Complete Belgium

Beer in Bruges? The places NOT to miss!

Bruges is known for its rich brewing tradition and delicious beers. If you’re a fan of craft beer, you won’t be disappointed with the selection in this Belgian city. Here are some of the best places to get beer in Bruges:

  1. De Halve Maan Brewery: This family-owned brewery has been making beer in Bruges for over 500 years. They offer tours of the brewery, where you can learn about the brewing process and try some of their delicious beers.
  2. Brugse Zot Brewery: This local brewery is named after the nickname for the people of Bruges, which means “fool.” They offer a variety of beers, including a popular blond ale and a fruity cherry beer.
  3. Cambrinus: This popular pub is located in the center of Bruges and has a wide selection of beers, including some rare and hard-to-find options. They also serve traditional Belgian dishes to enjoy with your beer.
  4. De Gouden Boom: This cozy pub is located in a historic building and has a great selection of beers, including some local options. They also have a courtyard where you can enjoy your beer in the warmer months.
  5. Bierbrasserie Cambrinus: This large beer hall has over 100 beers on tap, including some rare and hard-to-find options. They also have a variety of Belgian dishes to enjoy with your beer.

No matter where you go, you’re sure to find delicious beer in Bruges. So next time you’re in the city, be sure to indulge in some of the local brews.

Our favourite bars and restaurants in Bruges

There are a lot of bars in Bruges, and it can be quite difficult to know where to start! Our first trip began with two thirsty Brits wandering into the first bar we could find- a bland establishment obviously reaping the benefits of being in such a busy touristy city without putting any effort in to retain it’s customers, with a beer menu featuring 5 or so common Belgian ales, a Pils on draught and a tiny dish of Bombay mix style snacks plonked down with your beer which may or may not be served in the proper glass. There are a lot of them out there unfortunately. There are also a lot of brilliant bars with huge, constantly evolving beer lists. These places embrace the history of Bruges and Belgian beer. They are usually packed full of locals as well as tourists, and you can sometimes struggle to get a table (most of them refuse to serve you without a seat). The staff are always knowledgable and willing to help you choose something you’ll like.

All of the below bars are decent authentic Belgian bars (well, sort of in the case of Le Trappiste) and all serve their beers in the correct glass.

Le Trappiste

Kuipersstraat 33

trappisteLe Trappiste has an interesting history. It was originally a Belgian beer bar in Altrincham, UK run by Brits. After a few years of trading in England, owner Martin Matthews decided to relocate the bar to it’s “spiritual home” and moved over to Bruges in 2013. Since then the bar has gone from strength to strength, showing that when it comes to authentic Belgian bars, the Brits can give the Belges a real run for their money!
Le Trappiste is a specialist beer bar just off Markt Square in Bruges. It is located in a cellar which is apparently 800 years old. The Beer Menu features over 100 beers, including international beers. Its a beautiful old cellar with a vaulted ceiling, fairy lights and candles on the tables. It has a really friendly, cosy feel about it. There’s a great atmosphere and the serving staff really know their beers.
Food is the typical Belgian “tapas”- cheese, meats and mustard.
Opens late and often has live music playing. Gets very busy at peak times! Here we are at New Year when we last visited. Notice how I (the blond on the right) was only drinking mineral water- I was 6 months pregnant but Carl’s arm hides my bump! In fact, looking at the photo there is a disappointingly low amount of beer there! We must have just had the table cleared! Not like us at all!


Cafe Rose Red

Cordoeaniersstraat 16

crrCafe Rose Red is tucked away on a quiet side street in the centre of Bruges. It is part of Hotel Cordoeanier so for some reason I always expected it to be a bit fancy and unwelcoming. I was totally wrong. It has a lovely little courtyard out the back and inside is just beautiful, with wooden furniture, candles and its namesake red roses hanging from the ceiling. Still, the atmosphere is laid back and friendly, and although it was always busy when we visited we still always managed to get a seat.

The general manager Kris Veireman is a passionate beer drinker and the beer menu reflects that, with over 120 beers to choose from. They also specialise in Trappist beers. It pleases everyone: a romantic setting for the ladies and a good selection of beers for the men! Limited “tapas” bar snacks. Friendly and knowledgable staff. Renowned for their 4 beer sampler which is well priced, €10 (though that price may have gone up).


