Belgian Beer Culture in Antwerp
The second city of Belgium and home to the biggest port in the country, Antwerp is perhaps the world’s beer culture capital. It’s certainly the diamond capital of the world, among other claims to fame! The diamond industry plays an important role in the economy of the city, as it has done throughout its history.
Today, the city also has a reputation for art and fashion. Antwerp has everything a traveller could wish for in a European city – world class museums and art, beautiful architecture, great food (Antwerp’s delicious cuisine) and great drinks! Antwerp offers local micro-breweries and authentic Trappist beer-tasting rooms.
There are more of these in some of the more provincial parts of Flanders. However, the Westmalle Trappist brewery is in the province of Antwerp itself. And as the capital of the Flanders region, Antwerp does serve as the showcase for all that’s best and most eclectic across the entire range of Belgium’s wonderfully diverse beer universe.
Maybe this is because the region is such a melting pot of diverse beer tastes, lying as it does at the crossroads of Holland, France, and Germany. Or maybe it’s something to do with this port city’s need for thirst-quenching beverages – for its hard-working dockworkers! Most likely it’s because Antwerpers just know a good thing when they taste one.
Hilton Antwerp Old Town
The beer culture experience
It’s no coincidence that new beers frequently crop up for tasting! Antwerp is, after all, the beer destination – and beer is also gaining popularity worldwide. Beers like Bosbier, Korsakov, Gageleer, Kamil, ’t Lekske, IQ, Cabardouche, De Hopjutters and Seefbier – to name a few – were recently launched in Antwerp.
Yes, beer is trendy – and trending! In addition to all the new beers, attention is once again being paid to beers that have been undeservedly ignored. For example, Saison Dupont. Today everyone knows it, but 5 years ago it was unknown, even though the brewery has existed for four generations.
The beer trend ensures that niche beers with a very distinct flavour are able to capture a place on the beer menu. And that’s good news. More and more ultra-hoppy beers and heavy stouts are emerging. Until recently, stout was as good as dead. Now it’s back and in different variants, with alcohol percentages ranging from a mild four to a sturdy twelve percent.
New beer brands dare to push the boundaries of flavour. Gageleer, for example. A beer that is noticeably flavoured – with bog myrtle, which was very popular in the Middle Ages.
Our expert beer guide will further unravel the secrets of beer with you, by taking you on a beer and genever gin tasting experience, paired with local snacks like Belgian cheeses, frites with mayonnaise and other taste delights.