You’ll find this immaculately kept medieval town only a short flight across the Channel from the UK (okay, plus a two hour bus journey – but who’s counting)
Belgian beery wonders await as you enjoy a full on Bruges beer adventure amongst its canals and cobbled streets.
Where to Start: Bruges Beer Tasting
From the train station, you’re only a short walk away from the southern edge of the historic city centre with its main circle of canals. There’ll be plenty of dawdling tour groups, but just march on past them and explore this World Heritage Site.
Brouwerij De Halve Maan should definitely be on your Bruges beer must visit list. The only public brewery tour available in the city, this family-run business has been producing beers for six generations. Regular tours are organised daily in several languages, with a glass of Brugse Zot blond beer included at the end. It’s a fascinating experience, seeing how the traditional methods have been replaced by modern technology, all within the confines of a city centre brewery. Be warned: there are a few sets of steep stairways along the route!
With a 3km long beer pipeline connecting them to their new bottling and distribution facility on the outskirts, they’ve certainly set their sights on rapid expansion. Well worth the ticket price.
Diggin’ Deeper: Bruges Beer Experiences
If you’re inclined to explore even further back into the past, Café Vlissinghe is the oldest café in Bruges (1515). It’s been renovated and rebuilt a fair bit over the past 500 years, but it oozes history, with its old Flemish decoration and impressive fireplace. You can grab a quick meal alongside a bottle of their tasty house beer.
Café Rose Red, part of Hotel Cordoeanier, specialises in Trappist beer and is a top beer destination in the city. On warmer days you can sit out in their courtyard and enjoy a bottle from their impressive beer list (plus their sharing platters are pretty damn good as well!).
I’ve got to say this: 2be, or not 2be? Their mind blowing Beerwall makes this a destination to definitely tick off whilst you’re here. Alongside what might just be the longest glass-fronted display of beers and accompanying glassware in Europe (I’m guessing), they’ve a bar and terrace. Next door is a sprawling beer and memorabilia shop, which you can lose an hour or two in.
Cafe Bistro Terrastje is a lovely spot to sit outside and watch the world go by with a beer, or, if you don’t miss the kitchen opening times like we did, grab a plate of Belgian specialities to counteract all those lambic beers you’ve been supping.