The best microbreweries and craft beer breweries in Belgium
The microbrewery trend is slowly conquering the world, including Belgium. People want to buy more locally and from smaller brewers. Beer consumers have seen the advantage of small and craft beer breweries that offer more flexibility. Small breweries take the consumers' needs into account, use local products and often create new tastes to discover. Thus, it is time to have a look at the small brewers that are making their mark in the industry.
What are microbreweries and craft beer breweries?
Firstly, let us look at the definitions that can go together but do not mean the same. A microbrewery is a brewery that generally produces less than 15000 barrels of beer per year. A craft beer brewery is a brewery that focuses on a specific technique. Often micro breweries decide to brew craft beers, but it is not a rule.
Read more from our in-depth guide about microbreweries.
History of Belgian micro and craft breweries
Belgium has proudly produced quality Belgian beer before the terms craft beer and microbreweries became trendy. With a rich beer culture and long history, Belgium has not followed the trend to make its mark. It is unnecessary as Belgian beers are already well known, and even commercial Belgian beers are made with good taste.
The microbrewery trend in Belgium started more for another reason. The brewers saw the benefits for themselves and the customers. Many Belgian brewers preferred to keep their production on a small scale, many wanted to brew with their friends for fun or as a hobby, and others just wanted to focus on the beer and the beer style they love. Some also rebelled against the industrialisation of Belgian beer. Thus, unplanned, the microbrewery and craft brewery movement is slowly taking over Belgium.
The first microbreweries in Belgium were established in the 80s when the beer brewers focused on specialty beers. The consumers also gave the movement a big push by becoming more demanding. Small craft beer breweries can meet individual tastes. Many craft beer breweries also produce single batch beers for experimenting with tastes that later disappear from the market. The beer market has become more entertaining than ever, and the consumers have started to discuss and debate beer tastes around the table, which was not the case before. Thus, we can say that the craft beer trend has only enriched the beer culture.
Some of the best micro and craft beer breweries in Belgium
If you are looking to try out craft beer from the microbreweries in Belgium, then continue reading the list of some of the top Belgian microbreweries.
Brewery de la Senne
Brewery de la Senne is one of the pioneer breweries in Brussels to boost the craft beer trend in the city. The goal of the brewers was to make craft beer accessible. Some of their most famous beers are Taras Boulba, Zinnebir, and Jambe de Bois, which are now known by every Belgian.
Already established in 1900, the Cantillon brewery has gone through a lot in time. They have managed to stay in the same old brick warehouse since 1937. They have stuck to their traditions of producing lambic and gueuze, which many beer geeks adore. The brewery also has a Gueuze museum for anyone interested in learning more about the gueuze style.
De Ranke brewery is one of the pioneers in the craft beer movement in Belgium and the bitter beers. What is unique about this small brewery is that they use whole dried hop leaves while many other brewers use fresh hops transformed into pellets. The brewers of De Ranke want to pay tribute to the small breweries and bitter beers in their work.
Brewery de Blaugies
De Blaugies brewery focuses on 100% natural Saison beers. The founding couple wanted to brew beers in an ancestral way. They already started brewing in 1988, and by now, the brewery has been under two different generations.
Brewery de la Lienne
Brewery de la Lienne was founded by a brother and a sister who both studied chemistry. It started with experimenting and making small brews weekly during their free time. Finally, in 2012, after purchasing a farmhouse, the siblings could fully commit themselves to their new microbrewery.
En Stoemelings brewery focuses on Belgian style beers and brings out the “Brusseleir” spirit in their beverages. All the beer names, for instance, are a reference to the culture in Brussels. They also created a beer for the local Saint-Gilles football team.
De Dolle Brouwers
De Dolle Brouwers started from a small club of cyclists of four people who shared their love of cycling around their region and beer. It was already founded in 1980 but has remained as a small brewery. They only brew 1500 hectoliters per year.
The Dupont brewery has a long history, being one of the oldest in the Hainaut region. Already in 1844, they brewed Saison and honey beer. Generation after generation, they have managed to keep their values and stand up to the big players in the beer industry. They kept their traditional Dupont Saison beer but created many new tastes too.
The Jessenhofke brewery is special because they were the second to brew organic beer but the first brewery to offer a whole range of organic beers. Moreover, all their products are local, and even the hops are all produced in Belgium.
Rulles brewery founder Graig started his brewery in 2001. The beers he has launched have become immediate successes. He is also organising house parties every year to welcome people to try the beers.
Have you tried beers from any of these Belgian breweries?