Trip to Belgium/France, which breweries should I visit?

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Northern_Brewer

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Coming late to this, but for me Halve Maan was OK, but not a must-see - partly because there's so much else to do in Bruges (including some great pubs), and partly because it's just a bit too slick and corporate for my taste. If you want the real deal, go to de Dolle, about halfway between Bruges and the French border (and just over an hour from Calais) - you'll probably be guided by the main man Kris, who set up a brewery in the 1980s in an old 19th-century brewery that just oozes character (and H&S violations!!!!). Beer's great too.

This video gives a flavour -

If you are able to jump through all the relevant hoops of registering and pre-booking, it would be great to pick up a case of beer from Westvleteren on my way through.
People make a big deal of the pre-booking thing for "wholesale" amounts (48 bottles), but you can usually buy a limited amount (2x6 bottles per person) from the café without booking - and drink unlimited amounts at the café, subject to Belgium's strict drink-driving laws....
 

SebScott

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I was in Bruges and visited a bunch of smaller breweries, but one that comes to mind is definitely "Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan".

This brewery has it all, and I love my time there.

I'd like to go visit french breweries some time too, I only ever visited something as boring as the Moet manufacturer, which was to say the least a bit bland.

Keep up the suggestions in this thread, I'm making a list :D
 

Davy6Mac

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Have been to Bruges 3 times, there are many great bars etc to visit there, I use a couple of books as reference, a book called 80 beers around Bruges is a good starting point for trying many beers, some of the bars have over 400 beers on offer. The best book which lists brewery's and bars for the whole of Belgium etc is the CAMRA good beer guide to Belgium.
 

prog99

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I'm guessing the OP has done their trip now.

I know its a big corporate brewer and I'm not sure if its even still there but the Hoegaarden tour was really good when we did it(I got pretty hammered as they were not shy with freebies). You could get a combined train/bus/tour package from Brussels for the day. The bar across the road from the station was well stocked too.

Also done La-Chouffe before the duvel parent company buyout. Really enjoyed that one, irresponsibly cycled there visiting a few bars on the way.
 
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