Cantillon Brewery tour – Brussels, Belgium.
After adjusting to sub zero temperatures and a great nights sleep, I ‘ Googled ‘ the location of the Cantillon Brewery which was conveniently 4 km’s down the main street from where I was staying!
Cantillon Brewery is one the last breweries still producing Lambic Ales the traditional way. The majority of other breweries producing Lambic ales have turned to the dark side using preservatives, added chemicals and non-traditional methods to speed up the fermentation process however, Cantillon remain true the traditional Lambic brewing methods just as they did back in the year 1900 when production commenced and the brewery was opened.
Cantillon Brewery use ‘ open fermentation ‘ to produce their beer, check out the picture below as they use this device to cool the freshly brewed beer, then leave it to sit for another 48-72 hours which allows the brettanomyces ( wild yeast ) to infiltrate and commence the natural fermentation process which creates these sour beers known as ‘ Lambic ‘.
Cantillon produce many seasonal / specialty brews however their flagship line consists of a cherry beer ( Kriek ) raspberry beer ( Framboise ) and a Gueuze Naturally a sour beer with a unique sherbet like, yet refreshing taste. Every process required to produce beer is done in-house from bottling, grain milling, mashing and kegging. The brewery is run by the whole family including the little kids who collect the glasses after your tastings.
It would have to be the most relaxed brewery tour I’ve participated in which is a major positive! You pay 4 Euros and that entitles you to a program / booklet, a self tour where you’re free to roam the entire premises, a Q and A once you’ve done the loop of the brew house and two tastings of their unique beers. Merchandise and beer is available to purchase upon conclusion of your tour too. TIP: If you know a little bit about the lambic style and have heard of the brewery, the lovely couple who own the brew house will be happy to offer you some extra tastings and offer you some more detailed answers to your questions. If they really like you, perhaps they might even pull out a vintage bottle of their finest ales from the back too!
Over all, great tour, great people behind the brewery and excellent value if you have a spare hour or twothe next time you’re in Brussels!
Next up: Day trip to Brugge parts 1, 2 and 3.