Belgian Sour Beers – The Sessions #91

When I first started traveling to the Netherlands in 2002, one of the first things I fell in love with was the large number of beer options.  In any shop or bar, there were so many choices of wonderful Belgian beers made in styles I hadn’t encountered much at my watering holes in Connecticut. Every night would offer up new samples of Belgian Blond Ales, Dubbels, and Tripels. Many of these were a bit sweet, and most were quite strong. At the time, this was what I was looking for in a beer.

Then came the Kulminator.

After my fateful visit in May, 2005, I had a new Belgian love – Belgian Sour Beers.

My first Belgian sour beer was also one of the best Belgian sour beers out there, the Rodenbach Grand Cru. It’s a good thing too, because when I took my first sip, I didn’t know that I had ordered a sour beer, and a lesser beer may have turned me off of the style entirely.

Rodenbach Grand Cru - My first love of Belgian Sour Beers #beer #ourtastytravels

Rodenbach Grand Cru

I had recently discovered the beer site RateBeer, and made it my mission to find and try as many beers as possible from their list of the best Belgian beers. I didn’t look into the styles or descriptions, I just wanted to try them all!  I carried that list with me everywhere, and was always on the lookout for beers I could tick off of it.  When I sat down in the Kulminator that day, I knew I’d be marking off a couple, and chose the Rodenbach Grand Cru for the first off my list that day.


I was still relatively new to the Belgian beer scene, and hadn’t done a lot of research into the different styles available.  I assumed the beer would be similar to the other Belgian beers I had been enjoying in the Netherlands. When that first sip hit my tongue, I had no clue what I was in for! The sour hit my tongue like a hammer, and at first I thought it was a bottle gone bad.  This can’t be beer, can it? I asked, and yes, this is what the beer was supposed to taste like, so I decided I would keep drinking and see why it had made the top-50 list.  By the end of the glass, I was in love.

What are Belgian Sour Beers?

Sour beers are achieved when the brewer allows wild yeast strains, such as Brettanomyces, to enter into the brewing process.  For Belgian sour beers, the brewers often allow the yeast to enter through the barrels, or while sitting in giant cooling tanks during the brewing process.

Popular styles of Belgian Sour Beers include Flanders Red Ale, such as the Rodenbach beers including the Grand Cru and Vintage, as well as the lambic and gueuze style beers from the area around Brussels, such as those brewed by Cantillon3 Fonteinen and Oud Beersel.

Rodenbach 2010 Vintage Oak Aged Ale (Barrel No 144)

Rodenbach 2010 Vintage Oak Aged Ale (Barrel No 144)

This post is part of The Sessions #91, a series of beer blogs on a similar topic.  This month’s session is hosted by Belgian Smaak, and is themed around “My First Belgian”.

Cantillon Zwanze Day 2014 – September 20, 2014

If you are a beer lover visiting Brussels, the a visit to the Cantillon is likely at the top of your to-do list.  As the last operating lambic brewery in Brussels, this is not just a visit to a brewery, but a piece of history as well.

Lambic Masters - Jean van Roy of Cantillon and Armand Debelder of 3 Fonteinen

Lambic Masters – Jean van Roy of Cantillon and Armand Debelder of 3 Fonteinen

I visited the Cantillon brewery in Brussels a number of times throughout 2013, including a visit in September for their Zwanze Day event both at the brewery and at the Moeder Lambic pub in Brussels. One of the best benefits of visiting the brewery in person is that you can often sample beers that are not available for retail sale and take-home consumption, but only for sampling on site. You also have the opportunity to tour the working brewing facilities during your visit, which is quite a treat as this is a true visage of old-time brewing traditional methods.

Cantillon has seen a large amount of growth recently, including the use of Brussels’ old abandoned bomb shelter for cellaring their beers for up to thirty years and an expansion near their current brewing facility that will double their brewing capacity.  They also recently purchased a large new addition of barrels in which to age their lambics.  This should lead to increased production of their current line of offerings, and hopefully new offerings in the future?

