Looking to explore the world of Belgian beer without traipsing all over the country? What you need is a great beer store. Today we tell you where to buy beer in Belgium.
If you’ve been following Belgium in a Glass, you may be thinking, “Sounds great, but where can I find these beer?” It’s a good question, and I’m glad you asked.
Finding beer in Belgium isn’t hard. Unlike back home in Canada, you can buy alcohol almost anywhere, including the corner store. Although you won’t typically find a huge variety at the local grocery store, they will usually carry a small mix of brands and varieties.
Many grocery stores stock a number of the Trappist beer (Chimay, Rochefort, Achel, Westmalle), strong blondes (like Duvel, La Chouffe), and abbey beer (Leffe, Maredsous, St. Feuillien).
In fact, for the most part, I’ve tried to steer my beer recommendations towards the readily available varieties. This had two purposes: to make it easier for you to find beer to try and to relate it to brands you may have heard about.
“But, Andrew,” I hear you say, “I want to try something really different and unusual!” I love the enthusiasm! Fortunately, this is a category in which Belgium really delivers: around 175 brewers produce more than 1100 unique beer. To wade through this huge list of possibilities, I recommend you explore a specialist beer store.
Specialty Beer Stores in Brussels
First, let me apologize for this being focused on Brussels. Please feel free to share your favourite specialty beer stores outside of Brussels.
The following are my recommendations if you’re looking for speciality beer in Brussels.
- Délices & Caprices is conveniently located just around the corner from Grand Place on Rue des Bouchers (I know, I know, but bear with me). Delices & Caprices has about 200 different beer available, and the owner, Pierre Zuber, is a friendly sort, originating from Switzerland. If you visit, you can enjoy a beer before you buy or even book a tasting session.
- Beer Mania is near the European Parliament, on Chaussée de Wavre, just off of Rue du Trône. Again, the owner, Nasser Eftekhari, is passionate about the different beer available and is easy to chat with. There is also a small tasting area and a larger area upstairs where they host events, such as jazz nights.
- Malting Pot, a relative new-comer on the beer scene in Brussels, is just up from Place Flagey, on Rue Scarron. They focus on artisanal, craft beer and have a selection from around the world, not just Belgium. Shop owner, Sam Sarmad, knows his beer and can provide some really good selections: the Vivien Porter he recommended was stellar!
If you’re looking for a little less specialization and a bit more volume, you could check out a “drink centre.” Drink centres are a concept we first encountered when living in Flanders. Essentially they are warehouses selling all manner of drinks, from water to alcohol, in any range of quantity. Prices are normally lower than you’ll find in a grocery store, but they are not typically in a convenient location.
Although I’ve not visited any drink centre I can recommend, the following were recommended by others on Beer Advocate and are on my list to visit sometime soon.
- ABS Drinks is found near Leuven in Winksele (between Brussels and Leuven) and appears to have a decent selection of beer (and other beverages). One reviewer on Beer Advocate called it, “Disneyland for adults.” I think I need to visit Disneyland.
- BVS (abc) Drink Center is in the southwest of Brussels, in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw (near Forest). Some fellow beer-lovers commented that they have a good selection as well.
- Dranken Geers is outside Ghent and also comes with top recommendations on Beer Advocate. The family run establishment has developed a reputation for their selection of beer. If it truly is the “best beer store … in Belgium,” as rated by one reviewer, I think a road trip to Ghent might be in the cards.
Monthly Beer Box
If you want something really special, check out our review of Belgian Beer Discovery’s monthly beer box. It is a great way to explore Belgian beer without leaving the house! It also makes a great gift for beer-loving friends.
Of course this list only really scratches the surface. Yes, you can get decent beer at your local grocery, but to find something more unique you’ll need to experiment with some of the options above. You can also check out a variety of bars which stock really eclectic selections of beer, but that’s a topic for a future article.
If you have suggestions for me to try, I’d love to hear about them! Feel free to share your recommendations in the comments below.
Find out more about Belgium’s favourite beverage on our Guide to Belgian Beer and Breweries in Belgium page.
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