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
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
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
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
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