The best breweries in Belgium for beer lovers
Belgium and beer are inextricably bound up with each other. When you think of Belgium, you think of beer. And when you think of beer, you think of Belgium. Did you know that there are 176 beer breweries in Belgium? Some of the special Belgian breweries distinguish themselves from the rest due to their striking character. There are even today still abbeys in which the monks brew the beer, as it has been for centuries. Most of the breweries you can visit, and we made a list of 10 breweries in Belgium, that you should visit!
De Koninck, Antwerp
City brewery De Koninck is a beer brewery located in the Belgian city of Antwerp. The company was founded in 1833 by Johannes Vervliet, when he decided to re-build an existing building into a brewery. The brewery received a 21st century upgrade after being taken over by Duvel Moortgat in 2010.
CNN said “This might be one of Belgium’s most accessible brewery tours”. De Koninck is opened between 10 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. daily except Monday. The tours end with a beer tasting, but there are also food shops where you can try handmade chocolates at Jitsk, Belgian cheeses at Van Tricht, and cured sausages at De Laet & Van Haver butchers.
Address: Mechelsesteenweg 291, 2018 Antwerpen
Trappist Abbey of Westmalle
Westmalle is a trappist beer brewed in the Abbey of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Westmalle. The monastery of Westmalle was elevated to the “abbey of the Order of the Trappists in 1836”.
Until today, the monks seek the best quality for the beer-making, and invest the money they earn from the sale. The beers are brewed with pure water, malt, real hop, sugar and self-cultivated yeast. The brewery is located within the walls of the abbey and is unfortunately not directly accessible. Nevertheless, a visit to the abbey is a great experience, and you can also buy cheese at the abbey port. Opposite the abbey you will find Café Trappisten where you can drink some of the delicious beers.
Address: Antwerpsesteenweg 496, 2390 Westmalle
Westvleteren is a trappist beer brewed by the monks of the Saint-Sixtus Abbey of Westvleteren.
The brewery has limited production, but the beer has been voted several times the best in the world! There are three different beers: blond, 8 and 12. All beers are brewed from five natural components, and have a distillation inside the bottle. Due to the low production, it is important to reserve the beer before buying it in the abbey. It is unfortunately not possible to visit the brewery itself, but you can visit the abbey and find out more about the life there.
Address: Donkerstraat 12, 8640 Vleteren
Brewery of Achouffe
Brasserie d’Achouffe is a Belgian brewery located in the Luxembourg village of Achouffe, part of Wibrin, a town in Houffalize in the Ourthe Valley. What started as a hobby for two brothers-in-law, has become a beer brand sold all over the world.
When you want to visit the brewery, you need to book your visit online or call in advance. The tour is around one and a half hours, and you will be informed about the origin of Achouffe and how the beer is brewed. After the tour there is a small beer tasting.
Address: Achouffe 32, 6666 Houffalize
Brewery De Halve Maan, Bruges
Brewery De Halve Maan, or translated “The Half Moon Brewery”, also known as Henri Maes Brewery, is a family brewery located in the ancient Belgian city of Bruges.
Real beer enthusiasts might want to take on the XL tour with a guide, that will lead you through a tasting of three different special beers in the cellars of the brewery. The brewery is home to the world’s first beer pipeline: the two-mile pipe opened last year and connects the brewery to a bottling plant in the suburbs, cutting down on the use of trucks that had to go through the city’s historic center.
Address: Walplein 26, 8000 Brugge
Duvel Moortgat Brewery is a Belgian family brewery, founded in 1871 by Jan Leonardus Moortgat and located in Antwerp Breendonk, a municipality of Puurs. The original recipe for Duvel was inspired by English ales. Albert Moortgat travelled to Scotland to find the specific strain of yeast he wanted. It’s still used in until today.
Originally Duvel was called “Victory Ale” when it came on the market many years ago. The product name was changed after a local shoemaker stated during a tasting session: “This is a real devil” (“duvel” means devil in Flemish), and was renamed in 1923.
Address: Breendonk-Dorp 58, 2870 Puurs
Brewery Het Anker, Mechelen
Het Anker is a city brewery located in Mechelen. The brewery is located on the edge of the beguinage of Mechelen, and it is brewing the beers Gouden Carolus, Maneblusser, Lucifer and Boscoli. This is one of the oldest breweries in Belgium, founded in 1471.
The Van Breedam family bought the brewery in 1872, the current owner is named Leclef as his mother was called Van Breedam. If you decide to eat something there, take “a plate of stoofvlees”. Het Anker-brewery also has an on-site hotel.
Address: Guido Gezellelaan 49, 2800 Mechelen
Chimay is a trappist beer brewed in the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Scourmont in Chimay in the Belgian province of Hainaut. About 170,000 hectoliters of beer are brewed annually.
There are five types of beer. The intention is to try work with several types of wood to keep the beer in, and see what its effect is on the taste of it. The brewery wants to continue to develop and invent new tastes. At the abbey you can visit the church, the garden and the cemetery. The brewery is closed to the public, but more information about the brewing process and the abbey itself can be found in the nearby museum: Chimay Experience.
Address: Espace Chimay, Rue de Poteaupré 5, 6464 Bourlers
Located within the confines of the Abbey, the Orval Brewery was created in 1931 to finance the enormous reconstruction works of Orval.
At the start of the brewery, “ordinary” believers from outside the abbey were accepted as workers. One of these people was a certain Mr. Pappenheimer. He is responsible for the recipe as it is still used. The brewery itself can not be visited due to the rules of the abbey. However, you can visit the ruins, a museum and a shop at the abbey.
Address: Abbaye d’Orval, Orval 1, 6823 Villers-devant-Orval
Notre-Dame of Saint-Remy, Rochefort
The Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy abbey in Rochefort belongs to the Cistercians of Strict Observance, the trappists. Rochefort is a trappist beer brewed in this abbey, in the province of Namur. The Cistercian Abbey for Nuns was founded in 1230, but destroyed around 1789.
The water used during brewing comes from a natural source near the abbey. The water is not processed in any way before it is used for the brewing process.
Address: Rue de l’ Abbaye 8, 5580 Rochefort
Cantillon Brewery and Museum
Cantillon invites you to experience the various steps in the really traditional production of the famous Lambic, Kriek and Gueuze beers, among some others you should try out. This is the family brewery of the Van Roy-Cantillon family, and here nothing has changed since early 1900’s, when the brewery was founded. Everything is done like it was done since the beginning, from the brewing process, to the bottling, and even the 100 year old copper containers and barrels! So put this one one your list, and get ready to take a step in their time-machine. Cheers!
Address: Rue Gheude 56, 1070 Brussels (Anderlecht)
City Brewery Guut Ghent
In this brewery you are welcome to take a medieval beer-walk-tour, by beer coach Ariël Meeuwsen. It’s a city walk where you will visit 25 specific locations in medieval city of Ghent, following its brew history. This way you will learn to know Ghent in a completely different way, and that’s what makes this tour so special and unique! Of course this includes some beers-tasting, if not this tour would not be complete!
You are also welcome in the brewery for having something to eat, and of course for some beer drinking! There are five local Gentse Gruut beers to discover and to taste. After that, you can enjoy a range of local specialties, including some typical snacks like Breydelham, Uuflacke and Gruut pâté. I’ll drink to that!
Address: Rembert Dodoensdreef 1 , 9000 Gent
Anything you think we forgot to mention? Tell us in the comments below!