With its famous beer, chocolate and waffles, Brussels has easily become a trendy spot for a weekend getaway. Apart from its edible specialties, Brussels is considered the center of European culture with a history dating back to the 11th century. There is a lot to learn about the history, architecture and the art of chocolate and beer.
Day Drink on a Beer Tour Through Brussels
We love beer! And really, who doesn’t love a good Belgium craft brew? We made reservations before arriving in Brussels to join a Brussels Craft Beer walking tour. The tour lasted 3.5 hours and during that time we visited two bars and one brewery. On the tour we learned some history of beer, how it’s made, and the difference between commercial and craft. The first bar we stopped in was Au Bon Bieux Temps Bar which dates back to 1695. This particular bar is set back in an alley, away from the hustle and bustle of tourist crouds. The interior is the kind of turn-of-the-century decor that Americans fall in love with and Europeans take for granted; the dark wood everything and stain glassed window in the cramped but charming layout made us feel comfortable and thirsty! We sampled some delicious Trappist beers while learning about the history of the bar and brewing company. My favorite was the Trappist Westmalle, a 9.5% blond with a fruity and bitter flavor. Next we headed to the Cantillon brewery. This brewery is 114 year old and still brews beer the same as when they opened their doors years ago. Read more about Cantillon below! The last bar we stopped at, Moeder Lambic, is a local favorite and serves 48 craft beers on tap.
Tour: Offered Fridays and Saturdays from 2pm to 5:30pm and costs 45 euro. If you combine the beer tour with their bike tour, like we did, the cost is only 60 euro per person.
Explore the city of Brussels by Bike
Bike tours offer a quick, easy and fun way to see a city when on a short trip. I had been wanting to do a bike tour for some time and this tour seemed perfect. On Sunday morning, after a delicious breakfast of homemade quiche at the quaint and inviting La Brouette Tavern, we met our guide outside the Tourist Info office located in the Grand Place. After meeting our guide we were taken to choose our bike for the tour. We started out in the Grand Place and leisurely peddled past many of the main sights and historic landmarks in Brussels. We made stops along the way where our guide would give us some history and fun facts about the sights that we saw. Some of the main highlights of the tour included seeing the iconic Mannekin Pis statue, the Palais de Justice building, the Royal Palace and much more! We booked with Brussels Bike Tours and did the combo package of the beer tour Saturday and bike tour on Sunday.
Tours: Available on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturdays starting at 10:00am and lasts 3.5 hours. If you choose to do just the bike tour the cost is only 25 euro per person.
Devour a classic Belgium waffle and indulge in creamy Belgium Chocolate
Belgium is synonymous with waffles and chocolate, so it is fitting that those should be two items on your menu during a trip to Brussels. During my first visit to Brussels, I felt like I couldn’t eat enough of the delectable treat! There are many waffle shops positioned around town, and even the occasional waffle ‘truck’, where you can purchase a waffle on the go. There are numerous toppings that you can have slathered on your waffle for an extra cost, including all types of chocolate, nutella, fruit or ice-cream! It is an understatement to say that I love the waffles! Also, make sure to pop into one of the many chocolate shops, including the famous Godiva, and purchase some creamy, delectable chocolate to take home with you to savor at a later date.
Beer, Beer, Beer
A ‘craft beer’ is synonymous with a ‘micro brew’ beer. In micro breweries or craft breweries the flavor and brewing technique are generally emphasized over quantity and Belgium has many local craft brews that you can find on draught or in bottle at most of the bars around Brussels. In the evening, we made sure to pop into the Delirium Café, which currently holds the World’s record for having the most brews on draught, for a cold one. This multi-level bar is quite popular with the tourists and locals alike as it can be difficult to wiggle through the crowd and find an available table. Our favorite bar in Brussels is Au Bon Bieux Temps Bar due to the ambiance, friendly service and wide selection of Belgium beers. It is hidden in an alleyway so it may be difficult to find but is well worth it! We are fans of Belgium brews and enjoy sampling the many different types!
Brasserie Cantillon Brouwerij tour
No trip to Brussels is complete without a tour of the oldest brewery in Belgium! Since 1900, the brewers have been producing beers using the same methods as when they first opened. Cantillon is unique because they are brew their Lambic beers using a process called spontaneous fermentation which relies on wild yeast for the fermentation of the beer. Spontaneous fermentation is what gives the Lambic beer an unusual and naturally sour taste. Lambic beers reach their full flavor maturity after three years and have a constant still or flat consistency. Cantillon makes multiple types of Lambic beers, all differing in flavor and smell. In the summer months, the brewery uses fresh fruit to create their special fruity beers, the most famous being the cherry Lambic-Kriek. Make sure you take a tour of Brasserie Cantillon Brouwerij and learn about their old timey brewing processes before sampling these one-of-a-kind brews.
Tours: Monday to Friday from 9 AM till 5 PM; Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM; Closed on Sundays and public holidays. Cost is €7 per person for tour and a glass of their famous Lambic beer!
Eat at an outdoor café in the Grand Place
There is nothing I like to do more than sit back, relax and eat. The Grand Place is the perfect location to do just that. There are many cafes that are around the Grand Place. La Brouette Tavern is just one among many. I had breakfast there and it was very good. The staff was extremely friendly and didn’t seem bothered in the slightest that I didn’t speak the local language. Their quiche, traditional egg dishes and cappuccino was just what I needed to power up for a morning of bike riding.