The reputation of Belgian beers has long since spread beyond our borders. Over the last ten years, Brussels has seen a renewed interest in artisanal production and craft beers.
The capital is home to the iconic Brasserie Cantillon, a true historical Brussels brewing gem, but today, a dozen or so young breweries are revisiting the great classics. Brussels' brewers are creating, testing, modernising... they don't want to simply rest on their laurels and are bringing a modern approach to Brussels' brewing heritage. Most of them are located along the banks of the canal and in the neighbourhood around Tour & Taxis, as well as in Saint-Gilles and Anderlecht. If you don't know them yet, read on to discover the capital's emblematic breweries.
Laeken. En Stoemelings is the brewery of Samuel Languy and Denys Van Elewyck, two friends who are passionate about craft beer. They have been brewing together for almost 10 years, first "en stoemelings" (Brussels dialect for 'in secret') and then in a genuine brewery. Their beers revisit Belgium's great classics: triple, white, blonde, amber... Order on their website.
Laeken. Maxime Dumay and Manuel Mengoni, who founded Brasserie No Science, have a motto: “No bullshit, only beers”. They showcase a number of "English-style" beers to which they've added their own "Belgian touch": IPAs, Porters, Bitters and Single Hops. The beers of No Science are characterised by their floral bitterness. Order online.
Laeken. La Source is a micro-brewery, coupled with a bar, set up at Be-Here. Couple Mathieu Huygens and Nina Carleer, produce 15 or so artisanal beers. A special feature of the place is that five vats have been fitted with taps, allowing you to drink straight from “the source”. Order on their website.
City of Brussels. Yvan De Baets and Bernard Leboucq were among those who initiated the revival of craft beer in the Belgian capital. They strive to produce naturally brewed beers using quality ingredients. Their beers - Taras Boulba, Zinnebir and Zenne Pils - all have a beautiful, deep and floral bitterness, the kind that whets the appetite and quenches your thirst! They can all be sampled in the bar on site. Order on their website.
Anderlecht. Cantillon brewery has a family history, that of the Van Roy-Cantillon family. This historic brewery, founded in 1900 in Anderlecht, still brews in the traditional way. This is where the famous local bacteria, Brettanomyces bruxellensis, spontaneously ferments the wort, before it is put into barrels and becomes lambic, then gueuze. The gueuzes and lambics from Cantillon brewery are true legends that are exported around the world. But luckily you don't need to go far, as you can taste on site. Order on their website.
Saint-Gilles. Grégoire Berthon and Max Lagrillière have been friends since school and both have been passionate about beer since they were old enough to drink it. In 2017, they opened L'Annexe, their own brewery and fermentation facility, where, in addition to beer, they produce other fermented drinks. They work with old recipes that they bring up to date and do not hesitate to market.
© Bart Lemmens
Anderlecht. In 2013, Henry, François and Nacim were roommates and passionate about beer. They lived together on rue de l'Ermitage in Ixelles, hence the brewery's name. It was in their kitchen that they tested their first brews. After several years of trial and error, the beers with the sweet names of Lantern, Emperor's Theorem, Soleil and Noire du Midi were born and are a real success. Taste them in their Anderlecht taproom or in their famous bar on rue de Moscou in Saint-Gilles. Order on their website.
Evere. Olivier Huens has been passionate about science since childhood. The chemical and physical transformations of materials have always fascinated him. Moving on to brewing was a logical step for him. By creating the H2O Brewery in 2016, he fulfilled his dream of becoming a brewer. He brews three beers: a pale Belgian ale, a triple lager and a wheat beer. Order on their website.
Anderlecht. You'll find La Jungle micro-brewery in the Hangar du Kanaal, on the banks of Brussels' canal. Christophe, Félix and Martin, the co-founders, strive to reinterpret classic Belgian and German beers, using European ingredients. In July 2020, "La Saison du Kanaal" was born: a blonde beer, with a slight bitterness and peppery flavour.
© Mathieu Golinvaux
Saint-Gilles. More than just a brewery, Beerstorming is, above all, an original concept that invites groups of beer lovers to "brainstorm" and create their own beers. Apprentices are then involved in every stage of the brewing process. There is also a system for voting for other brews. The ones with the most votes are marketed for 3 months. Order online.
City of Brussels. The Brussels Beer Project concept is one of co-creation. Gone are the great classics, here beer has evolved and modernised. Their most popular beers are the Delta IPA, Grosse Bertha and Babylone. BBP is always offering something new. Olivier and Sébastien dream up about forty new beers every year. The two enthusiasts create them through meetings with brewers or members of their community. Curious? Head to their taproom to taste their latest creations. Order on their website.