Brouwerij De Halve Maan

Walplein 26

halvemaanThe Halve Maan Brewery has not had an easy past- originally opened in 1856 by Leon Maes and passed down to Henri II and his brother Achere who both died young. Their widows kept the brewery going through the First World War at a time when there were over 30 brewhouses in Bruges. The brand was bought out by the Riva Breweryin 1988, who made the Halve Maan stop brewing it’s Straffe Hendrik beers when they decided to start making it themselves. Undefeated, a young son of the family Xavier Vanneste started to brew a new Brugse Zot beer in 2005, and found huge success. His success was so great that in 2008 the brewery was able to buy back their brand when Riva went under- and they regained the rights to its own Straffe Hendrik beer, brewed following the original recipe and methods.

The restaurant part of the brewery is based in the former bottling hall of the original brewery and okay, so we go on about this place a lot. But what’s not to love? We’ve had many lovely times here. The food is really good, usually incorporating some sort of beer into the meal. The beer menu is obviously limited to the Halve Maan’s own beers, but they’re pretty good so its no big deal. They also have some unusual vintage versions of their own beers, which come with a price to match.

Hint: Don’t buy any souvenir beers here, it’s a tourist destination and is priced as such. The Bruges supermarkets always have a good stock of the Halve Maan’s beers- last time we went they even had the vintage Straff Hendrik at a fraction of the price we paid to drink it in the brewery! But its somewhere you just have to go when in Bruges– do the tour, have a beer and have a meal. You won’t be disappointed. My mum always said I like the food in this place so much because I always ate it after having sampled a few of the beers… then we took her here and she changed her mind!


Bierbrasserie Cambrinus

Philipstockstraat 19

cambrinusWe love this place. I can’t remember how we first found it, but it was one of the first places we went to on our very first trip to Bruges. I chose it to go to for lunch on my 30th birthday, it was the host of the one beer I allowed myself during the trip as a preggo. Oh Cambrinus, we love you.

Cambrinus in known as the King of Beer in many European countries, said to have invented the Brussels Faro and lambic beers- and is therefore said to have invented beer. What a legend! The building itself shows him in two places: in a statue as part of the facade and as a stained glass window. In both places he is sitting on a barrel of beer.

The building itself dates as far back as 1699, and has been through many names.

The beer menu is epic. It’s a wooden bound Bible to beer. You don’t get to keep it for long, the waiters come and take it to the next table as soon as you’ve ordered your beer (unless you’re in a big group and hide one! Mwah ha haa! What? We needed to prepare for the next order!). Cambrinus stocks over 400 beers, and if you’re overwhelmed, unsure or a pure novice the waiters will talk you through what sort of thing you like and help you pick something.

The food is always really good too. Book a table or arrive early. We once got literally the last table free in the whole place, and enjoyed sitting in our window seat watching people spend a good 10 minutes reading the menu, talking about what they’ll have, then coming in only to be told it’s full.

Cambrinus is a place we always go back to. Every time.


Other places that deserve a mention…

These are a few places we always put on our itinerary but have never quite got to for various reasons, but we’ve heard they are worth a visit and will probably eventually work their way above this subtitle to make it to the main article!

Staminee De Garre

De Garre 1, off Breidelstraat

A slight lie, we have technically been here a few years ago, but it was so packed we had to leave without having had a drink! Tucked away down a tiny alley. 130 beers, including a house speciality on draught- Tripel van De Garre.

‘t Poatersgat

Vlamingstraat 82

Meaning The Monk’s Hole, referring to the cellar-based location of the bar. Vaulted ceilings. 75 beers. No food. Closed during the day.

Cafe Brugs Beertje

Kemelstraat 5

Beer menu of 250, arranged by region and brewery-a variety of old classics and newbies. Five daught beers rotate seasonally. Huge support for local and upcoming brewers.

Review: Straffe Hendrik Wild 2015

Straffe Hendrik Wild - 2015

Today we’ll be reviewing Straffe Hendrik Wild (2015 Edition) from the Haalve Maan Brewery over in Bruges. It’s a derivative of the Straffe Hendrik Tripel, produced on a limited run, with these ‘Wild’ versions of the popular Tripel first being introduced in April of 2014.

Where does the ‘Wild’ tag come from?

I’ll quote the Haalve Maan themselves on this….

The traditional tripel beer is re-fermented with a wild Brettanomyces yeast, that creates unusual fruity aromas in harmony with the rich use of aromatic hop varieties. The wild yeasts also provide a longer natural shelf life to the beer and taste developing over the years.

Sounds like it might be interesting to follow this review up after giving the beer a year to mature – we’ve put aside a couple of bottles.

