A bit later than we were used to, but it’s almost time for the fifth edition of the biggest and best craft beer festival of Brussels: BXLBeerFest! On the 30th of September and the 1st of October in Tour & Taxis, you get once again the opportunity to try more than 400 beers—and some meads and ciders—from 60 smaller, artisanal breweries from Belgium, Europe and beyond. From a clean glass, of course!
At every beer festival you’ll find them: groups of friends playing a card or board game, while sipping on the available beers. That means there’s clearly some overlap between gamers and craft beer lovers, and for them there is Le Bar à Jeux! An excellent selection of beers, combined with a huge library of games to play, makes it easy to spend quite a bit of time there without even noticing. And when the rumbling of the stomach draws attention to the passing of the hours, there is some food available as well to keep you going!
We stumbled upon Chez Mon Ex when Wonder Bru‘s first beer Mate Brew was launched there. With the signs advertising the Luxembourgish Battin beers outside, one wouldn’t immediately expect a craft beer bar here… As it turned out, they do really like the Brussels and other craft breweries there, and quite a few of these beers feature on the menu, both on draught, and in bottles and cans! It still has the look and feel of a neighbourhood bar, because, well, it is!
Surprises can be right around the corner, and sometimes quite literally, as was the case for Knees to Chin. We must have passed their Brussels center restaurant dozens of times, without thinking it would actually be a candidate for our blog. Then all of a sudden, we noticed people drinking some Dutch craft beer here! One might expect beers from a microbrewery like De Kromme Haring in a specialised bar—we actually attended a meet-the-brewer and tap takeover with these guys at GIST a while back—but not quite in a Vietnamese street food restaurant. Of course, now we had to check the place out!
There was still one brewery with a proper taproom we didn’t write about yet, and that was Brasserie de la Mule, in Schaerbeek. And what a great taproom it is! A long bar to sit at—rarely found in brewery taprooms—and a great walled Biergarten. The use of the German word here is very much intentional, since they really like their German style beers here! And the best way to serve a German wheat beer is of course in a large (0,5 l), curvy Weizenbierglas. Bring on the next heatwave, here is the perfect place to cool down and, uh, ‘hydrate’!
The opening of Brasserie Surréaliste taproom is one we’ve been waiting for for a long time. The most obvious reason is that it’s right in our neighbourhood, only a couple of minutes’ walk away. It certainly helps they brew cracking beers, though, right there on the premises, below your feet when you’re standing at the bar. The fact that they managed to convert a space that has been neglected for way too long into something so beautiful, is just the icing on the cake. And starting today, it’s open for everyone to enjoy!
The smash burger is one of the newest trends in burgers, although strangely enough, it has quite a long history already. This trend finally descended upon Brussels, when in January this year, Rambo opened its doors. At the time you could only order them to go, but even then, long lines ensued… Fortunately, you can now also sit inside or on the terrace, to enjoy your burger as fresh and crispy as possible. And as they once stated themselves: “A fine cheeseburger deserves a great beer”, so you’ll have that smash burger with a beer of course!
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic measures, going to a bar or restaurant to enjoy a fresh draught beer isn’t an option anymore for the next couple of weeks… After drinking all the beers you had in your fridge, where can you get some more?
When the first version of this article appeared about a week ago, there were still plenty of options to go out and stock up, but even though beer shops are legally allowed to stay open*, many have decided to close their doors anyway, and—if they haven’t closed completely—rely on delivery and pickup only…
This article was updated regularly until 31/05/2020. By that time, most brewery shops were open again, bars who could and wanted, started selling beers for takeout.
We’re now counting down to the reopening—in whatever form—of the bars…
Nothing about Bélier Bar exactly screams craft beer bar: the modest number of six, unbranded taps could be pouring anything, and the amount of spirits on the shelves behind the bar, would rather give you the impression this is a cocktail bar. They do cocktails indeed, but once you discover the beer list, you’ll immediately see that those are not their only strength!
With La Source as Brussels’ ninth brewery, we can end a decade of the revival of brewing in this city—which started in 2010 when De la Senne joined sole survivor Cantillon—on a high note. While most breweries mainly focus on the production part when opening, for La Source the social aspect of their brewery with taproom was at least just as important. That doesn’t mean the beers are not important—quite the contrary—and so far their beers have rightfully so been very well received!