Buying Belgian Beer

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.

in Belgium

Take a car with plenty of luggage space – or a van – and head for West 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 interesting beers.

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.

In Brussels

 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’.

 

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