Cantillon Zwanze Day 2013 Attendance at Moeder Lambic Fontainas in Brussels

Cantillon Zwanze Day 2013 Attendance at Moeder Lambic Fontainas in Brussels

Cantillon Zwanze Day 2013 Ticket for 1 Glass of Zwanze

Cantillon Zwanze Day 2013 Ticket for 1 Glass of Zwanze

Zwanze day is an annual event that Cantillon holds, in which they brew a small batch of an experimental beer and offer it for sale in a select group of pubs around the world.  This beer is usually a different style each year, and is something other than a traditional Cantillon lambic.  This allows the brewers to experiment and take part in the fun, semi-sarcastic humor of Brussels, the true meaning of the word zwanze.  For 2014, the Zwanze beer is called “Cuvée Florian“, and is a blend of Cantillon Oude Kriek, with 40% less fruit, and Iris Grand Cru, aged for three years in a 400-liter cask, with no secondary fermentation.  This beer was initially made as a one-off for Jean van Roy’s son’s 18th birthday, and has now been elevated to Zwanze 2014.

Cantillon Selection on Draft at Zwanze Day 2013 at Moeder Lambic in Brussels

Cantillon Selection on Draft at Zwanze Day 2013 at Moeder Lambic in Brussels

Cantillon Zwanze 2013 : Abbaye de Cureghem (Cureghem Abbey)

Cantillon Zwanze 2013 : Abbaye de Cureghem (Cureghem Abbey)

Here is the list of bars around the world participating in Zwanze Day 2014.  All of the bars listed below are supposed to be tapping the beer at 9:00PM Brussels Time, with the ceremony led and broadcast over the internet by Jean van Roy, Master Brewer at Cantillon, typically from the Moeder Lambic – Fontainas pub in Brussels.

Here is the video of Jean van Roy introducing Zwanze 2013:

Most of these bars will be selling tickets for the event, which often sell out quickly. Contact the pub you wish to attend at to see when tickets will be available and book yours as soon as you can.


- Alewife Queens — Long Island City, New York
- Apex – Portland, Oregon
- Armsby Abbey — Worcester, Massachusetts
- Avenue Pub — New Orleans, Louisiana
- Bagby Beer – Oceanside, California
- Beachwood BBQ — Seal Beach, California
- Bier Station – Kansas City, Missouri
- Birch Bar — Norfolk, Virginia
- ChurchKey — Washington, D.C.
- Crooked Stave Barrel Cellar — Denver, Colorado
- Hill Farmstead Brewery — Greensboro, Vermont
- Holy Grale — Louisville, Kentucky
- Jester King Brewery — Austin, Texas
- Lord Hobo – Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Mikkeller Bar SF — San Francisco, California
- Monk’s Café — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Novare Res Bier Café — Portland, Maine
- REAL a Gastropub — Honolulu, Hawai’i
- Redlight, Redlight — Orlando, Florida
- Russian River Brewing — Santa Rosa, California
- Schera’s – Elkader, Iowa
- Spuyten Duyvil — Brooklyn, New York
- West Lakeview Liquors — Chicago, Illinois


- Dieu du Ciel — Montréal, Québec
- barVolo — Toronto, Ontario
- Biercraft – Vancouver, British Columbia


- Ma Che Siete Venuti A Fà — Rome
- The Dome — Nembro
- Sherwood Pub — Nicorvo
- The Drunken Duck — Quinto Vicentino
- Ristopub Margherita — Quartu Sant’Elena
- Ottavonano — Atripalda


- Moeder Lambic Fontainas — Brussels
- Moeder Lambic Saint-Gilles — Brussels
- Mi-Orge Mi-Houblon – Arlon
- Rose Red — Brugge


- Belgian Beer Café — Melbourne


- Brussels Otemachi – Tokyo
- Keller Keller Kranz — Osaka


- Nøgne Ø – The Apotekergaarden – Grimstad


- Pikkulitu — Helsinki


- Olbutikken — Copenhagen


- Café Herman — Berlin


- De Bierkoning — Amsterdam


- Akkurat — Stockholm


- Masia Agullons — Sant Joan de Mediona


- La Fine Mousse — Paris
- La Capsule — Lille


- The Dove Broadway Market — London
- Kernel Brewery — Bermondsey
- Six° North — Aberdeen


- Erzbierschof — Liebefeld

Oud Beersel Brewery in Beersel, Belgium

When most people think of breweries located in the village of Beersel, just 10km outside of Brussels, their first thoughts run towards the 3 Fonteinen brewery. But this is not the only lambic brewer in Beersel.  You can also take advantage of a visit to Beersel’s other authentic lambic brewer, Oud Beersel.

