in the UK
Most of the reference books give addresses of retailers - the bigger
shops often stock glasses or gift sets.
Have a good look in your supermarket – Hoegaarden is widely available, and
Sainsbury’s have been known to stock the Grand Cru version, and the beers
they commission from the Meantime Brewery are usually very good; Liefmans Kriek
and Framboise have been sighted regularly in Waitrose, but keep an eye open
for Bosteels Tripel Karmeliet or Kwak which sometimes put in guest
appearances; and Tesco usually stock
Leffe Blonde and Brune.
Via the Internet,
I have been very pleased with
Beers of Europe, a Kings Lynn-based
company, who offer a good online service with reasonable shipping costs.
They have a vast warehouse containing beers from all over
the world - worth a visit if you're in East Anglia but allow plenty of
time, it's hard to tear yourself away!
If you are new to Belgian beers and confused by the vast array on offer, why
not start with one of the mixed cases available from
Beer Merchants, another online service
offering selections following themes (such as 'Flanders', 'Bruges', 'Abbey'
or 'Trappist') as well as a good number of individual beers.
Take a car with plenty of luggage space – or a van – and head for
Flanders. From Sussex, you could be there in just over
3 hours, and there are a couple of great
beer shops in easy reach of our
West Flanders hideaway
Drive just a little to the south of Ieper/Ypres and you’ll be in Hainaut
province, where there's
another shop we patronise.
From the Channel ports it’s only a few more hours driving to reach the
south-east of Belgium, French-speaking Wallonia, and we recently discovered
another wonderful beer shop/warehouse in Rochefort (in the beautiful
Ardennes near the Trappist abbey which produces great beer). It's a
bit tricky to find, so
check the directions.
There are many other good
shops in Belgium – every Belgian supermarket, or even village shop, will produce at least a couple of
If you get hooked on Belgian beer, and decide to take the car over
fairly regularly, consider buying shares in the Channel Tunnel! As a shareholder you
get extra discounts on travel which can rapidly cover the cost of your
investment. Our investment, made at a time when share costs were
higher than today, has paid off handsomely.
Beermania is a paradise for glass
collectors and they have plenty of (full) bottles, too! Check out their
website where you can also order direct – but watch out for shipping costs.
When visiting Belgian breweries
(details in Tim Webb’s book
or via brewery websites) . . .
. . . be sure to check out their shop – they often have
limited edition beers as well as glasses and souvenir ‘Breweriana’.