opened the unique Duvelorium Grand Beer Café in Bruges' historic Grote Markt, where visitors can sample the best beers Belgium has to offer.

Bruges’ famous Bourgogne des Flandres brewery is one of the oldest in the city, dating back nearly 200 years. Take a tour through timbered brewing rooms and learn the history of this family brand. Book a tour and show your DFDS booking confirmation and enjoy a seasonal beer on us.

Image credit: Jim

Trappist Monasteries

Trappist monasteries

Belgium’s monastic brewing heritage is world renowned among beer aficionados. With roots in the 12th century, this rich tradition of abbey brewing, performed almost exclusively by the monks themselves, has produced some of the best-loved beers across the continent. The beer can take up to 3 months to brew, in comparison to 3 days for standard lager.

No trip to Belgium would be complete without a pilgrimage to one of the country's six authentic Trappist monasteries to sample the authentic beers brewed within. One of the most compelling visitor experiences can be found at the Achel monastery in Limburg, close to the Dutch border. Although the brewing monks work in peace, so do not accept visitors, you can watch the Achel brewers hard at work from the on-site tavern while sipping the freshly-poured fruits of their labour.

The St Sixus Abbey in Flanders dates back to 1831. The monks here brew Westvleteren 12 which has been labelled the best beer in the world more than once. ​

Image credit: Adam Barhan​

Cafe Culture

Café culture

To enjoy the widest selection of Belgian beers, you need only visit one of the thousands of cafes found in Belgium’s major cities.

Even the most modest Belgian café will boast at least ten different bottled and draft beer options, but pick the right specialist café and you could be ordering from a menu selection of 1000!

If you’re heading to Brussels, be sure to pay a visit to Beer Circus, Chez Moeder Lambic, and the Delirium Café, where you can choose from over 2000 beers. In Bruges, check out the ‘t Brugs Beertje tasting house, and in Ghent, treat yourself to an afternoon at the charming waterside Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant.

Image credit: Neil Turner​

Festivals

Festivals

The country is renowned for its all-year-round beer festivals, of which there are many.

Antwerp's Modeste Bierfestival is held over two days in October on the grounds and buildings of the famous Brouwerij De Koninck, and is a must for beer experts and enthusiastic amateurs alike.

The prestigious Belgian Beer Weekend is held every September in the Grand Marché in Brussels and celebrates Saint-Arnould, Patron Saint of brewers, starting with a consecration of the beer organised by the Knighthood of the Brewers’ Paddle, in the Saint Michael and Gudula Cathedral. Just like Belgium itself, the beer found there is surprising, exciting and anything but bland.

Image credit: Sebastiaan ter Burg​

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