Oud Beersel Brewery, Beersel, Belgium #beer #travel #ourtastytravels

Oud Beersel has been brewing beer since 1882, and is one of the last remaining authentic lambic breweries.  They produce an Oude Geuze, Oude Kriek, and Framboise in the traditional lambic style, as well as the popular Bersalis Tripel and Bersalis Kadet top fermented beers.  They also produce Oud Kriekske, a liqueur based on their Oude Kriek.

Oud Beersel Kriek and Geuze #beer #travel #ourtastytravels

Kriek and Geuze

Oud Beersel Framboise #beer #travel #ourtastytravels


Visits to the Oud Beersel Brewery can be arranged at any time by contacting the organization De Geuzen van Oud Beersel.  But if you’re not able to make an appointment, the brewery is open to the public on the first Saturday of every month, offering tours in Dutch (11 am and 12:30 pm) and English (12:30 pm and 2:00 pm) and a talking bar.  The tour will give you a unique opportunity to visit the brewery museum, as well as giving you an opportunity to try and purchase beers right at the source.

Oud Beersel Brewery #beer #travel #ourtastytravels

Oud Beersel Brewery

Oud Beersel Brewery is located 1.5 km from the 3 Fonteinen brewery, and only 1.8 km from the Station Beersel if you are visiting by train from Brussels.

Information on Oud Beersel Brewery

Oud Beersel Brewery
Laarheidestraat 230
1650 Beersel

3 Fonteinen Brewery Open Beer Days in Belgium: September 4-8, 2014

From August 30 through September 3, 2012, the 3 Fonteinen Brewery near Brussels held their annual open beer days.  This is a rare opportunity to visit one of the premier brewers of the local specialty lambic beers.  The event includes free tours of the brewery in Dutch, French and English, a chance to taste some of their products, and most importantly, a chance to buy some of their special, old bottles not usually available for purchase in the shop.  You may also get a chance to meet Armand and Lydie Debelder, the owners and brewer of the 3 Fonteinen beers.

Armand Debelder finishing up a tour of 3 Fonteinen Brewery #beer #belgium #ourtastytravels

Armand Debelder finishing up a tour of 3 Fonteinen Brewery


Armand Debelder's Philosophy on Blending Geuze #beer #belgium #ourtastytravels

Armand Debelder’s Philosophy on Blending Geuze

Lydie Debelder helping a customer with their special beer purchases. #beer #belgium #ourtastytravels

Lydie Debelder helping a customer with their special beer purchases.

Available for tasting at lat year’s event were the 3 Fonteinen Lambic, Oude Geuze, Oude Kriek, and Faro as well as the Beersel Blond, Lager and  I had to partake of a Faro here, as they don’t bottle this for normal sale.  The Faro seems to be usually available only in the 3 Fonteinen Restaurant located next door.  Faro is a lambic blended with caramel and candied sugar.  It retains the normal sourness of a lambic, but with a nice sweetness that makes it quite smooth.  These beers are usually short lived, only three to four weeks in the bottle, as the added sugars result in very active fermentation that could make the bottle explode!

