Over the last two years or so, we’ve been fortunate to have a close friend living abroad in central Brussels, and he’s always up for visitors. Now, whilst there’s much more to the Belgian capital than beer, it’s definitely the main attraction for me and beer geeks the world over. That’s because Brussels and the Pajottenland region to the south west are the epicentre of lambic beer, a complex spontaneous fermentation style that dates back hundreds of years.
The best place to start is with a self guided tour and several bottles at Cantillon Brewery (full post here), followed by a lengthy session at Brussels’ best beer bar, Moeder Lambic (either the cosier Saint-Gilles original, or the more central second site on Fontainasplein). Pop into Dynamo Bar de Soif if going for the former. You should also make time for trips to 3 Fonteinen‘s wonderful “Lambik-O-Droom” in Lot, and Gueuzerie Tilquin in Bierghes. Both are accessible by train and bus, but do check ahead for their opening times! And if you want to take it one step further, catch the 128 De Lijn bus out to In de Verzekering tegen de Grote Dorst, a traditional beer café in the village of Eizeringen that has an outstanding collection of lambic beer (including hard to find Bokkereyder bottles and vintage collectors items). Of course, it’s only open from 10am to 1.30pm on Sunday mornings and church holidays – that should weed out some of the tourists.
There’s also been a wave of new breweries opening in Brussels, led by Brasserie de La Senne and Brussels Beer Project (who have an impressive bar attached to the brewhouse). Round the corner from Cantillon, L’Ermitage Nanobrasserie has a stylish tasting room and a lot of promise. I’ve yet to make it to En Stoemelings and No Science, but they’re on the to-do list, as is the intriguing Beerstorming brewing workshop and bar. One relatively new beer hangout that I did make it to though is Le Barboteur, a brilliant beer shop and bar with stylish interior design, and an exciting and affordable range of beer to drink in or take away.
For hearty Belgian food, head to classic brasserie Fin de Siecle that always has some Brasserie de la Senne beers on tap, or to Nuetnigenough where you’ll find an extensive range of Brouwerij Alvinne beers. I’d also recommend Nordzee for seafood on the go; Frit Flagey for serious chips; Charli Bakery for an almond and chocolate croissant (every day); ramen, donburi and drinks in the backyard at Kumiko; mezzes at Otap; Italian food in a secret garden; friendly neighbourhood vibes at Oficina; candlelit pizzas at La Belle Equipe or squishier sourdough at Nona and MiTo. For brunch – have a buffet at Les Filles or La Fabrique, toast and granola at MOK, all the eggs at Yeti, or something healthy at Hinterland. They are good options for a caffeine fix too, along with Parlor, OR, Aksum and many more. If you wander around Saint-Gilles, Chatelain, Rue Saint-Boniface, and Flagey, you’ll have an even longer list in no time. For loads more ideas and up to date news, check out the excellent Brussels Kitchen website. P.S. Their BK’s Table & Le Brunch Club events look fun!
Take some photos in the Grande Place. Buy some chocolate. Hang out by the Ixelles ponds. Eat some moules frites. Drink some beer. Repeat. Eurostar is the only way to go and Airbnb is your friend. Weekend escapes from London don’t get much easier than this. Let me know how you get on!
Matt The Tips – Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you are planning a trip to Brussels and have any questions, or if you have some suggestions for places I should check out next time! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Plan your own adventure with Map The List : Brussels