Beer in Belgium

Nov 11th, 2010, 04:20 AM
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Beer in Belgium

We will be in Belgium, probably staying in Brussels for about 4 days. We love beer. Does anyone have suggestions for great breweries to visit or excellent beer bars to go to within a day trip of Brussels, or in Brussels itself? ( I love a good Flemish Sour Ale, and all sorts of other Belgian beers)

tanyaviola is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 05:39 AM
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My daughter is beer crazy and one of her favorite beers is Atomium Grand Cru. Don't know if they do tours and the English part of their website doesn't work. This beer is hard to find in the US, but used to be available at Deep Ellum in Boston (one of her favorite places in Boston to drink beer).

If you are in Chicago, The Map Room is another place she always goes. They really know their beer here (it's all they do), but they don't do food although you can bring your own or they have a stack of delivery menus if you want to order something.
kybourbon is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 06:13 AM
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My personal favourite is Duchesse de Bourgogne, a Flanders red ale-style beer produced by Brouwerij Verhaeghe in Vichte, Belgium. Easy to find in Brussels or if you get to Bruges try it at t’Brugs Beertje pub (Kemelstraat 5)
bellini is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 06:18 AM
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Why not rent a car one day and try what most beer experts rate as the best beer in the world (the #12, although the #8 rates almost as high).

NOT available in stores or pubs - you actually have to GO there. You could even combine it with a trip to the Ypers battlefields. Get a six-pack at the gift shop and be the envy of all your beer nerd friends when you return to the US.

There are MANY great beer bars throughout the country, the best in the world is a short train ride away in central Antwerp with over 450 beers available, mostly Belgians, a good percentage are over 10 years old and some over 30 years old. They have most every vintage of Chimay Blue going back for years. But, you can't get St. Sixtus Westvleteren there - see above.

Vleminckveld 32
Antwerp, Belgium 2000
phone - 03 232 45 38
Closed Sundays

...and a good list of beer bars in Brussels itself:
bardo1 is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 02:34 PM
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Thanks! I have some of my own favorites too, but some are not available to tour. Is there any decent/safe way to bring home some bottles? You can't take liquid on the plane, right? Hmmm....wonder if it's even possible to bring some back. Mostly, I'll just be drinking and tasting them there and taking lots of pictures of them I guess
tanyaviola is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 02:56 PM
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I'm having a Duvel right now. Yummy, yummy. One of the most mild ales I've ever had!
pauljagman is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 03:58 PM
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I usually wrap any liquids in newspaper followed by bubble wrap and all tightly sealed with packing tape. Then stick it in the center of my checked bag surrounded on all sides by clothing.

If you are located in the NYC/NJ area, there is a great liquor store that sells a ton of single bottle beer. I buy my nephew's Christmas present there every year... a selection of different Belgium beers so he can do a 'beer tasting'! He seems to like the blue Chimay the best so far.

joannyc is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 04:02 PM
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I just read the website requirements to get a bottle of St. Sixtus. That is a HARD beer to buy! Must reserve to buy by phone, must have the proper licence plate # on your car, only once per month, etc. Is the beer really that good?

I am intrigued. I'll be in Belgium in May to visit my Son -- Maybe I'll make a phone call -

nukesafe is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 05:09 PM
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Joannyc-hahaha, no, I don't live there, but, we have good friends in S. Plainfield who also love beer and so we've been to that BuyRite in the past!! Great store And thanks for the bottle packing tip.

Yes, I also was reading about reservations for that specific St Sixtus beer. First, I don't want to buy a huge crate, which seems to be the only amount you can buy. Oh well. If I'm in the area, I guess I could taste some at their welcome ctr.

I'm sure wherever I go, I'll taste lots of excellent beer that I can't get here. I also do love the lambics, so that would be great to sample as well.

I also recently had some great Petrus sours and an amazing Piraate Triple! Wonder if I can visit those breweries. Will look those up.
tanyaviola is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 10:44 PM
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If you love lambics, then you should head to Chez Moeder Lambic in Brussels.
The original bar is at 68 rue de Savoie in the St Gilles district, but there is now another branch in the centre of Brussels, at 8 Place Fontainas. Not only is there a great selection of beers, but the staff are incredibly knowledgeable. (some reviews here:

The other well known bar that beer lovers head to in Brussels is Delirium Café at 4a Impasse de la Fidelité, again in the city centre ( I haven't been there but I know its very popular, with a huge selection of beers.
hanl is offline  
Nov 12th, 2010, 04:02 AM
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We brought back a bunch of beer from Belgium - in a checked suitcase, wrapped in clothing. No bubble wrap or tape. It actually takes quite a bit of effort to break a beer bottle. I've transported a lot of wine that way too.
november_moon is offline  
Nov 12th, 2010, 04:35 AM
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tanyaviola (and nukesafe),

You do NOT have to buy a whole case - in fact, it is MUCH simpler just to buy a few bottles. To get a few bottles (up to 6?), you can simply go into the gift shop at the Abbey and purchase a few bottles ("wholesale").

No reservation, no phone calls, etc.).

You can also often find it (not always) available in the larger beer stores (with considerable price markup) in Belgium. While it is brewed at St. Sixtus, the beer is known simply as Westvleteren. I found a photo of the label (below) so you'll recognize it on the beer store shelf.
bardo1 is offline  
Nov 12th, 2010, 06:11 AM
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Westvleteren is an absolute must try at any cost, especially the Trippel which is ranked as the number one beer in the world year after year, the Dubbel comes close. Rent a car with the right number and do whatever it takes so you can buy it directly from the St Sixtus Abbey for less. For me, the experience of going there made me feel like I was searching for the Holy Grail. They have a separate beer distribution center apart from the abbey, but being a nosy catholic, I stopped by at the abbey and rang to chat a bit with the gracious monks while my wife waited in the car. You can also buy the Westvleteren in many beer stores in Bruges for more money. I brought back a dozen beers along with their special glasses in our suitcases, not a problem as long as you check them in and pack them well. From time to time, Draegers, one of the specialty supermarkets in San Mateo (San Francisco bay area) carries the Westvleteren for $15 a bottle, and they actually sell out at that price!
DAX is offline  
Nov 12th, 2010, 02:58 PM
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Hmmm, I wonder if that place is near a train station. That will be our mode of transportation for the whole trip. Anyway, it sounds like it's a must, even I just get a bottle or two at their store/welcome center.

hanl-thanks...will def. look for those bars!
tanyaviola is offline  
Nov 12th, 2010, 03:06 PM
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It will likely be a combo of train and bus - not convenient without a car. I suggest you pay a few dollars more per bottle and try the better beer stores (and ask at the beer bars). The beer mark-up is certainly cheaper (and easier) than the cost of the public transport.
bardo1 is offline  
Nov 12th, 2010, 04:27 PM
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Ok...I will be visiting some other breweries, so maybe for this particular one, I'll try to find it in stores, even for a few more dollars. I'll be making a list!
tanyaviola is offline  
Nov 13th, 2010, 04:17 PM
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A good bar to go to in Brussels is Delirium which has over 2000 beers. You'll need to ask for the larger catalogue than the smaller one on the tables. Right across from Delerium is La Fee Verte Absinthe House which also has over 2000 spirits. Further down the alley you'll find the Jeanneken Pis statue (female version of the Mannekin Pis) so it is a great alley to visit and enjoy a drink.
Nadia is offline  
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