Potential trip

It has been quite a few years since I have been to Belgium and the Netherlands, but am entertaining the idea of a trip back in late January. Are the lambic breweries still open to the public that time of year? I have been to Cantillon and 3 Fonteinen, but none of the others. Boon looks to be relatively easy to get to from the Halle train station, Oud Beersel the same by bus from Lot. Is this true? Are any of the other breweries accessible by train or bus? I have the Lambicland book, but imagine a lot of the information is outdated. I sort of want to go to Mechelen as well, stop by Gouden Carolus. I have been to lots of Belgian cities…Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Brugge, Ostend, Kortrijk, Mons, Tournai, Namur, Tongeren, Charleroi…but have barely been to any proper breweries…seems hard to do without a car. Any beer centric destinations I should think about?

I recently read a good article online about a tram along the coast that included a couple of brewery stops that sounded very nice.

Going to try to answer some of these questions but they’re a bit big in scope. In short Belgium has some tap rooms and great ones at that but it’s a bar and not a taproom culture predominantly. Breweries in Wallonia are far harder to reach with public transportation than those in the rest of the county. I do not know how many days you have since this is a big factor. You can do a lot doing Brussels – Antwerpen – Mechelen – Gent. If you narrow it down to some cities or something more specific I can provide more information.

Regarding the lambiek breweries:

• Bierhuis Oud Beersel – yes the new revamp bar with 20 taps is amazing and is only a short bus ride from Lot.
• Yes Boon is close to the station and easy to reach.
• Het Boerenerf Eylenbosch – not to be confused with the other Eylenbosch is also close to Lambiek-o-droom etc. so easy to reach.
• Den Herberg & De Cam are also open to the public but take more time with public transport etc.


• I really like Het Anker (Gouden Carolus) and they opened a new brewery in a church (Batteliek), De Floeren Aap is an amazing bar in Mechelen as well, Den Stillen Genieter is great if you dig excentric running old school bar café vibe & De Gouden Vis has great Art Deco architecture.

• Obviously, a long list of place if you’re looking for breweries La Source, Mazette, L’Ermitage all make amazing beer and are all reachable with public transportation.

• Once again breweries or places? Dok & Stroom are fun breweries to visit but not as high quality as the ones mentioned in Brussels.

• Uncharted makes amazing beer but it’s tiny and not open to public, their beer is served at Station 1280 which has a great lambiek selection, other breweries in Antwerpen are not easy to reach or not worth the effort. Gistgeest has a tap room, fun but not essential.

Brugge: I like Brugge and it hits every travel itinerary but unless it’s essential I would recommend skipping it, you can find similar architecture elsewhere without being surrounded by hoards of tourists.

Ostende: no idea how that made the list, same with Charlerloi, Tongeren makes sense for history but not beer? Mons is cool but also not a chosen beer destination, if you’re looking for a destination in Wallonia, Liège would be my recommendation.

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The tram line is cool but the Belgian coast is in general very gray & concrete and far less interesting beer wise than most of Belgium. In the winter it isn’t too pleasant, summer getting there is often a huge hassle due to everyone taking the trains at the same time.

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All of the cities I listed were cities I have already visited/stayed in and was not as curious about as I had some idea already. That said, I haven’t even heard of the three Brussels breweries you mentioned so I know I am behind the times.

Thank you very much for the Lambic brewery advice, any advice on traversing that general area is greatly appreciated. The only time I was there I walked everywhere and that didn’t work out so well.

The situation has changed in the few past years so plenty of new places to find. Not many local beer geeks review online and tourists for obvious reasons visit a limited number of places.

Oud Beersel, 3 Fonteinen, Eylenbosch Boerenerf are all clustered together and are easy to do with train + walk/bus. Boon is also close to a station as is Streekproductencentrum which has a great lambiek selection (this is only a store). For De Cam & Den Herberg, you can rent bikes in Brussels and take them on a train, this is the easiest way to these breweries. If you go this route Kerstemont can be open if you contact them beforehand I believe.

For Brussels:
• L’Ermitage has a brewery close to Cantillon & taproom in Sint-Gillis + store across Cantillon.
• Sint-Gillis is probably the most interesting place for beer in Brussels and has Mazette brewery, Dynamo bar, Malt Attacks beer store, lots of cool bars not catering to geeks like Verschuren (has their own De Ranke beer) & cidrothèque (Badi.) and Le Dillens with a solid list of Cantillon + original Moeder Lambiek which has not gone totally crap like the other one.
• De La Senne + La Source brewery are close to each other and have big taprooms, extremely worthwhile.
• In another area you have La Mule who specialize in lager styles, have a tap room and make amazing beer, Le Barboteur is really nearby and great taplist of mainly Brussels beers you won’t find easily elsewhere.
• More in the “centre”: Gist is an amazing bar, what Moeder Lambiek used to be quality & selection wise, Brasserie Surréaliste is an interesting new brewery close to BBP whith a crazy looking taproom.

As for other towns not visited by you yet, Liège is the most obvious one. Lots of stuff rebuild in the town, Brasserie {C} makes decent beer, the beer selection of Wild Lab Liege is amazing, Pot Au Lait is a ridiculous interior metal bar + Blaes has a great lambiek, wine selection, used to have their own lambiek made, might be still around.