Some are closed to the public, others only offer tours for groups, and a lot are tucked away somewhere in the countryside; visiting the Belgian breweries that are hailed for producing some of the world’s best beers can be tricky. Let us help you out by introducing you to five must-visit breweries in our two-part series dedicated to Belgian beer craftsmanship.
If you’ll be drinking one strong beer while in Belgium, chances are it will be a Duvel. The golden pale ale served in a tulip-shaped glass is a staple of the tiny country’s beer culture, having cultivated a loyal following. Founder Jan-Leonard Moortgat and his two sons made real waves with their small family brewery in Breendonk when they introduced a distinctive beer with a subtle, bitter aftertaste after WWI. During a taste test the village’s shoemaker, impressed by the ale’s mighty aromas, supposedly said: ‘This is a real devil.’ With that, the beer’s name was a fact and in 1923 ‘Duvel’ (devil in Flemish dialect) started conquering Belgian beer lovers’ hearts.
Particularly pleasant about their grand-scale brewery – run by the fourth generation of Moortgats – is the choice between three different tours. Complete amateurs in the world of beer walk a different path to connoisseurs, who have no trouble distinguishing their malts from their hops.
Regular tour: Monday to Friday, at 1pm, 4pm and 7pm (7pm not on Fridays) and Saturday at 11pm and 2pm
Entry: €9 – €37 (from standard to luxury formula)
Not exactly a brewery but a place symbolizing just how ingrained beer is in Belgian culture, the Brewer’s House is home to the Union of Belgian Brewers, uniting all of the breweries in the country. Their pick for a headquarters couldn’t be more fitting as the richly decorated house called ‘the Golden Tree’ on Brussels’ historic Grand-Place has been home to the Brewer’s Guild since the end of the 16th century. Its vaulted basements have been turned into a brewer’s museum with traditional equipment from the 18th century on display to keep the legacy alive.
Individual visits or planned group visits (a minimum of 10 people) from Monday to Sunday, 10pm – 5pm
Grand-Place 10, Brussels, Belgium, + 32 2 511 4987