Tasting Bar at 3 Fonteinen Open Beer Days #beer #belgium #ourtastytravels

Tasting Bar at 3 Fonteinen Open Beer Days

The 3 Fonteinen Faro, only available at the Restaurant or during the Open Beer Days #beer #belgium #ourtastytravels

The 3 Fonteinen Faro, only available at the Restaurant or during the Open Beer Days

3 Fonteinen Oude Kriek - Amazing color! #beer #belgium #ourtastytravels

3 Fonteinen Oude Kriek – Amazing color!

For the bottles for purchase in the store, the following options were available:

Beers available for purchase at 3 Fonteinen Brewery

3 Fonteinen

Oude Geuze 0.375 L €2.50
Oude Geuze 0.75 L €4.45
Golden Blend Oude Geuze 0.375 L €8.00
Oude Kriek 0.375 L €3.85
Schaarbeekse Kriek 0.75L €12.00

Armand D4 2010 Limited Edition Oude Geuze 0.75 L €24 each for Autumn, Summer and Winter.
Spring is only available as part of the limited edition (500) collector’s box at €110.00

Horal’s Oude Geuze Mega Blend 2011 0.75 L €7.00


Blond 0.33 L €1.25
Lager 0.33 L €1.15 0.33 L €1.75

Special Offerings during 3 Fonteinen Open Beer Days (2012)

Oude Geuze Vintage 2003 0.75 L €24.00 (max 1)
Oude Geuze Vintage 2005 0.75 L €17.00 (max 1)
Oude Geuze Vintage 2008 0.75 L €10.00 (max 6)
Oude Geuze Vintage 2008 0.375 L €6.00 (max 6)

Doesjel Vintage 2006 0.75 L  €7.00 (max 6)
Doesjel Vintage 2010 0.375 L €4.00 (max 6)

Oude Kriek 2006 0.375 L € 6.00 (max 1)
Schaarbeekse Kriek 2006 0.75 L € 20.00 (max 1)
Schaarbeekse Kriek 2008 0.75 L € 15.00 (max 6)

Straffe Winter 0.75 L € 34.00 (max 1)

Selection of 3 Fonteinen Special Beers available during the 2012 Open Beer Days #beer #belgium #ourtastytravels

Selection of 3 Fonteinen Special Beers available during the 2012 Open Beer Days

The 2013 Open Beer Days were held from Thursday, September 5 through Monday, September 9, 2013.  Much of their offerings were same as from 2012, however there was less to choose from.

The 2014 Open Beer Days will be held from Thursday, September 4 through Monday, September 8, 2014.  If you’re looking to pick up a few of the rare older bottles, try to get there on Thursday or Friday, as quantities are often limited and they run out of choice vintages fast!

If you’re driving to 3 Fonteinen, they’re off Exit 19 on the R0 Ring Brussels.  As you’re exiting, veer to the right to cross back under the highway and head up into Beersel (don’t go straight towards Lot).  When you hit the top of the hill with the large church, you can see the Restaurant 3 Fonteinen in the square, and the brewery in just around the corner on the main road.  Parking is free in the spots in front of the church and restaurant.

3 Fonteinen Restaurant - Beersel, Belgium #beer #belgium #ourtastytravels

3 Fonteinen Restaurant – Beersel, Belgium

Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen
Hoogstraat 2a
1650 Beersel

Restaurant 3 Fonteinen
Herman Tierlinckplein 3
1650 Beersel
+32 (0)2  331 06 52

New Brew Thursday: Petrus Aged Red

Well, it’s been a very long time…but I believe I may have finally found it.

My least favorite beer ever? Could it be?

Tonight I stopped by my local beer bar to see if they had anything new on offer I may be interested in trying.  I saw a few new offerings on the menu, and dcided to give one a try.  Petrus Aged Red, a Flanders Oud Bruin from Brouwerij Bavik in Belgium.  This is a style I actually usually enjoy, with the Liefman’s Goudenband of this style being one of my go-to beers in a pinch.

Petrus Aged Red

Petrus Aged Red

What did I think of the Petrus Aged Red?  Think Robitussin, with a touch of Benadryl!

Why does cherry syrup have to taste so bad. And since it does, why use it???

Petrus Aged Red

Petrus Aged Red

I had decent hopes here, but they were very quickly dashed. I took one sip, and knew this beer was not for me. It smelled like a Shirley Temple. And tasted like cough syrup. Definitely not a Kriek. And not up to par with other Oud Bruins that I’ve tried.

I’ve had beers before that I hated at first but grew on me. Sour beers in general gained my respect in this manner (thank you Rodenbach Grand Cru). So I’m giving this beer a shot. I’ve been sipping at it now for over 30 minutes.

