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Belgium: A Beer Trip Full of Joie de Vivre

From ancient breweries to divine brews, immerse yourself in Belgium: a beer lover's paradise. Discover the rich history of Belgian brewing, unique tasting experiences and the warmth of its people. Don't miss the Belgian Beer World and rooftop bar with breathtaking views. Cheers to a beer connoisseur's dream come true!

Belgium: A Beer Trip Full of Joie de Vivre

Belgium has long been a bastion of beer excellence. With generations of brewing acumen under its belt thanks to Trappist monks, early production brewery juggernauts and its inimitable “Belgian yeast” (which has remained a popular flavor for centuries), Belgium stands as perhaps the foremost country in the world when it comes to beer.

Though dates are hazy regarding the oldest breweries in Belgium (as are many of the naturally cloudy brews in the country), both Brouwerij Timmermans – famed lambic producers – and Brouwerij de Halve Maan – makers of Straffe Hendrik – claim to have been brewing beer in their original locations for over 500 years.

Despite years of beer connoisseurship, I had never personally traveled to the great nation of Belgium (for shame), but I finally got the opportunity thanks to the wonderful hosts at Visit Flanders – who created an amazing, stuffed-to-the-gills-with-beery-goodness itinerary for me to follow in the middle of September.

Following a series of layovers across the U.S., I finally arrived in Brussels after only a mild two-hour delay at customs upon entering the country. While the people that worked at the Brussels airport were nothing but pleasant (far more so than many U.S. airports I’ve visited), the lengthy queuing process did put a slight damper on my excitement to imbibe high-quality Belgian brews… but not for long! After zooming out of the airport, I was immediately taken to perhaps the most notable spot on the itinerary – the iconic Brasserie Cantillon (below).

Upon arrival, the first thing that hits you when crossing the threshold of Cantillon is the smell. The brewery is redolent of musky, wild, funky and fruity aromas that can only come from centuries of brewing some of the most highly regarded lambics in the world. While my customs travails forced me to miss much of the tour, I arrived in time to peer into the (empty) coolship at the top of the brewery as well as see the brewery’s work-in-progress conservatory for lambic, opening in 2024/25.

The Cantillon brewery tour is a must-visit for any beer connoisseurs visiting Brussels.

Of course, I wouldn’t miss the tasting for the world, as I imbibed the Cantillon lambic, gueuze and kriek in quick succession – all poured consecutively into the same glass so that each brew’s flavors and aromas can meld and blend together, conveying a truly one-of-a-kind drinking experience at one of the most notable lambic producers in the world.


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