Brouwerij Het Anker

Brouwerij Het AnkerBrouwerij Het Anker
Brouwerij Het AnkerBrouwerij Het Anker
Brewery, Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

Guido Gezellelaan 49
Mechelen, 2800

+32 (0)15 20 38 80 | map

A Flemish brewery in Mechelen, founded in 1471 by a community of Beguines. In 1872, the brewery was acquired by Louis Van Breedam, who renamed it Het Anker ("The Anchor") in 1904. Expanding its assortment from lager to ale, it began producing "Emperor beer" after World War II. In 1960 it renamed it "Gouden Carolus" (Golden Charles) after Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (who was raised in Mechelen). They opened a brasserie and a hotel, and in 2010 began producing a single malt whisky, distilled from the Gouden Carolus Tripel.
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Photo of Bierman9
Reviewed by Bierman9 from New Hampshire

4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4
I had enjoyed some tasty Anker biers while in Europe in 2018.... Opted to stay in Mechelen on my 2019 trip, with a visit, or 2, to Anker in mind... Stopped by here on 25SEP, 26SEP and 28SEP19...

The restaurant/gift shop sits on a main street with the old, large brewing facilities in buildings to the rear. Enter off the street and head in to the right... This is the bar area room, with about 20 small tables scattered about the square room. There are windows on the right, street side, and a bar at the rear. The walls are painted a light shade of plum, with a golden outline of King Charles (Carolus) on horseback behind the bar. The bar was made of old, dark wood, the tables light, fresh wood, and the ceiling had dark beams across side-to-side. Nice looking place! There was an upstairs area, which was the main dining room, though I didn't take a look. A passage at the rear, left led to the gift-shop, where you could find clothing and bier to go.

They had about 15 of their own biers available, including my fave, the tasty Whisky-infused dark Belgian ale... Mmmm!! Service was top-shelf from the gents behind the bar. Main food items were quite pricy, though the cheese/meat plate I had was very tasty. The bier prices, though, were exceedingly reasonable. Glad I was able to stop by.... Prosit!!

4.23/5 rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4 | $$

Mar 01, 2020
Rated: 4.25 by Sparky44 from Illinois

Nov 16, 2018
Rated: 3.95 by desint from Belgium

Jun 10, 2018
Photo of MagicNic
Reviewed by MagicNic from Canada (QC)

4.16/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4
Great setting in old Mechelen. Took a tour of the brewery with a very knowledgeable and funny trilingual guide. The tour included a visit of the old coolship on the roof with a very nice view of the city and a tasting of three different beers at the end. Excellent products, authentic belgian brewery.
Mar 19, 2018
Rated: 4.5 by Birdlegs from Washington

Dec 24, 2017
Photo of WadeB
Reviewed by WadeB from Canada (ON)

5/5  rDev +14.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5
I cannot say enough about this brewery. Visiting this brewery was the highlight of our recent vacation in Belgium and Amsterdam. Our special thanks to our superb tour guide Marie Vanhellemont. Marie went well beyond our expectations in delivering a terrific visiting experience. The tour even included a few beer tastings at the end in which Marie provided her expert guidance. If you are in Belgium for five days or more, you must visit this brewery. We visited a number of other breweries during our trip but nothing could top this experience. You can combine a visit of Mechelen with a visit ti Antwerp on the same day since they are close to each other.
Jul 26, 2016
Photo of byronic
Reviewed by byronic from Canada (ON)

4.48/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5
An absolutely fantastic visit. The selection of beers is limited to what is offered by Het Anker, that being said they have everything available and the store is newly renovated. The staff is fantastic both at the pub and the store. Definitely stop in for lunch, I recommend the Gouden Carolus cheese sandwich and the Flemish stew.
Oct 15, 2015
Rated: 4.14 by SCW from New York

Jun 01, 2015
Rated: 4.34 by HopBelT from Belgium

Apr 20, 2015
Rated: 4.5 by SmashPants from Australia

Dec 15, 2014
Rated: 4.4 by DutchcdnTEXAN from Texas

Nov 20, 2014
Photo of mr-jj
Rated by mr-jj from Washington

4/5  rDev -8.5%
Stayed at the hotel. Food was decent, beer was good, bartender was really friendly. A fun place to stay and drink while traveling on business.
Nov 18, 2014
Rated: 4 by JackNip from Delaware

