It’s become fashionable to like Belgian beer and anyone traveling in the country would sound foolish if they proclaimed they’d not at least tried a few. In fact, it’s not so uncommon to run across people traveling around the country with that as their main itinerary. Well, I guess I am one of these latter “beer nuts.” But there are beer nuts that just try as much as they can and there are those that want to know something about the beer and truly seek out not just beers per se but also beer experiences. I like to think of myself in this latter category as well. Some places have more of a history than others and certain beer styles follow suit. Lambic is a style of beer uniquely Belgian and unique even amongst the country’s many. These unusual beers are made up of ingredients not too different than others but the hops used are aged and hence less bitter. More importantly the fermentation is spontaneous. This type of fermentation can only occur in special places cultivated to do so. One such place is Cantillon. The brewery is so special in fact that the city has designated it the Museum of Gueuze, a spritzy bottled version of the more raw lambic style.
The Cantillon brewery is a century old traditional brewery which produces the kinds of beers called LAMBIC (difficult to explain this beer, all I know is that the taste is very different to every other kind of beer, you'll sure be surprised), GUEUZE (blend of 1, 2 and 3-year-old lambic), FARO (lambic with addition of caramel and candy sugar) and KRIEK (cherry beer). If you want to learn about the production process of these beers, visit the brewery museum. Guided tours are on demand. But when you arrive there, you receive a booklet containing all necessary information. For more details, you can also visit their website.
At the end of your "self-guided tour", you can taste a real traditional Gueuze-Lambic. I can tell you it's very different from every beer I have ever tasted, even from the "modern" Lambic and Gueuze which are sweeter and less "acidic" than the traditional ones.
The brewery is open everyday from 9am to 5pm (Sat. from 10 to 5) and it's closed on Sunday and official holiday.
Entrance fee : about 3 euros
This is much better than the beer museum at the grand place!
This is actually a still functioning gueuze beer brewery, and the only place where 'real gueuze' is still being made. You get a tour through the brewery, and get to know more about the brewing process. At the end you can try a (small) glass of gueuze, and a fruit beer.
Admission is 5,-
We visited this "museum" just before to leave for Bruges, it tooks a couple of hours. I don't want to describe what's inside, since there are many vt tips about that and very good and helpful. I can add only that the ticket costs 4 euro (i went ther on february the 11th) and that they speak many languages so you can ask many things if you are interested in the brewing process.
You can also but some bottles of beer, and it's very good: I could taste the difference between their gueuze and the one i tried the night after... the latter was closer to the winegar than to the beer!
I think they deserve a visit because (they said) that's the last brewery that makes beer with natural fermentation and without chemical yeasts.