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Brussels beer festival

As luck (maybe) would have it, we are landing in Brussels on September 6th, which appears to be the start of the big weekend beer festival in Grand Place. Has anyone ever been to this festival? How crazy and rowdy is this (Oktoberfest level?). I feel I will be missing out on Grand Place since it will be so crowded, but am I missing out on a great beer festival? We are active early 60's so don't want to be out of our element. We had planned on staying in Brussels our first few days with day trips, but may need to reassess. Thinking either 5 nights in Ghent with all day trips, or 2 nights Ghent (day trip to Bruges) and then come to Brussels on the Sunday of festival and day trip to Antwerp after that. Thoughts?

Also - not interested in spending the night in Bruges since it seems fairly sleepy at night. Thanks!

Posted by
7663 posts

I do not think you can compare it to Oktoberfest, the rowdiness there is from young (and some old) people drinking large quantities of beer for long times, with the emphasis on party. The Brussels Beer Weekend is a bit more low key. It is more people trying the wide variety of beers offered. I have not been, but had planned on it (Maybe this year or next). It is closer to the beerfests you get in the US. Breweries will have stalls set up, it costs nothing to get in, but you pay for samples. I assume it will be crowded, maybe the early hours better, to see Grand Place itself, go before the fest opens. There does appear to be some pomp with the festival, so you might see some carriages/wagons or beer officials strutting around.

As for your general plans, Brussels can be done on a day trip. There are some good museums, but they are the type that you need to have an interest in the somewhat niche subjects they offer (specific types of art, comics, musical instruments, military).

Ghent makes a great base, you could certainly do all your nights there, if you wanted to break it up, then I would do a night or two in Antwerp.

Posted by
170 posts

Thank you! That helps a lot. I feel as if it may be something not to miss! I just didn't want to find myself in the middle of a humungous drunk and rowdy crowd (those days are behind me.....)