Oct 24, 2014
Rated: 4.75 by Jayamefu from Netherlands

Oct 11, 2014
Rated: 5 by Mattical69 from California

Sep 25, 2014
Rated: 5 by WynnO from Florida

Sep 19, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by TWStandley from Massachusetts

Aug 27, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by Wouter69 from Belgium

Jul 21, 2014
Rated: 4.5 by 6thstreetbrewpub from District of Columbia

Jul 19, 2014
Rated: 4.5 by MojoIRL

Jul 16, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by RusImpStoLuv from Michigan

Feb 26, 2014
Photo of dirtylou
Reviewed by dirtylou from Oklahoma

4.1/5  rDev -6.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4
We stopped through Mechelen on our way out of Brussels to tour the brewery and take a quick peak at the town. It's really an easy drive - only about 15 minutes from the airport.

The brewery, which dates back to the 15th century, emerges out of the quiet and uber-quaint streets of old Mechelen.

The tour was primarily in Dutch with abbreviated english translations afterwards upon request. Fairly standard tour, but it was cool to see their retired spontaneous fermentation equipment on the roof. They've also begun distilling their own whiskey and seeing (and smelling) the barrels was a nice touch. The tour ends with a few samples - the classic and the tripel.

There's a small store and a cafe featuring their beers as well. The Het Anker "campus" was a cool thing to see - definitely worth checking out.
Aug 31, 2013
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Reviewed by BelgianBeerPope from Belgium

4.04/5  rDev -7.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.25
Nice place for lunch or dinner. They only serve the beers which they brew (Anker Pils, Boscoullie, Gouden Carolus, Cuvée v/d Keizer, ...) so selection is limited (I hope this explains the LOW score for selection) but you can be assured that the waiter will recommend the best beer to go with your meal (or wine, if you prefer). Food is nicely prepared and served, menu is not excessive but includes some Belgian classics, starters, mains, desserts and snacks, waiters are friendly ! Parking space in the area can be little difficult to find. I will visit this place again !
Oct 05, 2012
Photo of Filosoof
Reviewed by Filosoof from Netherlands

4.64/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5
As their beer this place certainly can be called classic. The brewery stands on the ground where beer is brewed for hundreds of years. On the site is a building of the sixteenth century where has been a hospital where the Begijns served their beer to their patients, when the water wasn't save to drink and beer was welcome to relieve all pains.

In 1990 the brewery could be closed. Only two people working. Nowadays highly succesful with 45 employees.

Nice hotel, very friendly people, lovely brasserie and the greatest beers. Need I say more?
Mar 07, 2012
Photo of OWSLEY069
Reviewed by OWSLEY069 from Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4
This is an interesting place because it has a hotel on premise and a really nice cafe. I did a tour of the place and I never know they made a single malt whisky. I did not get to try it but I know what I will be looking for. Just a heads up, lots of stairs. A really nice old tasting room across from the cafe and a newer and more modern bar and restaurant. I did not see the hotel, you can see the owners' home right on the brewery grounds. I had some nice pork and, surprise, fries. Tasty and really nice service, but I can't mad at anyone that brings me a Gouden Carolus triple.
Sep 29, 2011
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Reviewed by beerpirates from Belgium

4.13/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
Beautiful old cafe, actually the whole brewery is pretty impressive. Classic stuff. The brewery’s whole range is available which certainly is impressive, though on my visit the beers were served disturbingly cold. I can’t think of a single other serious beer place in Belgium which has done that. Weird.
Food was really good , orderd flemish " stoofvlees " with golden carolus classic , realy nice , with a nice salad and home made fries , my wife had a steak with mushrooms and a salad , also realy good !
The new brasserie is very nice , very well done ,looking forward to my next visit , all there beers are availeble for take away , wich is good , they also have several nice brewery tours with guide .
This is one , i've not the oldest brewery in Belgium that is stil active !
May 04, 2011
Photo of TheFightingCock
Reviewed by TheFightingCock from England

4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4
As an American living in Belgium, I'm quite impressed by many of the breweries/pubs I go to (Delirium being my usual haunt). I went to Het Anker on a Saturday with my brother and girlfriend to have a look around and sample some of the local brews. It's a 20minute train ride from Brussels, so not far at all.

