A beer-lover’s weekend in Belgium – we’re Leuven it!
April is the month of the brew in beer capital Leuven, annually dedicating the first month of spring to the golden beverage. Do not miss out on the last weekend of April. Indulge in the impressive selection of Belgian brew at the Zythos Bier Festival.
The festival is the largest of its kind in Europe, gathering over a 100 Belgian brewers and allowing visitors to taste over 500 different types of beer, all over one weekend. Around 15 000 aficionados and fans gather from all over Europe to partake in this grand festival.
The beer capital of Europe
The Flemish Brabant capital is a small, yet cosmopolitan town, known as one of the most beautiful and lively small cities of Belgium. It boasts of both local and international breweries and has an extensive selection of cozy bars. The city is home to AB InBev, the world’s biggest brand-name brewery and a large number of local, smaller breweries promising a mecca for anyone interested in a taste of the Belgian amber nectar. Because of this thriving industry, you will be able to meet many friendly locals that can teach you interesting facts about the craft.
An exhibition of the brew
The Zythos Bier Festival (ZBF) is held in the Brabanthal, a grand exhibition hall in Leuven. Navigate through the stands offering samples of 10cl allowing you to discover and maybe rediscover old and new favorites of the Belgian brew. Representatives from the breweries are on stand to provide you with interesting information about their favorites. Maybe they will inspire you to try making your own some day? Join in on the fun with activities such as the beer cocktail workshop where you get to mix your own, or take part in a blind tasting, and beer tasting classes, introducing you to the brewing process.
A taste of Belgium
With this extensive selection of brews on offer, you should check out this year’s beer list, where you can plan your trip through the exhibition hall and make sure you get to taste the most popular or most rare kinds. Even though beer can fill you up pretty well there is also a delicious selection of food on the premises. Visit the food section near exhibition area where you can indulge in pasta, cheese plates and other tasty snacks that match your choice of drink. Fill up on two of our definite favorites: a Belgian waffle or the classic Belgian Frites.
Go on a tasting tour
If you feel like getting some fresh air and savoring your beverage in a different setting there are plenty of beer tours to choose from. This beer capital does not disappoint and has a lot of nice venues and breweries worth a visit whether you are a hardened fan or have a newfound interest. If you are more than a little interested in the brew we can recommend attending one of the tastings where you can go in depth and learn about the ingredients and procedures involved in this craft. Tickle your taste buds and learn to appreciate the beautiful handcraft that is Belgian brew. For an extensive selection of fun and versatile tours you should get in touch with Beerhop.
While in the beer capital, you would naturally expect to see some familiar brand names. One of them is Stella Artois, founded in Leuven at the original Den Hoorn brewery. Take the tour and quench your thirst in “Den Thuis”, the local brewery café.
Another local name to keep in mind is the charming Domus Brewery, a family owned micro-brewery and pub. Crafted with modern, small-scale equipment they produce year-round and seasonal beers that are sure to accommodate any preference.
Master brewer Marc Andries welcomes you to his Brewery De Vlier. He has been running it for over 10 years. He crafts a permanent collection as well as limited edition delicious and explosive beers with wonderful tastes. Arrange for a tasting and let Marc tell you all about his journey from vision to the reality of running his very own brewery.
Keep your own tasting notes
The Untappd app makes it easier for you to remember the beers you have already tasted and provides the chance to rate them. It also allows you to check out what others have recommend and find your new favorites. Educate yourself on the many different kinds and take your appreciation of beer to a whole new level.
For easy and comfortable accommodation while experiencing this sensational festival you can stay at the Park Inn by Radisson Leuven Hotel, conveniently located just meters from the Central Station where you can catch the free shuttle to Brabanthal every ten minutes.