is beer country par excellence, which makes Brussels a capital of flourishing beer culture. While these ten bars may run the gamut from anarchist watering hole to industrial hipster hangout, they all have one thing in common: their quest of presenting you with the finest brewskis in the land.
Moeder Lambic Original & Moeder Lambic Fontainas
First, there was Moeder Lambic in neighborhood Ixelles. For ten years, she has been delighting beer purists with the finest Belgian products and international guest specialties, over 400 of them in total. It didn’t take too long for word to spread that a new beer mecca with an exceptionally knowledgeable staff had landed in Brussels, and the family soon expanded. After three successful years, Moeder Lambic gave birth to Moeder Lambic Fontainas, a more spacious venue in the center of town. With a whopping 40 beers on tap and six cask beer engines, the Lambic team has a quality beer to suit anyone’s taste, and if you don’t know what exactly yours is, the jovial personnel is always happy to help you find out.
Moeder Lambic Original, Rue de Savoie 68, 1060 Brussels, Belgium, +32 2 544 16 99
Moeder Lambic Fontainas, Place Fontainas 8, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, +32 2 503 60 68
A La Mort Subite
Managed by Bernard and Olivier, the great-grandsons of founder Théophile Vossen, A La Mort Subite is a family-owned legend. If it’s nostalgia you seek, you’ve come to the right address at this 1928 establishment. Its walls are plastered with yellowed photographs; its wooden booths are creaky, and its large windows and menus still boast the local specialties that were served here decades ago. A Gueuze or Lambic is what you’ll want to order, with the Mort Subite Gueuze, in particular, being a must-try.
A La Mort Subite, Warmoesberg 7, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, +32 2 513 13 18
Any beer fanatic knows the right glassware is key to doing a brewski’s individual characteristics justice, which is why Bier Circus has made a pledge to serve every single beer in its accompanying glass. Not a small commitment mind you, as their selection ranges from vintage beers that have gained their maturity over the years to all of the Belgian Trappists to other, more obscure specialties. Everything about Bier Circus screams beer, from its bottle cap art to its beer-tinted dishes. How about a fish waterzooi with Lambic?
Bier Circus, Rue de l’Eneignement 57, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, +32 2 218 00 34
Bier Circus | Courtesy of Bier Circus
La Porteuse d’Eau
Brasserie, Belgian, French, Pub Grub, $$$
La Porteuse d’Eau
Another great address for beer-based cuisine is La Porteuse d’Eau. The brasserie was named after the bronze statue of a water-carrying girl by local sculptor Julien Dillens that has decorated the brasserie’s adjacent square since 1900. The original may be gone, but a replica and her semblance in the café’s stained-glass windows keep the memory alive. The café’s local touch pairs well with its gorgeous Art Nouveau elements and its extensive Belgian beer selection.
La Porteuse d’Eau, Avenue Jean Volders 48, 1060 Brussels, Belgium, +32 2 537 66 46
La Porteuse d’Eau | Courtesy of La Porteuse d’Eau | Courtesy of La Porteuse d'Eau
Folklore knows no bounds at Poechenellekelder, where ‘poechenelles’ – or traditional puppets – and Manneken Pis memorabilia cover every inch of the walls and ceiling. The tavern is a next-door neighbor to Brussels’ most famous peeing boy statue. Its prime location makes for somewhat elevated prices, but beer connoisseur owner Michel De Triest makes up for it with an excellent selection of 150 beers that includes artisanal specialties from local craft breweries.
Poechenellekelder, Rue du Chêne 5, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, +32 2 511 92 62
Cafe, Belgian, $$$
Watering hole of choice for Brussels’ artists and anarchists, Au Daringman has been around since ‘42. The tiny corner pub struggles to fit 50, and its loyal Flemish customer base fills it up every evening. Au Daringman is the epitome of the brown bar or ‘bruin café’, an authentic pub that doesn’t care about fading trends and hasn’t changed its interior in decades, attracting the most bohemian crowd possible.
Au Daringman, Rue de Flandre 37, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, +32 2 512 43 23
Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
For once, the pink elephants you see after a few too many beers might actually be there: they’re all over the interior of Delirium Café. The pink elephant is the symbol of the Belgian Delirium Tremens beer, one of over 3,000 kinds this unique bar offers today. The three-floored café is the record holder of most beers available commercially worldwide, and its bestsellers are strong Belgian creations that you can order a liter at a time.
Delirium Café, Impasse de la Fidélité 4, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, +32 2 514 44 34
L’Amère à Boire
Holding its own amidst Flagey’s hipsterish bushel of bars, l’Amère à Boire respects the established popular products while at the same time adding some spectacular new finds to their menu. The young venue has its fingers on the pulse of the brewing industry and has become an industrial yet cozy space to sample something new in a laid-back atmosphere, occasionally with some sweet live tunes thrown into the mix.
L’Amère à Boire, Rue du Belvédère 8, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, +32 488 46 57 86
La Porte Noir
Also ready to make you shake it to live tunes is La Porte Noir, a hidden gem situated in what used to be the vaulted kitchen of a 16th-century convent. Charming cellar bars are one of the great joys of Belgian beer culture, and you can be sure La Porte Noir is one of them. Besides a selection of over a hundred beers, the smoking lounge is somewhat of a gentleman throwback where 80 kinds of whiskey and quality cigars can be enjoyed. Non-smokers can move their hips to a live band killing it in the basement.
La Porte Noir, Rue des Alexiens 67, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, +32 2 511 78 37
La Porte Noir | Courtesy of La Porte Noir