Breweries in Antwerp City
Let’s start on Antwerp. Antwerp is the 2nd biggest city in Belgium. More importantly it’s got a healthy brewing history. Antwerp’s been brewing since the 1300s and thankfully there’s no sign of stopping.
For Craft Beer: Station 1280
Browse and buy booze to your heart’s content. This craft beer shop is a great spot if you’re just starting to explore the beer Antwerp has to offer or you’re looking for something new. While it’s popular with the locals and those who know what they’re looking for, it doesn’t get as much traffic as the bigger beer spots in Antwerp.
Because they’ve got over 200 beers on rotation, you’ve got plenty of different beers to choose from. They’ve got IPAs, stouts, and imported European beers aplenty. Take your time to browse through them all.
If you’d rather sit and enjoy a drink than shop, you can do that too at their taproom. It’s got a cozy atmosphere and 8 beers on tap. A perfect stop in the centre of town along the way.
An Antwerp Microbrewery: Carbadouche
Cabardouche is an up and coming microbrewery. Because they only launched in 2019, they’re really not as well known as the big breweries in Antwerp. That’s a shame because they've got a good range of top fermented beers. Plus, they’re under the railway in Borgerhout with a bunch of other entrepreneurial businesses too, so there’s a fun atmosphere
They do a small range of top fermented beers ranging from 5 - 9% ABV. Two blonds and one black beer. Their dry hop blond REUS was made for the Giant Parade in Borgerhout. Cabardouche also releases a limited edition beer Escort Delux each year. It’s different every time, so you never really know what to expect!
Unlike some other breweries, they sadly don’t give tours. Still, if you go on a Saturday you’ll see the beer being brewed live.
For Gluten Free Beer: Ginger Tipple
Like Cabardouche, this microbrewery didn’t launch all that long ago. But they launched with a specific goal in mind. They want to make beer that can be enjoyed during Passover, the Jewish holiday. That means they make gluten free ginger beer. This microbrewery in Antwerp city has a strong character and a strong ABV to match. It’s a great spot for fans of ginger beer especially.
You can choose from a range of five beers starting at 5% to 13% ABV. They tend to be frothy and pack a ginger punch. Ginger Tipple offers a short tour of the brewery with samples (yay!) There really isn’t another brewery like it anywhere in Antwerp.
Antwerp has lots of warehouses but this one is unique because it’s home to a fantastic brewpub. That means they brew their own beer and serve it in their pub. Unlike the others in Antwerp city, this brewery is over by the river in the New South area That means it’s a great spot to stop for a drink after a walk along the harbour or if you want to explore the new south area.
They brew quite a few beers that you can find throughout the city. But you’ll want to go to the Pakhuis for their three exclusive beers. Only at their Pakhuis can you get Antwerps Blond that’s a fruity, soft hoppy beer. Antwerps Bruin (a brown beer, chocolatey and coffee) and Den Bangelike (a fruity, sweet tripel) are also popular.
You can get a tour of their brewery but you’ll need a drinking band of around 10. Once you’ve got that many, drop them an email to work something out. It’s a totally guided tour where you get to see the brewing process up close.
The Come Back Kid: Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie
Next up is Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie. Bit off a mouthful, we know. Try saying it after you’ve had a few of their Seef beers! You’ll find this classic brewery back on the up and up in the port area of Antwerp. You should go to the area anyway since Antwerp is historically a port city, so really the brewery here is an added bonus.
This independent brewery is known for their Seef beer. The story goes that the recipe for the historic seef beer went missing in Antwerp’s archives, so Van Dyck spent three years looking for it. When he got it in 2017, he started this brewery and since then they’ve gotten big. While seef beer is the highlight of this brewery, you’ve also got a ton of special editions to try. They’ve always got something fun and unique to try out.
If you happen to be in Antwerp during the summer, this brewery is a must visit just for their courtyard and terrace. There’s bands playing, BBQs, great beer, and good vibes all around.
A Classic: De Koninck
An interactive tour at De Koninck Brewery
This malt ale you probably already know however, we highly recommend taking a brewerey tour here. Their brewery is a popular spot in Antwerp. You’ll find them near the Berchem district by Koning Albertpark. Their De Koninck beer is the beer of Antwerp city. Get it in the chalice-like glass for the real experience.
But you’re not just here to try out their beer. Their brewery tour is an interactive tour, so you don’t have a guide but you don’t really need one. The tour gives you the lowdown on the brewery’s history from the 1800s to present, plus info on how the beer is made. Basically it’s brewed in the traditional Belgian way (top fermented), it’s hoppy as heck, and they use 100% pure malts. Oh, and you get beer samples after the tour too.
Hidden Beer Spots Outside Antwerp
But there’s tons of great beer spots outside of the city that we bet you haven’t heard of either! Just a short drive away from the port city is a bunch of off the beaten track breweries in the surrounding villages and beyond. If you want a great beer experience, you have to step outside Antwerp too.
