Belgium is renowned worldwide for its rich beer culture and the sheer variety of beers produced in the country. From Trappist ales to lambics and saisons, Belgium beer offers a beer experience like no other. If you're a beer enthusiast looking to explore the depths of Belgian brewing traditions, a brewery tour is a must-do activity. In this article, we'll take you on a journey through Belgium's beer culture, highlighting the best breweries to visit and the unique beers you can taste along the way.
The History of Belgian Beer
Belgian beer has a long and storied history dating back centuries. Monastic brewing traditions, such as those practiced by Trappist monks, have shaped the country's beer culture. These monks have been brewing beer since the Middle Ages, and their dedication to quality and craftsmanship is evident in every sip.
The Brewing Process
Belgium is home to a wide range of brewing styles and techniques. From traditional methods to innovative approaches, Belgian brewers are known for their creativity and willingness to experiment. During a brewery tour, you'll get a behind-the-scenes look at the brewing process, from mashing and boiling to fermentation and bottling. You'll also learn about the ingredients used, including unique strains of yeast and locally sourced hops.
Westvleteren Brewery: Located in the quiet countryside of West Flanders, Westvleteren Brewery is famous for producing some of the world's best Trappist ales. The brewery is known for its limited production and strict distribution system, making a visit here a truly exclusive experience.
Cantillon Brewery: Situated in Brussels, Cantillon Brewery is a living museum of traditional lambic brewing. The brewery produces spontaneously fermented beers using wild yeasts and bacteria, resulting in complex and tart flavors. A tour of Cantillon is a journey into the history of lambic brewing.
Rochefort Brewery: Nestled in the Ardennes region, Rochefort Brewery is another Trappist brewery worth visiting. The brewery is known for its strong and flavorful ales, including the famous Rochefort 10. Explore the beautiful abbey grounds and enjoy a tasting of their exquisite beers.
Duvel Moortgat Brewery: Located in Puurs, Duvel Moortgat Brewery is famous for its iconic Duvel beer. During a tour, you'll learn about the brewing process behind this golden strong ale and get a chance to sample some of their other popular beers, such as Vedett and La Chouffe.
A brewery tour in Belgium is an immersive experience that allows you to delve into the country's rich beer culture. From historic Trappist breweries to innovative lambic producers, Belgium offers a wide range of beer styles and flavors to explore. So, grab a pint, raise your glass, and embark on a beer-filled adventure through the heart of Belgium.