Hotel Le Limbourg – Rochefort. Good quiet big rooms with soft beds.
A good beer menu including all the Rocheforts. Emphasis is on regional beers.
Good food. An interesting street to sit and people-watch.
And the run of the place at night with our own key to the front door.
Le Bier Circus – Brussels.
A big, bright restaurant on a side street in northeast area inside the inner
Fancy food. Lots of beers. Nuff said.
We passed on the “Beef Stewed in Gueuze, Mustard and Chocolate”.
3 Fonteinen’s home tap – Beersel. Bright family restaurant.
Crowded with Sunday apres-church diners. Get the fish soup.
They serve their Lambik, Kriek, and Faro from a traditional handpump.
Can’t recommend the Lambik or Faro though the Kriek is exceptional.
Just a beautiful front of the bar across the street from the Leffe Abbey.
The inscription above the door reads “l’ historie de la Leffe”. Sadly it was
So we went to this seedy little bar directly next to the Leffe Abbey.
Had to stop in for a Leffe or two of course (actually 4).
Friendly enough but we split when an argument escalated after one patron
kissed his middle finger before showing it to the woman he had a disagreement
de Hop Duvel – Ghent. Quiet college crowd. 8 creaky rambling rooms, a garden,
and an upstairs room up a narrow creaky stair. Has expanded over the years by
buying attached houses. Obsolete beer signs for wall decorations; Christiaen,
Horse Ale, Hoboken. The 250+ beers available are all Belgian. There are so
many possible because the founder also owns a beer distributorship. The bar is
now 25 years old and owned by the founder’s brother, Jaak Dencoze. The menu is
separated by 1) Van ‘t vat. 2) Trappisten.
3) Abdijbieren. 4) By Belgian region. 5) Lambik
There are more beers here I haven’t heard of than I could possibly drink in the
time available. Note that all beers are served quite cold but that’s better than
all of them served too warm. Our hint: go to the bar to order – table service,
especially in the back, is spotty.
Too bad you can’t hear the creaky floors in this photo.
‘t Galgenhuisje – Ghent. Attached to the old jailhouse.
The building (white in the front) was built “at the pillory in 1579” as a
In 1748 they had a license as a “public beer cellar”.
The front was widened and the 2nd story added in 1783. And it hasn’t changed
Supposedly prisoners were brought next door to drink the night away before being
hung at dawn.
In typical Belgian humor, it’s named “The Water House on the Beerside”.
Just across from ‘t Galganjuisje, it’s an equally rustic beer bar with a nice
The menu of 150 runs Tap, Trappist, Abbey, Strong (Bush, Piraat, DT, DN, etc),
East Flanders, Lamics from 10 brewerys, Oud Bruins, (Rodenbach, Liefmans, etc),
Other fruit beers, Bottle Fermented (Duvel, etc.), Honey beer (8), Jeneverbieren,
They also have a house beer, Gandavum. And steins filled with concrete as lamps
on the tables.
On the terrace is Dreupelkot, a jenever-only bar.
‘t Brugs Beertje – Brugge.
A classical brown cafe popular with tourists since it’s in every tourist guide.
There are only 2 small rooms and it’s crowded at night.
I’ve never seen a barman asked so often for his recommendation.
One of the great places and well worth the visit.
In ‘t Nieuw Museum – Brugge.
Down a backstreet in a residential area.
Mainly an impressive restaurant with open-hearth grilling but has a 25+ beer
few surprises (except for the plate of escargot that comes as snacks with your
They have, of course, their own beer commissioned.
De Garre in
Brugge is a challenge to find. Opened in 1984. The door is mostly unmarked and
you have to find your way through a gated doorway down a dead-end alley (below)
to get there in the first place. Good luck.
Once there, you’ll enter a genteel beer bar with only 3 beers on tap – Their
Tripel Van de Garre, DeWitte Van Celis, and Gulden Draak. They also have about
50 bottles available.
2 floors. 6 tables downstairs and 9 up. It could be a tea room except everyone
is drinking beer served on trays with paper doilies. Music tends toward power
classics like Finlandia.
Brouwershof – Fortem (Alveringem).
Cheery, friendly bar in a very small town.
Cheery, friendly bar manager, Liselotte Vangampelaere will make you glad you
About 30 beers on the list and Westy 12 is 3€. Beat
Plus, there’s a brewery museum around back (see below).
In De Vrede – West Vleteren – Actually 4 miles outside of West Vleteren
down 1-lane tractor paths following obscure signage.
In De Vrede means “In the Shadow” which is appropriate since it’s immediately
across the street from the St. Sixtus Abbey brewery and sells only their
Starkly modern cavernous place with most of the charm of an airport waiting
Complete with gift shop and carryout counter (note wooden case holders above).
Despite the size and large staff, only soup and sandwiches are available for
Oh, and a plate of cheeses made at the Abbey.
- Brasserie Prelude – Ghent. Nice shaded sycamore sidewalk seating in an
unbusy area of town. Little food. An OK list of standard Belgian beers.
