Beer Tour: Brussels
Maggie Danielli Pecorino
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Food & Wine
Belgian beer culture is recognized by UNESCO on its “Intangible Cultural Heritage” list — and for good reason: Belgium has been brewing since as early as 1074 AD. It is also home to six of thirteen registered Trappist breweries in the world. The history of the country runs equally deep. International influence on its capital, Brussels, has coalesced into a city of diverse culture encompassing art, cuisine and its citizens. Above all, Brussels was my beer awakening. There are too many renowned breweries and beloved brasseries in and around the city to cover in one trip — use this guide as a jumping off point.
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Where to stay
A sophisticated and stylish oasis blending historical charm with modern elegance in the vibrant heart of Brussel.
Sofitel Brussels Europe
This sophisticated and elegant property is located in the heart of the city, close to the famous Cinquantenaire park and several museums. Your room will have a view of the hotel's beautiful interior patio or the Jourdan Square.
Hotel / resort credit.
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Meininger Hostel Brussels
A modern, budget-friendly hostel offering comfortable accommodations and a central location in the heart of Brussels.
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Day 1: Settle in
Check brewery opening hours in advance. They are subject to change based on season and daily operations.
Most locations offer guided tours on specific days. Take a look at each website to confirm times and see which calls out to you (you won’t be able to visit them all.)
Take a walk around the city center and get your bearings. Enjoy Grand Place lit up at night in all its glory. In my opinion, one of the most beautiful central squares around.
Dinner: Moules & Frites. Mussels in Brussels grew in popularity during the 16th century as a more affordable/available alternative to fish. Now every restaurant in the center caters to the rhyme. (Rec: Le Pêcheur was really tasty, offering a variety of sauces and large portions.)
Brussels Beer Project (Dansaert) is a colorful taproom with brews for every palate. Great place to start and try a variety of Belgian styles.
Cozy Café Bizon hosts regular Blues Jams OR around the corner is Le Coq, a typical Belgian “brown bar” with a local vibe and solid drink deals.
Day 2: Zuid
Wafel: One cannot visit Belgium without eating a waffle or three. Most shops offer a choice between between the Belgian wafel — light and fluffy, and the Liege wafel — dense and sweet. Toppings range from fruit to speculoos cookie butter, though I take my liege plain.
Museums: The capital of Belgium is home to over 80 museums. If you’re craving a little culture pre-beer culture…
Take the train south from your nearest station. There are quite a few options South of the city center. Those listed below focus on traditional Belgian lambieks, or lambics — beer that is spontaneously fermented through exposure to wild yeast and native bacteria of the Zenne valley.
3 Fonteinen: My personal favorite. Beautiful taproom. Insane vintage bottle selection. If you like the sound of tart cherry, try the Oude Kriek Intens Rood.
Oud Beersel: Storied house of lambics since 1882 with a newly reopened taproom renovated in 2022.
Boon: Small farm brewery home to the world’s largest stock of Lambic in oak barrels.
Lambiek Fabriek: A new friend from 2016, dubbed “the house of the geuze.”
Moeder Lambic: Cozy taproom, good variety. There is also a location closer to center.
Dinner at Wolf Food Market, a popular international food hall. Well-designed circular floor plan. Something for everyone. In-house brews, of course.
Day 3: Centrale
Leisurely brunch in Marolles.
Recs: Lucifer Lives and L’Eau Chaude for vegetarians, Haute Brunch for sandwiches and more.
Stroll around the neighborhood near the impressive Palais de Justice. Marolles is home to a boatload of unique shops, antique stores and vintage vaults.
Cantillon is famed and family-run. Nothing about the beer or brewing process has changed since 1900 when it was founded.
Fuel up at Plaka: Recommended by a local friend, Plaka makes some of the best kebab I’ve had on my travels. (Brussels has a large Turkish population, btw.) Fresh pita and tender meat. Cheap, quick and delicious. Then, head around the corner to…
Delirium Cafe: Filled with tourists? No question. Necessary stop? Absolutely. End your night at this bustling bar serving not only the famed Delirium beers, but dozens of beautiful Belgians.
Day 4: Nord
Atomium: One of the city’s most unique attractions, this enormous stainless-steel atom-like structure was built in 1958 for the Brussels World Fair and houses light show instillations and an exhibition on the history of the city and its famed structure. (Tip: Purchase tickets in advance to avoid the queue.)
Breweries within 10 minutes of each other:
Brasserie de la Senne: A focus on light, bitter beers (though with great variety.) Despite their success, Senne’s export remains limited. With brewers born and raised in Brussels, the city is their primary market — drink locally!
En Stoemelings: Small space, small team with a passion for the craft.
La Source: New in 2019, this airy and spacious taproom is great for families. Nice variety of brews. Food pop-ups and music events.
Or in the quiet Schaerbeek neighborhood:
Brasserie de la Mule: Local favorite with a focus on German beers. Old brick building with patio space. Live music.
Le Barboteur: Easy to miss, comfy, corner taproom filled with groovy old beer posters, a solid selection of bottles for takeaway and a rotating tap from several Brussels brewhouses.
Nearby: Boentje Café — Laidback spot with a rotating menu and ethical zero-waste concept.
Time for some rest. That was a lot of beer.
Need to Know
Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, The First Timer’s Guide to Copenhagen.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Europe.