Can someone please knock over my table?

No.  The remainder of this beer, sadly, went down the drain.

Best Bars in Antwerp, Belgium: Bierhuis Kulminator

While Brussels may have the bar with the largest selection of beers in the world, there is another bar located in nearby Antwerp that is, in fact, the Mecca for beer lovers everywhere.  This bar is Antwerp’s famed Bierhuis Kulminator.  While only boasting around 600 different beers at any given time, it is the quality of the beer selection here that makes this pub so much more cherished than the Delirium Cafe.

Kulminator in Antwerp, Belgium

Kulminator in Antwerp, Belgium

Kulminator boasts a 30+ page menu featuring one of the largest selections of premium beers around.  What separates this menu from the others is the high quality selection of vintage beers you can choose from.  There is an incredible selection of vintage beers, including beers over 30 years old, some of which are no longer even produced.

On my visit here in May 2005, I tried one of the last jewels in my tasting of Trappist Beers, the Westvleteren 6 (Red Cap), last brewed in 1998, and since replaced by the Westvleteren Blonde.  I also tried the Bush Prestige and had my first taste of what has become one of my favorite sipping beers, the Rodenbach Grand Cru.

The Kulminator is not a large place, and at peak times, it can be difficult to get in.  However, when you are there during a more slow time, it can be an amazing experience.  A visit to the Kulminator can be like sitting at your local pub, only with much better beer!  The owners man the counter, and are very helpful in their recommendations and assisting with your selection process.  When they return with your beer and matching glass, the beer is served properly and you can truly enjoy your fine beer drinking experience.

The Kulminator is located not far from the Grote Markt and Cathedral, though can be a little difficult to find if you’re not sure how to get there.  One definite downside is that they are not open on Sundays, so if you are not staying in Antwerp and want to go on the weekend, you’re limited to Friday or Saturday nights.

Be sure to check out Chuck Cook’s article / interview on Beer Advocate for some great insight on the origins of the Kulminator and their beer selections.

Hours: Monday 8pm-?, Tues-Fri 12pm-12:30am, Sat 5pm-?.  Closed Sunday.

Vleminckveld 32
Antwerpen, 2000 Belgium
+32 (0)3 232 45 38

Visiting Westmalle Trappist Brewery and Monastery

During Erin’s first visit to the Netherlands, we hoped to be able to visit a couple of the famed Trappist breweries.  On our way to spend a day in Antwerp and night in Brussels, we decided to make our first stop at the Westmalle Brewery in Belgium.

Westmalle Trappist Brewery

Westmalle Trappist Brewery

Westmalle Trappist is brewed by the monks of the Abdik Onze-Lieve-Vrouw van het Helig Hart in Westmalle, Belgium, just east of Antwerp.  The abbey is cloistered, with the monks living a peaceful life of prayer and work.  As such, the abbey is not open to the public.  As the brewery is located within the walls of the abbey, it too is not open for visitors, however located very nearby to the abbey and brewery (basically across the street)is the Cafe Trappisten Westmalle where you can experience this Trappist beer as close to the source as possible, as well as watch a film about the monastery, the brewery, the farm and the cheese making facility at the abbey.

Cafe Trappisten Westmalle

Cafe Trappisten Westmalle

Westmalle has been brewing beer since 1836, and has two commercial offerings, the Westmalle Dubbel and Westmalle Tripel.  They also make the Westmalle Extra which is brewed twice a year and is only for internal consumption at the monastery.   The Tripel is a golden yellow beer with 9.5% alcohol and secondary bottle fermentation.  It has been brewed using almost the same recipe for over 50 years.  The Dubbel also undergoes secondary bottle fermentation, is reddish-brown, and 7% alcohol.  With some minor changes, it has been available for over 80 years.  What makes this beer a little more known is that it is also the only dark Trappist beer available in draught around the world!

Westmalle Trappist Dubbel

Westmalle Trappist Dubbel

The Cafe Trappisten is one such place with the Westmalle Dubbel available on draft, and also serves the Tripel and a wide selection of other beverages.  They also have a decent selection of food, including basics such as Trappist Cheese and meats, sandwiches, desserts, and even a rabbit stew cooked in the Trappist beer!  The cafe is open daily from 10am to midnight.

