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Belgians have been avid brewers since the Middle Ages. Today there are more than 100 brewers in this country that still produce a variety of beers. From regular lager and raspberry beer to self-fermenting lambic, there is something for everyone. The centre of Brussels is home to beer museums, a brewery and plenty of beer cafés so you don't have to leave town for a good time.
Brussels has no shortage of 'estaminets', or traditional beer cafés. Here you can sample a 'Brussels half en half' or a 'caves' from Lier. These are just a few of the regional beers that can be hard to find elsewhere. No matter what you fancy, with a collection of around 1,500 different Belgian beers, Delirium Café (Getrouwheidsgang 4) certainly has something in store for you. Café 'Moeder Lambic' (Rue de Savoie 68) also features a large selection of beer. With so much choice one night of beer drinking seems hardly enough.
Belgian beers are almost like wine. So many towns, so many beers. Most beer drinkers are familiar with lager and Oud Bruin (a sweeter brown ale). Hundreds of beers are brewed in Belgium, including Vlaams Rood (Flemish Red): although similar to a brown ale, it is brewed from reddish barley and ferments in oak barrels. This lends it both a sour and refreshing flavour.
Witbier (white beer) is the most refreshing beer type, with a hint of lemon. Speaking of fruit, Kriek beer is made with cherries or raspberries. These give the beer a refreshing and sweet flavour, perfect to drink on an outside terrace or patio. Fancy a fruit beer? Then you should taste a lambic, a regional beer made without additional yeast. The fermentation process occurs spontaneously. You can also order a lambic without fruit. Young and old lambic beers are also mixed into Geuze beer. After years of fermenting in the bottle, the beer will have tiny bubbles, just like champagne. Self-fermenting beers will be celebrating their 1,000th anniversary soon and that is certainly worth a toast.
Cantillon is just a short walk from the Grote Markt. This is the last active beer brewer in the city. This brewery has been producing a huge variety of beers for over 100 years. In addition to admiring the copper cauldrons and the cellars with bottles, you can also sample beers to your heart’s content. Be sure to try their raspberry beer, a lambic that has fermented for 3 years.
The Belgische Brouwers (Belgian Brewers) know everything about their concoction and have even set up a small museum (at the Grote Markt). The documentary that is shown at the museum brings the tools, the cauldron and the fermentation tubs to life. In the adjacent café, among the beer mugs and old-fashioned china, you can sample a variety of beers.