Cantillon is perhaps the best hidden gem inside the Brussels city limits. Located an easy stroll from the Brussels-South railway station, Cantillon is a must see site for any beer lover visiting Brussels. It’s so conveniently located near the train station that anyone with a 4 hour or more layover should be able to make the trip and grab some beer!
Getting to the Cantillon Brewery
As I mentioned Cantillon is an easy walk from the Brussels-South railway station. Located at Rue Gheude 56, 1070 Anderlecht, Belgium, you can take the metro to Gare du Midi metro stop on Lines 2 and 6, a tram to the Lemonnier stop ( tram lines 3, 4, 31, or 32), or just taxi.
If you walk from the Metro keep an eye out as this is not the best area in Brussels. As always while traveling keep your personal belongings (cell phones etc) out of site.
The Brewery Tour
The tour at Cantillon is self-guided. While I was a little disappointed at first when they gave me the pamphlet and told me to go at it, I quickly realized how amazing this system was. Cantillon is just as much a museum as it’s an active brewery so being able to go at your own pace was a nice change from other typical breweries.
There is so much to see and explore in this small brewery that I found myself taking a lot longer then I have at other brewery tours. This, hands down, was one of the best tours I have ever done.
The tour also includes some samples of the beer itself – so overall its a tour worth doing!
What can not be said about Cantillon beer? It’s amazing! For someone who has never tried a sour beer before I challenge you to try. Those that love wines will adore them as they are typically aged in chardonnay or red wine barrels.
The beers will have complexity and notes not seen in other styles of beers. The glasses used to taste a sour beer resemble wine glasses more then beer glasses.
Cantillon is unique that they only brew in the fall and early spring because they want to use the naturally cool air to cool down the beer during the brewing process. This allows things such as the local pollens to be incorporated into the beer that gives it a unique flavor not found even among other sours.
In fact they take their brewing so seriously they do not use any chemicals at all in or around the brewery – even pesticides (They are certified Organic)! When touring we were asked to not disturb the cobwebs as that was their natural pesticide.
Cantillon is probably the definitive source of sour beers and anyone visiting Brussels would be foolish to not visit such a interesting brewery in the heart of the city.