Trappist Cheese

Trappist Cheese

Westmalle Trappist Brewery
Antwerpsesteenweg 496
B-2390 Westmalle – Belgium
Tel: +32 3 312 92 22
Fax: +32 3 312 92 28

Café Trappisten
Antwerpsesteenweg 487
B-2390 Westmalle – Belgium
Tel: +32 3   312 05 02
Fax: +32 3   311 56 42

Best Belgian Beers: Abbaye des Rocs

Throughout my stay in the Netherlands, I had the incredible opportunity to try a large number of European beers.  Of all of these, one of my favorites has always been the Abbaye des Rocs Bruin from Brasserie de l’Abbaye des Rocs.  

Abbaye des Rocs is a relatively new brewery, with roots going back only as far as 1979.  Over the years they have had a number of offerings, with their normal lineup including the Abbaye des Rocs Bruin, Abbaye des Rocs La Montagnarde, and Abbaye des Rocs Blanche des Honnelles.  While all three of these are wonderful examples of Belgian Dubbel Brown Ale, Belgian Amber Ale and Belgian Witbier respectively, the Bruin Dubbel is amongst my top 10 beers of my entire time living in the Netherlands. 

The Bruin is a pure malt beer, double fermented, with no added sugar.  Seven different malts and three types of hops (Belgian, German and Czech) are combined to make this beautiful amber colered ale.  The beer has some wine-like tendencies, and has a great mouthfeel, and a wonderful, woody flavor, without the over-sweet taste of many dubbel ales.

The Abbaye des Rocs brewery is rather out of the way to get to, requiring a lengthy drive through the beautiful Belgian Countryside, close to the French border, between Chimay and Westvleteren.  I made one attempt to visit the brewery in June, 2005, and did manage to finally find the brewery, but it did not appear to be open at the time!  I did a little trespassing and saw a little of the grounds where they did appear to be working, but never did find any form of cafe or shop open at the time.  Something to keep on my wishlist for next time! 

Abbaye des Rocs Brewery

Abbaye des Rocs Brewery

In the meantime, great news came a few weeks ago when I noticed that all three of these amazing beers are now available at our local City Super supermarket in Tienmu, Taipei, where I stop (almost) every Monday for our weekly fix of Din Tai Fung dumplings!  More recent visits have found only the Blanche des Honnelles and La Montagnarde on the shelf, but I do have a few bottles left here at home, and hope to see the Bruin back on the shelf soon! 

Abbaye des Rocs Bottle

Abbaye des Rocs Bruin

Brasserie de l’Abbaye des Rocs
37, Chaussée Brunehault
7387 Montignies-sur-Roc
Tel: +32 65 75 59 99
Fax: +32 65 75 59 98

Visiting Achelse Kluise Trappist Brewery in Belgium

Achel Brewery is the newest, and least known of the Trappist breweries in Belgium.  Achel is brewed by the monks at the Sint Benedictus Abdij in Achel, Belgium, just over the border from the Netherlands.  The monastary has a history at the site dating back to the 1600′s, and a beer brewing history back to the 1850′s, but this was initially halted during WWI when the copper brewing works were commandeered by the German war effort.  The brewery was rebuilt in 1998, and the first Achel Trappist beers hit the market in 2001.

Brewing Tanks at Achel Brewery

Achel’s beers can be found around the world (even here in Taiwan!), but one of the best ways to enjoy this beer is at the brewery itself!  The Achelse Kluise, as the monastary is known, is located along the well laid out bike trails in Noord-Brabant, and is just a short drive out of Valkenswaard and Eindhoven in the Netherlands.  A visit to the monastary can be topped off with a stop in the cafe, where you can have a quick bite to eat and try the local brewed Trappist beer.  The 5° Bruin and Blond beers (5% ABV) can only be tasted here on draft in the cafeteria.  The normal product you see in bottles in stores is the 8° which is 8% ABV.  You can enjoy your beer and snack in the beer garden, surrounded by the walls of the monastary.