- L’Ultime Atome – Brussels. Busy corner cafe in a neighborhood just
southeast of the inner ring road. It just happens to have 70+ beers on their
menu but otherwise it could be a Parisian cafe. Big portions of food. Worth
De Troch – Chapeau.
Huyghe – Delirium Tremens
Straffe Hendrik – Brugge.
The Halve Maan brewery in Brugge is another of the city’s tourist
meccas where English families come by the dozen. They have hourly brewery
tours which end with a beer in their restaurant. Unfortunately there’s
only one beer available in their restaurant and they pay very little
attention to the place except at the end of tours – it’s really tough to
buy a beer, actually.
Vats in the restaurant are for display only.
That’s the largest wort chiller we’ve ever seen.
The Abbey brewery at St. Sixtus does not allow visitors but they have a
Since their Westvleteren 12 was named “the best beer in the world” it’s been tough
In fact, when we were there, the Twelve, Eight, and Blond were all unavailable
at the brewery.
Go to the In De Vrode across the street which did have supplies.
Tours are offered on weekends at 2pm. Unfortunately we showed up on Friday at
1:45. When in Europe, take a calendar. Sigh.
De Gouden Boom, Brugge – Steenbrugge.
Brouwerij de Block – Satan
At one time there were 7 breweries in the small town of Alveringem
(population now 7,000) but none are still around. The Brewery de Snoek, in the
outskirts of town (actually in the hamlet of Fortem) brewed beer from 1767
through 1952 when they stopped due to competition and regulatory pressure and
continued making sodas until the 1960s. They then cleaned up all the equipment
and now it’s a unique opportunity to go through a non-working 19th century
4-story tower brewery complete with the small coke-fired floor maltings.
On top of this, it’s behind a friendly, cheery bar where Liselotte will serve
up a beer or two before and after your visit to the museum. (see Favorite Bars
section above). There’s even English signs for us Yanks (and more likely Brits).
Gas engine which replaced the steam engine about 1900.
The mash tun fed the brewing copper through a hole in the floor which also
accepted the hops.
Hot water piped to the mash tun at the malt head.
A plaster statue of the Brewer.
Fermenting took place in barrels in the basement. These have iron bungs
A display of beers in an almost-typical street quick-stop tobacco shop.
I’d suggest it for inclusion in Indianabeer.com links but it’s about 5,000 miles too
The Bottle Shop in downtown Brugge is much more typical of the probably
20 great stores in that city alone. The picture below shows about
15 feet of the approx. 90 linear feet of 5-high shelving.
Bottles are sold next to their appropriate official glassware.
Comparatively few non-Belgian beers can be found anywhere in Belgium.
Guinness, Stella, and Bass probably make up 80% of these. We did see the
lamp above as well as a wall sign for Fat Tire.
St. Louis Kriek in a can.
At Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant in Ghent, the table lamp bases are beer
mugs filled with concrete.
Mash paddle lampshade.
In the beer menu at ‘t Brugs Beertje there’s an article entitled “The
Definition of Lambic”.
On 31 March 1993 a Koninklijk Besluit (Royal Decree) on beer was passed by
the Belgian parliament that changed the definition of what constitutes a
lambic beer. . . “acid beers where spontaneous fermentation is part of the
“Acid beer” is not a phrase that means an awful lot to a lambic brewer as
even the sharpest gueuze should really be looking to be dry and tart rather
than acidic. However, this is also helpfully defined thus . . . “beer with a
total acidity of at least 30 milli-equivalents of NaOH per litre and a grade
of volatile acids of at least 2 milli-equivalents of NaOH per litre. In acid
beers of spontaneous fermentation at least 30% of the total weight of the
incorporated starch- or sugar-containing ingredients must consist of wheat”.
This means that, for example, a beer made from 10% real spontaneously
fermented lambic and 90% ultra-dry wheat beer is permitted to be sold as “gueuze-lambic”.
You may think that such a dippy definition of this most traditional of
craft products came about because politicians have little expertise when it
comes to beer. But this is not necessarily true. For example, Jean-Luc Dehaene,
who was Prime Minister of Belgium back in 1993, knows enough about it to be
appointed to the Board of Interbrew. Interbrew happens to make Belle-Vue “gueuze-lambic”,
which some cynics claim falls somewhat short of being an oude gueuze.
Much is made of Belgian Scotch ales. There are only a couple of these
available here. Most beer-savvy Belgians drink triples, Leffe-type blonds, and
bruins. Some wits also but that’s a sideline.
We stopped in an Odd Bins in Calais to see why CAMRA is so upset about people
crossing the channel to buy cheap beer, whisky, wine, and cigarettes. Not all
that interesting, really. Moreland’s Old Speckled Hen, Green King’s Abbot, and
Ruddle’s County ales were £10 to £12 a case
(24x33cl bottles). Talisker for £25 (about $45 which is a bargain but not a
steal). Also “Bier de France” and other such abominations which surely is the
whole reason for Cailais’ reputation.