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Brewery tours

I'm developing a 6-night itinerary for Belgium split between Brugge and Ghent for spring 2015 and would like to add brewery tours. My wife may not match my enthusiasm, so I'm hoping for 1-3 tours. I'm most interested in those that haven't adopted more modern methods. The obvious choices are De Halve Maan in Brugge, Gruut brewery in Ghent, and the Cantillon Brewery on a day trip to Brussels.

At the top of my wish list is De Dolle tour in English at 2 p.m. on Sundays in Esen. So far, I haven't found an easy way to get there from Brugge or Ghent. Since we'll be drinking beer, renting a car isn't an option. Any suggestions?

Are there other breweries with tours near Brugge/Ghent/Brussels that you'd recommend?

Posted by
8906 posts

While the De Halve Maan in Brugge is an interesting/entertaining tour, you'll see a lot of modern equipment housed in a historic building. But you'll see some of the older decommissioned machinery in some of the "museum" parts of the tour.

Posted by
4656 posts

I've searched the De Lijn site and apparently the only public transport service to Esen is a dial-a-ride service (Belbus No. 47) from Diksmuide. I'd be very concerned about using any such service if I didn't speak the language. I suspect a taxi may be best. Or you could contact De Dolle Brouwers to ask for advice.

Posted by
1464 posts

In Melle near Ghent you can visit brewery L.Huyge, well known for their Delirium Tremens (pink elephant) beer, they have a little museum too. From downtown Ghent take tram (line 21) to Melle Leeuw, change there to the bus to Melle Pontstraat, stops almost in front of the brewery, but check if this is really the best connection. More info see www.delirium.be

Posted by
1 posts

You can walk from the train station to Esen. I've done it--it's not that far. There are lockers at the train station to store any extra bags you do not want to carry. You could also rent a bike, bring it with you on the train, and ride to the brewery (safer than driving!).

De Dolle is one of the best breweries in all of Belgium to visit--beautiful, charming and stellar beer. De Halve Maan is set up for tourists and not much of a brewery experience. But, one of the best beer bars in the country is in Bruges: 't Brugse Beertje.

Cantillon is not to be missed.

For more information, check out Tim Webb's Good Beer Guide to Belgium (a little dated and some inaccuracies, but generally useful), and the city beer guides on Beer Advocate for more current information.

Posted by
149 posts

Thanks everyone. According to the Belgian rail website, we can take the train to the station in Diksmuide from either Brugge or Ghent. I sent an email to De Dolle and Kris replied that they could pick us up there. I like Sarah's suggestion of walking or biking instead (hopefully the weather will cooperate). We'll also include the Cantillon Brewery on our day trip to Brussels along with 't Brugse Beertje while we're in Brugges, and other bars in Brussels and Ghent. Thanks Sarah for confirming my worry about the experience at De Halve Maan. Does anyone know if you can enjoy the view from the roof if you just stop by the bistro for a beer (or two)?