Beer Garden at Achelse Kluis

If you are looking to try some other Belgian beers, try to pay a visit to the food store and beer hall located on the premises of the monastary, where you can buy large selections of other Belgian beers at excellent, almost wholesale prices!  Local food products are also available here in the market and are a wonderful treat!

Achel Monestary looking towards the food store / beer hall

You may also wish to check out the book store and gallery with information on life in the area and at the monastary.

The Achelse Kluis monastary is open year round, except certain holidays like Christmas and Easter.

During Low Season from October to April, the cafe is open Tuesday through Sunday from 12-5PM (bar closes at 4:30).  Closed Mondays.  The gallery and book store are open Tuesday through Friday from 12:30-5PM, Saturday 12-4:30PM, and Sunday from 12:30-5PM.  Closed Mondays.

During High Season from May to September, the cafe is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11-5:30PM (bar closes at 5PM).  Closed Mondays.  The gallery and book store are open Tuesday through Friday from 11-5PM, Saturday 10:30-4:30PM, and Sunday from 11-5PM.  Closed Mondays.

The food store / beer hall is open year round from 9-12 and 12:30-5PM from Tuesday through Saturday, closed Sundays and Mondays.

St. Benedictusabdij De Achelse Kluis
De Kluis 1
3930 Hamont-Achel
Phone: +32 011.800760 however much of the information is only available on the Dutch pages.

Ter Dolen Kasteelbrouwerij: Castle and Brewery Tour in Belgium

One of the best parts of living close to Belgium was the vast multitude of opportunities to visit local breweries.  Especially as so many of these are located within scenic environments, such as monestaries and castles.  One such example is Kasteelbrowerij Ter Dolen in Helechteren. 

Ter Dolen Castle is a 16th century castle once inhabited by the abbots of Sint-Truiden.  Since, 1994, this castle has been renovated and turned into a family-run brewery, pub and bed & breakfast.  During the winter months, the pub is the place to be, with a nice fire to warm your chilled bones.  In the summer, there is a wonderful terrace to sit down and relax with a glass of the tasty Belgian beers being served up. 

I’ve been to Ter Dolen a couple of times, as it is one of the closest breweries to Eindhoven, the Netherlands.  My first time was in April, 2004 when some colleagues from work brought me down on a weekend.  We managed to snag a table at the terrace, and even enjoy the tour of the ultra-modern brewery itself (Saturdays and Sundays at 3PM, approx. 45 minutes, €5 per person including 1 drink.  Dutch language only)  

Ter Dolen beers are typical Belgian Abbey Beers; at present, the beer line-up at Ter Dolen consists of Ter Dolen Lager (6.1 %), Ter Dolen Dark (7.1 %), Ter Dolen Triple (8.1 %) and Ter Dolen Kriek (4.5 %).  My favorite among these is the Triple, as the Ter Dolen Dark is the style of dark that I find to be a little too sweet at times, but not overpoweringly so like many others.  The Kriek is one of their most popular beers, especially when combined with a nice sunny day in the courtyard (and a drive home afterwards). 

Beer selection at Ter Dolen

The beer is available in the following packaging: 

  • barrels of 30 litres
  • crates of 24 x 33 cl bottles
  • wooden crates of 9 x 33 cl bottles
  • wooden crates of 4 x 33 cl bottles and a beer glass Ter Dolen
  • cluster of 3 x 33 cl bottles
  • It’s a very convenient drive straight south from Eindhoven to get to the castle/brewery, with signs located along the main road as you enter Helechteren.  You can combine a visit to Ter Dolen with some other breweries in the area, such as Achel Trappist, or make a day of it enjoying the nice weather in the courtyard. 

    October until March
    Friday from 18.00
    Saturday and Sunday from 13.00
    Public holidays from 13.00 

    April – May – June – September
    Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays from 12.00 

    July – August
    Seven days a week, from 12.00 hrs. 

    Kasteelbrouwerij Ter Dolen
    Eikendreef 21
    3530 Houthalen-Helchteren 
    +32 11 606 999

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