The city of Brussels is well-known for its historic bars and traditional brewers – such as Cantillon and other lambic producers. But it’s not all just about the old, and one brewery is bringing Brussels’ beer scene firmly into the 21st century – Brussels Beer Project. A crowdfunded collaborative project established in 2013, in summer this year they opened a shiny new brewery in the city and at the end of October, their taproom was launched.
Tradition plays a huge part in the Belgian beer scene but the team behind Brussels Beer Project are all about the future; ‘Leave the abbey, join the playground’ is one of their slogans and they say they’re proud to ‘be born in 2013 and not in 1492’.
Although we were already aware of their beer (The Epicurean in Didsbury sells some of their range if you’re in Manchester), it was only days before our visit that we found out the taproom had recently opened up – definitely a good find!
Located at Antoine Dansaertstraat 188, the brewery is about a ten minute walk away from the Bourse (which is near where we were staying) and very easy to find as it’s on a main road. They open their doors Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 2-10pm, so we popped down on the Saturday afternoon.
On first impressions, it looks like a fairly small venue. The front room has the bar and a few tables, but if you walk past the bar area, you’ll find yourself in a much larger room which features plenty of tables and seating, stacks and stacks of crates and, more importantly, the brewery itself. The brewery area was divided off so you weren’t able to wander around it (although I think you can if you ask), but you could have a good nosey at it.
But what about the beer?
They had ten of their own beers available on draft, along with two guest options. The beer list is projected on the wall and everything is numbered which makes ordering much easier (and a nice opp for me to practice that counting I learnt back in high school French classes – although the lady who served us was fluent in English). Sampling multiple beers is encouraged – everything is either served in 12.5cl or 25cl (which is 250ml, or about half a pint) glasses and they have their own sampler boards available.
The beer list during our visit offered a huge variety of styles and my particular favourites were Grosse Bertha – a wheat beer – and tonka bean stout Chove Chuva: a well-balanced stout with dark chocolate and vanilla flavours which was delightfully moreish. Overall, we tried all ten of their own beers on between us during the visit (and we weren’t the only ones with that idea!)
All of the beer they had on draft was also available in bottles to take away (I think it was something ridiculously cheap like €2 a bottle to take away). along with t-shirts (€15), caps and free posters you could pick up.
The only gripe we had with the venue was a lack of bar staff. There was for most of the time we visited just one person on the bar and as it did get fairly busy, this did mean a bit of a wait. Not ideal, but it didn’t ruin our experience as it did feel more like teething problems. At the moment, they do also have very limited opening hours – again, I assume this is because it’s such a new venue. It’s the type of place that’s definitely worth a visit, and somewhere I would definitely encourage visitors to the city to make a beeline for. Oh, and if you happen to live in Brussels, you can invest in Brussels Beer Project – for €160 you’ll get 12 free beers a year for life and 5% off at the brewery. Unfortunately, you have to pick them up yourself from the brewery, so that’s us out!
More Brussels posts – including our visit to Cantillon – are coming soon!