After my years as a student at the KU Leuven, I decided to stay for a while and enjoy the city and all it has to offer. Since Leuven is known as being the home town of the Stella Artois, beer has always been interwoven with the city’s history. Now I have to be honest with you, although I visited my fair share of breweries in Belgium, I do not really enjoy drinking beer. But thanks to my boyfriend who really loves beer, throughout the years I also got to know Leuven the beer city a bit better.
So here are my tips for beer lovers who want to learn more about beer culture in Leuven
- Once a year, on the last weekend of april, the Zythos Beer Festival draws people from all over the world to the tiny town of Leuven. The Zythos Beer Festival is the biggest festival of its kind in Europe and to be fair, the choice in different beers is quite impressive. I don’t find the surroundings (a big, dark industrial hall) to be very inviting, but each beer vendor does an effort to decorate his or her stand in a way that makes it nice and welcoming.
- Due to the success of the Zythos Beer Festival, this one weekend has been extended to a whole month. The month of April in Leuven is dedicated to the art of making and tasting beer. You’ll find restaurants that offer special menu’s with accompanying beers, beer tastings, beer walks, etc.
- If you just want to enjoy a nice beer, I can recommend two cafés with an impressive beer menu: M-café and Fiere Margriet. The owners of both bars are very knowledgeable on the subject of beer, so make sure to ask for suggestions.
- You can go on a pub tasting tour or a beer- and foodparing tour. A great way to explore the Longest Bar in the World. You won’t be disappointed! Still not satisfied? Make sure to check out beerhop.be, which offers some beer experiences in the surroundings of Leuven.
- Of course, since Leuven is the home of the largest beer company in the world: InBev, you really have to join a guided tour of the Stella Artois brewery. The brewery is very modern (they recently modernized all of their brew kettles) and the guides are very good. At the end of the guided tour, you’ll get the opportunity to taste a perfectly poured Stella.
- Leuven has also some small breweries, brewery Domus being the most famous. The bar-restaurant serves their own home brewed beer, which you can enjoy with some typical local cuisine. Guided tours of the brewery are possible, but the tours require an advance booking of at least 8 people and a maximum of 30.
Feel free to add your own tips in the comments.
If you don’t mind paying quite a bit per bottle: the beer shop “Belgian Beer Shop” often sells Westvleteren Trappist beer. Their address: Tiensestraat 31, 3000 Leuven, Belgium. Their website: http://www.bestbeersfrombelgium.eu/