Abv wise it weighs in at 9%, comes to us in 330ml bottles and has a recommended serving temperature of 6°C (43F). Shelf life is recommended to be no more than 5 years.

Carl’s Review

First I’ll talk about the bottle: The Straffe Hendrik range has a fantastic clean modern design – they looks classy, especially the quad, and the Wild is no exception. The white label with brewery logo, distinctive Straffe Hendrik typeface with the highlighted date and then the eye-catching Wild tag around the label base – looks tasty.

I pour the 330ml bottle into a Straffe Hendrik glass – colour wise it’s golden, very clear with a nice head and like the label, looks great. It smells fruity to me and I can smell apples and peach – a nice smell indeed.

Once the head dissipates a little I give it a taste…  It’s quite a bitter taste actually which turns a little sweeter once it lingers. Perhaps it’s the drinking of it on a nice summers day but this really goes down nicely. The finish is dry – I think it’s quite refreshing.

To sum up – I like this, I really really like this – everything about it I like – the label, the colour, the aroma the taste.  I’m a little annoyed I only bought 4 as I wouldn’t mind putting more of these away for a year to see how it develops with time.

A very very excellent and highly recommended –  9/10

Helen’s Review

Straffe Hendrik Wild (in Glass)

This beer is presented in a brown beer bottle with a white label featuring the Halve Maan brewery logo and cheerful green typography.

When I poured the Straffe Hendrik Tripel Wild the first thing I said is “wow, what a beautiful colour”. It’s a bright, crisp orangey amber colour with a lovely white head. It’s quite cloudy and makes me feel happy.

I’m not one for smelling beers as you might be able to tell from my previous reviews, but this one has a lovely fruity aroma. It makes me want to go and sit outside in the sunshine.

The first mouthful of my beer and I’m struck first by a lot of bubbles, so much that it takes a few seconds to pick up any distinct taste at all. Then bitterness sets in on the tongue. It’s not an unpleasant bitterness, but is definitely the main flavour for me. Once that’s died down I’m left with a fruity-coffee taste on my tongue. Again it’s not unpleasant, but not driving me wild either.

That fruity-coffee flavour lingers in the back of my throat for quite a while. Once it’s gone my tongue is left excited and a little fizzy, and I’m left wanting more. It seems to bring quite a lot of saliva to my mouth too. The flavour has definitely made a distinct impression on my tongue.

I like this beer and appreciate the flavour, but I can think of others I’d go for before. I do really like the branding though and find the bottle one of the most attractive I’ve seen. I much prefer my darker beers.

I’d give this beer a decent 6 out of 10.

Westmalle Trappist Dubbel: Aged (2003) vs New (2015)

Westmalle Dubbel - Aged Vintage vs New

While in Antwerp we visited Kulminator: a lovely bar which specializes in matured beers. Their beer menu is huge, and many of the beers have a variety of ages listed: the older they are the slightly more expensive they get. Wanting to try something different but not splurge too much I went for a 12 year old Westmalle Dubbel (2003). Carl ordered a matured Orval.

All the matured beers are kept in a variety of cellars so it took a little while for the sweet older owner to go and retrieve our orders, which apparently were in SEPARATE cellars!

The Westmalle Dubbel is a popular dark Belgian trappist beer with an alcoholic volume of 7%. It has been brewed by Brouwerij der Trappisten van Westmalle since 1926, who also brew (unsurprisingly) the Westmalle Tripel and Westmalle Extra.

The Dubbel is presented in a dark brown bottle with a diamond-shaped chocolate brown label. It is usually served in a 330ml bottle, but can also be found in larger 750ml bottles and sometimes on tap too.

Westmalle Dubbel – Unaged (2015)

Westmalle Dubbel from 2015

The Westmalle Dubble pours a lovely deep reddish brown colour with a lovely big beige head. A light smell of malt, yeast and fruit.

Faint tastes of caramel and dried fruits. It’s not too heavy in taste and is quite smooth, but also slightly tart. The taste develops slowly into a dry, slightly spicy lingering aftertaste which is quite pleasant.

I would rate the Westmalle Dubbel a solid 7 out of 10. Not my favourite beer but still pleasant and enjoyable to drink.

Westmalle Dubbel – 12 Year Vintage (2003)

Westmalle Dubbel from 2003 at Kulminator, Antwerp

The bottle I received was from 2003, with a best before date of 3rd February 2006. It was in near perfect form (as opposed to the dusty, dirty 2006 Orval that Carl had ordered!) and if I hadn’t known what I’d ordered I wouldn’t have suspected it was a vintage! Having now refreshed my mind with the appearance if it’s contemporary, I can now see that although the bottle is unchanged and the label is similar, the vintage label is square as opposed to diamond shaped, and the layout has been altered to suit the different shape.

