Belgium is famous for many things. We have some of the finest architecture in the world, our people are creative & talented, and our capital is the home of capital the European Union. However, we are probably most well-known for our produce, namely fantastic chocolate and beer. There are over 3000 beers brewed in Belgium and Bruges is no exception. You can find excellent local beers in cafes, restaurants, and supermarkets throughout the city. Beers are not all created equal and some stand out more than others. Here are five of the best local beers for you to try in Bruges.
Brewery Bourgogne Flemish Red Ale
The Burgundy region in France is known all around the world for its great wine. Belgians, particularly natives of East Flanders, prefer a red-brown ale with a distinct sour character brewed in Brewery Bourgogne. This type of beer is usually blended and aged in vats and most examples are medium bodied with a colour that varies from deep red to brown. The ageing process allows the beer to develop a complex fruity flavour, similar to dark berries, raisins, plums, prunes, and dates. Brewery Bourgogne des Flandres located in Kartuizerinnenstraat, Bruges, has an excellent tap room to sample some of the freshest Red Ale in the city. At only 5% ABV, it’s a great beer to have with your lunch or during a day of brewery hopping.
De Halve Maan Blonde Ale
Belgian blond ale is similar to a pilsner, golden coloured and medium-bodied with a moderate ABV. The taste is usually subtly sweet malt with a strong hoppy aroma and earthy, light flavours. Walk around Bruges and you’ll notice that in almost every street you can find this beer whether it’s at a bar or a shop. Popular brands include Brugse Zot whose refreshing blond ale is brewed at Bruges’ most famous brewery. Brewery De Halve Maan has been in operation since 1856 and just recently moved its bottling facility just outside of town to keep up with demand. The brewery and bottling plant are connected by the world’s very first beer pipeline. The brewery is worth a visit on your trip, and you can taste the very freshest beer in Bruges, still unfiltered and unpasteurised.
Café Vlissinghe – Belgian Ale
A beer named after the bar it was brewed in to celebrate its 500th anniversary, Café Vlissinghe is a strong pale ale with a golden colour. A strong ABV of 8% means this beer is served in smaller quantities than its lighter siblings. Café Vlissinghe opened its doors as an inn in 1515 and never closed since. It’s the oldest bar in Belgium and the 10th oldest in the world. You can enjoy your day on the beautiful terrace sampling a variety of ales, but we recommend its namesake. Café Vlissinghe has fruity notes like banana, orange peel and peach as well as some earthy minerals. Watch out for the yeast sediment when pouring if you don’t like it.
De Garre Tripel
Tripel is a strong, yellow-golden beer that usually has a distinctive spicy, fruity, and subtly sweet malt character. Belgian-style Tripel is an easy-drinking beer style with high carbonation and an ABV of between 8-10%. The first Tripel were produced as abbey beers, produced in the styles made famous by Belgian Trappist monks. De Garre Tripel is brewed for its namesake, De Garre, a charming and well-hidden pub found down a cobbled walkway. Served in a small, wide-brimmed heavy-bottomed glass, the beer can be paired with house-made pate to best bring out its full flavour. This house beer is rated one of the top 50 Tripels worldwide, and while it’s best served cold from the tap, you can also take home some bottles from De Garre.
Straffe Hendrik Quadrupel
A Quadrupel is a type of beer, with an alcohol by volume of 9.1% to 14.2% with a high chance of intoxication if not consumed carefully! The alcohol is well disguised by the wonderful aroma and taste. Contrary to what the name suggests it’s not four times as strong in alcohol content, but it does use four times as many roasted malts creating more flavour. It’s a dark beer with a pale head and distinct flavours like caramel, some liquorice and dark fruit. The brilliant Bruges Zot Blond and Brown, De Halve Maan also brews their stronger brothers: Straffe Hendrik Tripel and Quadrupel.
Book a beer-tasting trip to Bruges and leave with more beer knowledge than you had hoped for – and maybe a sore head if you overindulge! Book Green Park Hotel’s best available rates exclusively on our website.