Flanders has breweries aplenty but we’re here to offer you a fresh perspective. We’ve put together a guide to all the breweries and craft beer spots we think you should check out (and a few surprises along the way!)
Let’s start on Antwerp. Antwerp is the 2nd biggest city in Belgium. More importantly it’s got a healthy brewing history. Antwerp’s been brewing since the 1300s and thankfully there’s no sign of stopping.
Browse and buy booze to your heart’s content. This craft beer shop is a great spot if you’re just starting to explore the beer Antwerp has to offer or you’re looking for something new. While it’s popular with the locals and those who know what they’re looking for, it doesn’t get as much traffic as the bigger beer spots in Antwerp.
Because they’ve got over 200 beers on rotation, you’ve got plenty of different beers to choose from. They’ve got IPAs, stouts, and imported European beers aplenty. Take your time to browse through them all.
If you’d rather sit and enjoy a drink than shop, you can do that too at their taproom. It’s got a cozy atmosphere and 8 beers on tap. A perfect stop in the centre of town along the way.
Cabardouche is an up and coming microbrewery. Because they only launched in 2019, they’re really not as well known as the big breweries in Antwerp. That’s a shame because they've got a good range of top fermented beers. Plus, they’re under the railway in Borgerhout with a bunch of other entrepreneurial businesses too, so there’s a fun atmosphere
They do a small range of top fermented beers ranging from 5 - 9% ABV. Two blonds and one black beer. Their dry hop blond REUS was made for the Giant Parade in Borgerhout. Cabardouche also releases a limited edition beer Escort Delux each year. It’s different every time, so you never really know what to expect!
Unlike some other breweries, they sadly don’t give tours. Still, if you go on a Saturday you’ll see the beer being brewed live.
Like Cabardouche, this microbrewery didn’t launch all that long ago. But they launched with a specific goal in mind. They want to make beer that can be enjoyed during Passover, the Jewish holiday. That means they make gluten free ginger beer. This microbrewery in Antwerp city has a strong character and a strong ABV to match. It’s a great spot for fans of ginger beer especially.
You can choose from a range of five beers starting at 5% to 13% ABV. They tend to be frothy and pack a ginger punch. Ginger Tipple offers a short tour of the brewery with samples (yay!) There really isn’t another brewery like it anywhere in Antwerp.
Antwerp has lots of warehouses but this one is unique because it’s home to a fantastic brewpub. That means they brew their own beer and serve it in their pub. Unlike the others in Antwerp city, this brewery is over by the river in the New South area That means it’s a great spot to stop for a drink after a walk along the harbour or if you want to explore the new south area.
They brew quite a few beers that you can find throughout the city. But you’ll want to go to the Pakhuis for their three exclusive beers. Only at their Pakhuis can you get Antwerps Blond that’s a fruity, soft hoppy beer. Antwerps Bruin (a brown beer, chocolatey and coffee) and Den Bangelike (a fruity, sweet tripel) are also popular.
You can get a tour of their brewery but you’ll need a drinking band of around 10. Once you’ve got that many, drop them an email to work something out. It’s a totally guided tour where you get to see the brewing process up close.
Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie
Next up is Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie. Bit off a mouthful, we know. Try saying it after you’ve had a few of their Seef beers! You’ll find this rising star brewery in the port area of Antwerp. You should go to the area anyway since Antwerp is historically a port city, so really the brewery here is an added bonus.
This independent brewery is known for their Seef beer. The story goes that the recipe for the historic seef beer went missing in Antwerp’s archives, so Van Dyck spent three years looking for it. When he got it in 2017, he started this brewery and since then they’ve gotten big. While seef beer is the highlight of this brewery, you’ve also got a ton of special editions to try. They’ve always got something fun and unique to try out.
If you happen to be in Antwerp during the summer, this brewery is a must visit just for their courtyard and terrace. There’s bands playing, BBQs, great beer, and good vibes all around.
Oldie but a Goodie
De Koninck Brewery
This malt ale you probably already know however, we highly recommend taking a brewerey tour here. Their brewery is a popular spot in Antwerp. You’ll find them near the Berchem district by Koning Albertpark. Their De Koninck beer is the beer of Antwerp city. Get it in the chalice-like glass for the real experience.
But you’re not just here to try out their beer. Their brewery tour is an interactive tour, so you don’t have a guide but you don’t really need one. The tour gives you the lowdown on the brewery’s history from the 1800s to present, plus info on how the beer is made. Basically it’s brewed in the traditional Belgian way (top fermented), it’s hoppy as heck, and they use 100% pure malts. Oh, and you get beer samples after the tour too.
Short Drive Away
But there’s tons of great beer spots outside of Antwerp that we bet haven’t heard of either! Just a short drive away from the port city is a bunch of hidden gems in the surrounding villages and beyond. If you want a great beer experience, you have to step outside Antwerp too.
De Dochter van de Korenaar
First up is this unique family owned craft beer brewery in Baarle-Hertog. There’s no easy way to explain the messy borders of Baarle-Hertog, but basically it's a tiny little region in the Netherlands near the Belgian border that’s actually Belgium. There aren’t many cross-border villages in the world, so it’s worth going to the village alone and popping into the brewery while you’re there. But the brewery itself is a good attraction too.
They brew all their hoppy IPA’s at their brewery, plus a good range of wood-aged beers. While they’re mostly on the map for their hoppy beers, you’ll find dry malt and stouts to try here as well.
Their brewery tour also offers the most beer on this list. You’ll get three beers and one wood aged beer on their basic tour.
De Molenberg Distillery
Beer lovers can’t miss this whiskey distillery. At De Molenberg Distillery you’ll see how they make whiskey out of Het Anker Brewery’s Golden Carolus beer. It’s a family distillery and has been since the 1600s.
The Golden Carolus beer is named after Charles V the Holy Roman Emperor, who was raised in nearby Mechelen. It’s the super iconic Het Anker Brewery beer. The Van Breedam family own that too. Basically, De Molenberg is Het Anker’s whiskey sister.
At De Molenberg Distillery they make the Gouden Carolus Single Malt. It’s a Belgian single malt whisky distilled with subtle fruit aromas & vanilla. Go on a tour of their fantastic little distillery to see exactly how it’s made.