The vintage Dubbel pours much the same colour- possibly darker but that could have just been my imagination. The large frothy head has pretty much disappeared and immediately the smell of the beer is intenser and much more treacly.

To taste the vintage beer is much thicker. The overwhelming flavours are treacle and liquorice, with the caramel and fruit taking a step into the background. Syruppish is the word that springs to mind,if that’s even a word.

The flavour doesn’t linger for so long either. I’m surprised how different a beer can become when the only added ingredient is time. Simultaneous to this feeling, I can still tell the beer is a Westmalle Dubbel: it’s not completely different… like it has the same basic flavours, they’ve just been rearranged and given different priorities.

I was surprised by the vintage Westmalle Dubbel, possibly even a little taken aback, but after a few sips realised I quite liked it.

I would rate the aged Westmalle Dubbel a treacly 8.5 out of 10.

Delirium Nocturnum Beer Review

Delirium Nocturnum

Our first beer review is of Delirium Nocturnum – a dark beer 8.50% ABV – from Brouwerij Huyghe of Melle, a few miles South East of Ghent in East Flanders. Bottle is the usual 330ml.  We’ll both be reviewing the beer and giving it a score out of 10.

Helen’s Review

I like the logo with the Delirium brand. It reminds me of the first time we went to Belgium for a surprise New Year trip to Bruges and, not really knowing where we are or where to go, we ended up in an Irish Bar just off Grote Markt. At the time I had no idea that the iconic pink elephants had anything to do with a brewery, I just liked the pretty pink elephants all over the ceiling of the otherwise fairly average bar (with fairly grim toilets if I remember correctly).

Presentation is unusual in the fact that the bottle is painted an off-white colour with a bright blue almost trippy label and foil to the neck. This is a whole new level of making a beer stand out on the shelf! I can’t imagine many men wanting to be seen with that bottle though, which makes me look forward to tasting it, knowing the brand has stood the test of time.

Pouring the beer pleases me: I like my dark beers and this one doesn’t disappoint. It’s a very deep red colour with a beige head which disappears pretty quickly. It looks quite syrupish. The smell is hardly noticeable at all even with my nose right next to the liquid.

The Delirium Nocturnum is, to me, a pretty complex beer to taste. The first thing I think when I taste this beer is fruity, but that taste disappears pretty quickly to reveal a bitter chocolatey flavour, which in turn again disappears after a few more seconds to leave a sweet, deep but refreshed after-taste which continues to develop for a good 30 seconds after I’ve swallowed the beer. It’s fizzy, but that doesn’t last long in my mouth.

I like it, and I find the complexity enjoyable, but it’s not a beer I’d drink regularly.

I’d give this a solid 7.5/10.

Carl’s Review

This is a beer we’ve often seen but were yet to try. The other Delirium beer I’d tried had been a couple of bottles of the 10% Delirium Noël over New Year in Ghent – so I decided pick up 8 bottles of this to sample.

Helen has previously discussed the bottle and the infamous “Pink Elephant”  so I won’t really go there apart from to say that the Delirium brand is certainly a strong one. As well as the beer, Delirium Café franchises can be found as far away as Tokyo and Brazil.

On to the drinking… the first thing I notice is the a fruity taste with quite a strong alcohol feeling in my throat. I’m thinking this would feel great on a cold winter’s evening. The initial fruity-alcohol hit gets momentarily sweeter and then dissipates leaving a lingering taste of caramel. The texture seems slightly watery – for want of a better phrase! Very drinkable – it never feels heavy.

Overall I like this – a good winter warmer, although could be drank at any time.

I’d rate this at 8/10.

Delirium Nocturnum

Price of Beer in Belgian Carrefour Supermarkets

Supermarket Beer Prices in Belgium

As frequent travellers by car to Belgium we often stop off at the Carrefour B-Park Hypermarket just a few miles north of Bruges. Of all the Carrefour Hypermarkets/Supermarkets we’ve been to we’ve found this to be the best stocked. The question is – which beers are stocked by these supermarkets? Well…

We’ve compiled a list of beers you should find along with the price you will be paying. This list will be frequently updated so bookmark or favourite it for when you need it. Please share if you find this useful.

Price List

[Last Update: 22nd May 2015]

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