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Brasserie Cantillon

Place Score:
Brasserie CantillonBrasserie Cantillon

Type: Brewery, Bar

Rue Gheude 56
Brussels, 1070

+32 25 21 49 28 | map

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 78 | Ratings: 249
Reviews by spoony:
Photo of spoony
4.51/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

A-Cantillon is located in a nondescript building not far from the Gare du Midi in Brussels. Upon entering, you realize that this is a working brewery, and not just a show for tourists...some men are labeling bottles, others are fixing machinery during the summer down-time, and palates are ready for shipment. Cool. We took the self-guided tour, which was fun, marginally instructive, and pretty quick, although I imagine you could make it longer if you were there when they were brewing. The tasting room towards the front of the house is a bit make-shift, but (aside from being quite chilly) it works for hanging out and it does nothing to detract from the working-brewery feel. We had a great conversation with a Swedish brewer who was visiting.

Q-Obviously, the quality of the brews is good at the source. Temps are cool in the building and they have all of their tasting bottles in the fridge behind the counters.

Ser-The employees working the front of the house were courteous, but not terribly engaging. They poured sample beers, but were not interested in discussing matters. The employees working in the brewery, however, were friendly and ready to answer questions about their craft.

Sel-If you like gueuze and lambic, the selection is a perfect five, because you are in the mother ship. I tried the base lambic, the Kriek, Iris, Fou Foune, 50 North, and Vigneronne. The only missing component was the Lou Pepe line. They did not have any guest beers, but when you have a big selection of Cantillon to choose from, guest beers aren't really an issue.

V-You get a couple of free samples with your tour, which is nice. The bottles for take-away were reasonably priced and mostly in-line with the rest of the city. The bottles for drinking on premises were slightly expensive, but that could have just been because I bought Fou Foune and shared 50 North and Vigneronne, which aren't cheap to begin with.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of moose1980
4.93/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

I mean, I guess I gave a 4.75 on selection because take-away bottles for sale vary day-to-day without really much way of knowing prior, and if you build a complete overseas vacation around this type of visit - as I assume at least some people might - then you may be disappointed in bringing back 'souvenirs.' However, this is more than made up by the drink-in list and the fact that you are able to find Cantillon at certain bottleshops throughout the region. Plus, what other brewery is considered a 'living museum'? Great, friendly service and if you are lucking enough to be there on a brewing day, the aroma throughout the brewery is worth the price of admission alone. And definitely do the tour.

 702 characters

Photo of Fill_It_or_Spill_It
4.73/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5

Photo of chrisroarshack
4.75/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75

Photo of AdamTebbs
4.45/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 3

Really fun self guided tour, staff was very friendly and was very generous with the tasting pours. Didn't have a lot to choose from to take home but this is a very worthwhile visit if you are in Brussels.

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Photo of Spoda1983
5/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Stepping into Cantillon is like stepping back into history. The clean, freshly painted doors offer no hint to what lies inside, both for sight ans smell. Upon entering you are greeting with old worn concrete floors and things looks a bit dusty (and it is meant to be this way). Not like the modern sterile, well lit breweries we are used to. The smell is Cantillon. If you have ever opened a bottle you will recognize it immediately. the barnyard funk, musty, fruity, smells mixed with steeping malts. For a few Euro, you can get a guided tour through the brewery where you will see very old belt driven copper brewing equipment spanning 3 floors as well as the coolship room and a room of barrels aging beer and at the end you get 2 samples in the tasting room. Typically the on-site drinking list is quite good but it is the people who own and work at Cantillon that make the special difference. It is not that they don't take pride in their product (They do!!!), it is their attitude about it. They are extremely approachable and nice people. I have been lucky enough to have them share some young brews from the barrel or special brews or small batch brews with me. Go, spend some time there, soak up the unique ambiance, chat with the employees, you will not be sorry.

 1,273 characters

Photo of mothman
4.94/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of BigBadBeerSnob
4.47/5  rDev -3.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Photo of esktime
5/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

We got there March 7th, after the Public brewing session the past Saturday and they had every thing except Fou Fonne & LPK for public sale. Jean and his family were amazing and very friendly during our frequent visits

 217 characters

Photo of beerdeer
4.25/5  rDev -8.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Photo of Pletser
4.04/5  rDev -12.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4

Photo of Jow
4.71/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

To be honest it is not the most fancy place to be. They did not invest in decorations, just brown chairs in a brown environment.

Buuut the beers are awesome!!! You can taste all the cantillons, super!

 201 characters

Photo of amano_h
5/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

All of the reviews before mine have probably enumerated everything and anything you need to know about Cantillon in florid detail, so here's a short list of DOs and DON'Ts while at Brasserie Cantillon.

