Boozing Through Belgium: Brussels and Bruge

Belgium may not be on your upcoming “TO-DO List”, but it most certainly should be penciled near the top beacuse this place has a lot to offer. I wasn’t planning to visit Belgium any time soon, as I have traveled through most of Europe near Belgium. I figured I’d rather spend time and money traveling to new places in different corners of the world. However, by a happy mistake of a cheaper flight leaving to the USA from the Brussels airport, I decided to make a two-day stopover — and it was one of the best decisions of my life!

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Belgium is All About the Beer

Belgium is most well-known and world-renowned for its beer.  All kinds of beer, from pale lagers to stouts to IPAs to Flemish Reds. No matter what your hop is, you can find plenty of it here.

The world’s largest brewery, Delirium, rests in the center of Brussels. Delirium currently has 3,162 beers on tap and is still growing. This means that even if you were a local in Brussels and able to sip on two different kinds of beer every day, it would still take you over four years to try them all!

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In Delirium, it’s a causal setting in the day and turns into a popular bar at night, with multiple floors, different themes and music vibes. If you want a packed space with live music, the first floor is your destination. The middle floor is more casual, where you can sit on funky bar stools or at wooden beer barrels. The upper floor has more room to stand, move about, and bust a move or two if that’s your thing, although this place is far from a club: those busting said moves have probably exceeded their daily brew limit.

Prices at Delirium won’t kill your budget, and each beer comes in three sizes so you can get a pint of one that you like, or create your own beer tasting with a plethora of samplers! Also, right across the street is an original absinthe bar. One shot of that stuff and you’re done! You’ll be more delirious than at Delirium.

brussels

If you’re looking for a more sit down feel, then Monks is the place to be. It’s about a quarter of the size of Delirium, but it is still packed with beautiful brews.  They usually have live music, but there’s always a menu with a handful of fresh tapas, one aspect that sets Monks apart as they equally focus on small plate food culture.

If your style is much louder, then Fuse is the club scene you should get in the queue for. The neon lights and colors will draw you in, but you’ll stay for the underground techno vibes. Fuse has a killer sound system and a great selection of DJs that keep the electronic music vibrating through your soul all night.

Perhaps you’re more of a day person and walking and site seeing is more your style. Then you must go online and sign up for the Viva Brussels walking tour as it is rated #2 on TripAdvisor with a certificate of excellence. I went on it myself, and it did not disappoint. We got to see the impeccable architecture, intricate art work, and learn about all the history that Brussels has as the headquarters of the EU. The tour is also only 2-3 hours long, so there’s plenty of time to take the one-hour train north to Bruge, a city polar opposite to Brussels. Many call it the “Venice of Belgium” as much if it is under water, and you can take a boat tour around the city. But if you want to keep in style with the walking tour, you can do a self-guided tour in under two hours as well as Bruge is even smaller than Brussels. Grab a famous local waffle, fries smothered in mayo, or a handful of the freshly made chocolates and nibble on the beauty that this quaint city has to offer.

belgium-waffles

The best part of Belgium is you can do it all in two to three days! It’s the perfect location for a quick trip, and it’s not too expensive! I found my flight on a Facebook group called “Secret Flying” that posts set “to and from” deals for those willing to be flexible while flying on a budget. My tour guide told me tourism has dropped since the airport attack last year, but Belgium is very safe, and nothing should deter you from this fabulous detour. And the best part of all: the frites! Don’t call them “French fries” as these are the precursor to those things. You can get the best made fresh at Fritland, right on your way to Delirium.

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If ever find yourself in nearby Amsterdam, Copenhagen or if you’re ever unsure of where to travel in Europe, bet on Belgium: it will be the best uncertainty you’ve ever had.

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