One of the Oldest Breweries in Belgium: Het Anker
First up we've got Het Anker, a brewery which can trace it's history way back to the 14th century! You'll find this place in Mechelen, a city just on the edge of Antwerp province. Its only about 20 minutes by train from Antwerp Central.
In keeping with its history, Het Anker makes their beers the traditional Belgian way: beers are top fermented and refermented in their bottles. Most famous for their Golden Carlous beer, another to look out for is the brewery's Maneblussers blond beer. Its actually the city beer for Mechelen.
On a visit to Het Anker you can also catch a guided tour of their brewery and see how they make this traditional-style Belgian beer up close and personal. You can even sample some authentic Japanese sake at Het Anker. When we say authentic we mean it. This Mechelen beer spot has a special relationship with Konishi Brewing who have been making sake in Japan since 1550!
Family Owned: De Dochter van de Korenaar
Next on the list is this unique family owned craft beer brewery in Baarle-Hertog. There’s no easy way to explain the messy borders of Baarle-Hertog, but basically it's a tiny little region in the Netherlands near the Belgian border that’s actually Belgium. There aren’t many cross-border villages in the world, so it’s worth going to the village alone and popping into the brewery while you’re there. But the brewery itself is a good attraction too.
They brew all their hoppy IPA’s at their brewery, plus a good range of wood-aged beers. While they’re mostly on the map for their hoppy beers, you’ll find dry malt and stouts to try here as well.
Their brewery tour also offers the most beer on this list. You’ll get three beers and one wood aged beer on their basic tour.
Iconic and Award Winning: Duvel Moortgat Brewery
See where Belgium's famous Duvel beer is brewed...in a brewery tucked away in a corner of Antwerp province. A trip to this iconic brewers is worth it though for the tour and the tasting afterwards. What's unique to this brewery tour is that you get to see Duvel's bottling operation - its impressive. Famous around the world, Duvel makes a lot of beer to be shipped off all over the place and it all has to be bottled. Want to find out how? Head over to Breendonk and catch a brewery tour
Sample Duvel's award winning classic, Duvel, which scooped up the title of Best Belgian Pale Beer at 2018's World Beer Awards. Or if you're looking to try something different, they've got newer, hoppier Trippel beers here too. Enjoy a drink and the ambience at the Duvel Moorgat Brewery bar, hopefully someone's hopped (pun intended) on the bar's piano and is playing a catchy tune.
Whisky and History: De Molenberg Distillery
Beer lovers can’t miss this whiskey distillery. At De Molenberg Distillery you’ll see how they make whiskey out of Het Anker Brewery’s Golden Carolus beer. It’s a family distillery and has been since the 1600s.
The Golden Carolus beer is named after Charles V the Holy Roman Emperor, who was raised in nearby Mechelen. It’s the super iconic Het Anker Brewery beer. The Van Breedam family own that too. Basically, De Molenberg is Het Anker’s whiskey sister.
At De Molenberg Distillery they make the Gouden Carolus Single Malt. It’s a Belgian single malt whisky distilled with subtle fruit aromas & vanilla. Go on a tour of their fantastic little distillery to see exactly how it’s made.
For Trappist Beer: Westmalle Brewery
Just north-east of Antwerp city you'll find this Trappist brewery. Its one of only 14 monasteries in the world which still brew this kind of beer. Never heard of it before? Basically, Trappist beer has to be brewed by Trappist monks inside a monastery. Members of the International Trappist Association (ITA), these breweries are created as a way for monks to be self-sufficient, they're not for profit. Increasingly popular in recent years, some brands have tried to label their own products as Trappist beer but have been sued. Be sure to lookout for an ITA "Authentic Trappist Product" label on your beers folks!
Anyway back to Westmalle Brewery and their beer. The monks here created the original tripel beer, all the way back in the 1930s. These beers are STRONG. No, really. Westmalle's Abbey Trippel is 9.5% ABV and their Dubbel is 7% ABV.
To give the monks some peace and quite, you won't find a brewery tour here. But, you can go on a nice walk around the abbey. Its quite scenic and should take you around 50 minutes. Head over to the brewery café to try out this special beer.
Bonus Beer Hotspot
Special Belge at PAKT
Just for you, we thought we'd throw in a little extra. On the outskirts of central Antwerp you'll find hidden gem, PAKT, and there you'll find the Special Belge Taproom. Loved by locals, it *technically* isn't a brewery just yet, but they've got a passion for Belgian craft beer and have a massive beer menu.
Enjoy a beer, or two, or three (or four...?) and pair it with some tasty nibbles. Special Belge is in a special location at PAKT. This trendy spot and sustainable entrepreneurial hub, is a short drive away from the city centre. If you're looking for a bit of variety there are coffee shops, casual eateries and fancy restaurants. Oh, you're not? You're just here for the beer? Okay, okay.
For great quality Belgian beer or if you're looking to try a bunch of the craft variety, Special Belge is where its at. With over 10 beers on tap and loads more bottled, this off the beaten track Antwerp beer spot is definitely worth a visit for beer-lovers.
Not in Flanders? No problem! Belgium has tons of breweries all over. Click here to find your next Belgian brewery experience.