1. Take the tour. The unique beers at Brasserie Cantillon can only be replicated in the unique terroir/environment within the confines of the brewery. The tour itself will reveal all the magic behind spontaneous fermentation and you will leave the place feeling like a beer scientist if you paid attention during the "introduction" given at the brewery shop by the door, and if you actually took the time to read through the booklet that they provide you as part of the tour.

2. Try as much beers in-house as possible. People from certain online communities have the tendency to just drop into the brewery shop, buy the bottles, and pop smoke. All the beers served at Cantillon are served at the perfect cellar temperature in the manner it's meant to be enjoyed. I'm sure you're excited about the prospect of trading for rare beers, but don't miss out on the opportunity to try some beers you won't find anywhere else on the planet.

3. Say hello to Jean when you see him. Jean's always busy keeping the family tradition afloat, but he's one of the most approachable brewers I've ever met who loves to talk about beer and appreciates any feedback people are willing to offer him about his family tradition. I'm not saying you should walk over while he's busy bottling or brewing during the public brewing sessions, but if you see him walking about the brewery, do take the time to say hello, introduce yourself and give him some of your thoughts about the brewery and his beers. Trust me, you won't regret it.

1. Be one of those guys that do beer trades while at the Brewery. Seriously, this might be "okay" back in the States, but this is considered quite disrespectful, and almost borderline offensive in Belgium. God save your soul if you lack so much common sense that you actually open some other brewery's beer while at Cantillon. You're a big part of the reason why beer geeks get a bad rep.

2. Go nuts and order three-four bottles by yourself when it's obvious that you can't finish them. Pretty self-explanatory both for financial and utilitarian reasons (think of the poor beer geeks that would give you their left nut to drink the beer you just wasted!) There also seems to be this odd notion going around that you'll always be able to find someone to share your beer with while at Cantillon -- this does not quite apply if you go in the morning around when the brewery is open; I went to Cantillon five times during the seven days I've been in Belgium and I only did a "beer share" with a fellow enthusiast on the last day I was there.

3. Neglect some of the tried and true offerings in lieu of tasting whales. Yeah Fou'Foune is pretty amazing and most people would give their first born for some LPG/LPF/LPK, but some of Cantillon's more standard offerings taste amazingly different fresh out of the brewery. The most surprising instance of this was Rose de Gambrinus which was so much more tart and fruitier than I remembered out of the bottle -- for some odd reason the regular Geuze also made my mouth pucker a lot more than I remembered with past instances.

For those of you on the fence about visiting Cantillon -- it's a trip you probably won't forget, and the brewery is literally a 12 minute walk from Gare du Midi. If you're not in the Grand Place area it probably means you probably don't have anything else better to do, so why not pop in for a quick look at what 100+ years of brewing tradition looks like?

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Photo of Nachojon
5/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

For beer lovers, this is it. It is the epicenter. Once you go Cantillon, as a drinker, as a visitor, you never go back. Great selection that you won't find ANYWHERE ELSE, EVER!!!

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Photo of dougbreathe
4.54/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Euroglot
4.34/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4

Photo of CoryR
4.56/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 5

Photo of KaeF
4.72/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Nice brewery to visit. You can get a self-guided tour and see all the equipment and barrels for yourself. The people are very friendly and Jean comes by now and then to talk to people, really friendly guy. The beers that are for on-site consumption are amazing and the overall vibe is just awesome. A lot of different nationalities with the same passion is a formula for a good day of tasting and telling stories.

 413 characters

Photo of Midwestbrew18
4.62/5  rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5

Photo of YvesB
4.38/5  rDev -5.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 3.25

Photo of Stakebone
5/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Does not get any more old school than this. But what seem at first glance to be crude techniques conjure the best of what can be produced with barley juice. I read that warming temperatures are impacting production and viability of this absolute gem. I'm glad I made it there and that we Americans are following natural fermentation techniques really well these days, but not having this truly unique place would be a huge loss.

 431 characters

Photo of chitowntink
5/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of Iamjeff6
4.68/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Stacey_kock
5/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

My wife and I were the only ones there. We had the whole place to ourselves for the duration of the tour.

105 characters

Photo of MatthewWalters
4.63/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

First of all, the area in which Cantillon is situated is not horrible, but not great either. I felt uncomfortable walking around the area at night, alone, but during the day I was aware, but not wary. On the interior, it's a working brewery with a small bar and a fair sitting area. I went on the Public Brewing Session day and it was awesome. Tons of visitors from all around the world and I feel that they hosted the demand well. They had a ton of staff helping out. The tour was awesome, and our guide (I forget his name, young and short) was incredibly willing to take questions and make sure everyone heard what he was saying, even with loud equipment running around us. The selection is obviously hit or miss, and I would recommend that anyone curious check out the thread titled 'For Sale at Cantillon'. Overall, I'd love to go back, but am happy to check it off the list as I don't see myself going back to Brussels anytime soon.

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Brasserie Cantillon in Brussels, Belgium
100 out of 100 based on 78 ratings.