After finding the brewery's hotel, we made our way into the restuarant which is through a rather suspicious looking door on the street which you might miss if you're not looking for it. Inside is a rather rustic looking establishment with tables and chairs. We'd arranged in advance for a tour in English (otherwise it'll be in Dutch!). The tour was given by the Mechelen town crier; an aging man with a rather wicked sense of humor. Seeing all of the brewing equipment was quite quaint and hearing about the history of the brewery and the beers was intriguing.

The best part is the free beer of your choice after the tour which is included in the price. It's pulled from the pump and I'd suggest having the Carolus Classic. It's worthwhile to sample the Triple and Ambrio while you're there as well. Also, pick up a bottle or two of the Carolus d'Or. Age it a while and it only gets better! (Ten years and it supposedly has the texture of a fine wine).

All in all, Het Anker is a good brewery to visit and definitely worth a stop if you're in Belgium.
Jul 26, 2006
Photo of texashammer
Reviewed by texashammer from Texas

4.08/5  rDev -6.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5
My father and I stayed at this brewery's hotel and ate at their restaurant.

The hotel was better accomodations than we expected and very warm in winter. Restaurant was very busy on a Friday night, obviously locals from the town of Mechelen -- always a good sign. However, many were drinking wine with their meals. Strange? Known for their good food. We were pleased to drink good, very fresh draft beer with food that paired well with it. The beer itself (I drank Gouden Carolus Tripel, my father drank the Classic) was not really remarkable but good quality and very fresh.

We shared an appetizer of fresh and sundried tomatoes, fresh mozzerella, salad with very good brown bread. It was larger than we expected, with good fresh ingredients -- very good. We both had dishes involving koekoek: a local variety of chicken. His was in a savory sauce involving mushrooms and bacon; mine was prepared with more wonderfully fresh vegetables, lightly cooked, like broccoli, carrot, endive, green beans, and sprouts, with a rich (cheesy?) sauce made from the Tripel. Frites were a disappointment.

Service was very professional and courteous. We felt that the food was some of the best to be had. Beer was good and fresh. Worth a trip.
Feb 09, 2006
Photo of wl0307
Reviewed by wl0307 from England

4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4
(Review from notes)
I visited this brewery and the adjacent cafe during my three-month fieldwork in Belgium last year. Hardly a natural choice for a one-day trip from Leuven, I went there only because a female teacher I met in Leuven had a lively row with her colleague from Ghent about which city is grander and has more culture to offer... Well I might as well visit both, I assured them. The brewery-tour turned out a plus, a huge plus, to the nice Gothic Cathedral apart from otherwise a pretty much run-down place as Mechelen looked like upon my visit esp. on a typically gloomy spring day...

The brewery's cafe, where I was supposed to meet the guide for a guided tour, was almost empty when I was there, around 11am. The food menu looked decent, full of mouth-watering beer-cuisines, but I didn't have time to try any. Having tried on tap a small Blusser (a "pils", which I take as a normal lager in retropect) and a small Ambrio (amber beer lacking depth but quite flavoursome), a group of people arrived along with the brewery guide, a middle-aged beery man. He explained to me that even I was to be the only one in the group not speaking Dutch/Flemish, as the group of people were all from across the border, the Netherlands, he would make sure to explain everything important to me in English and answer all my questions. Fair enough.

The guided tour turned out fantastic, esp. given kind help from the guide and translation by some ultra-friendly Dutch young people in the group. The old brewery's interior was a bit rough and dusty, esp. for a working brewery, but the open-top square cooling tun on the roof of the building, a living witness to its past glory, was a real hit, which made their Goulden Carolus classic so different from other strong brown ales in the past, but not in use anymore as forbidden by law since 198?-- and I wonder if the beer today still bears any resemblance to the once famous brew until being disallowed to attract wild micro-organism overnight in the open air, and maybe to the rich culture of the glorious days when good King Charles was educated in Mechelen... Good view over the city of Mechelen from the roof, though, with the Cathedral easily spotted in sight.

After the tour I had two drinks on tap (Classic and Tripel) standing at the bar, alongside the nice bloke guide, who gave me more info. about brewing history in Mechelen, so as to make up for all the things "lost in (lack-of) translation". He was also a voluntary city tour guide, so very knowledgeable about almost everything in the area. What appealed to me most was his easy-going attitude, showing respect for all beer-cultures not just restricted to great Belgian beers, as when I talked about British ales his reaction was not the slightest similar to so many Belgian-snobs I met who didn't even care to try or attempt to understand anything about other beer cultures "so inferior to their beer universe" ("is that 4%abv watery stuff you call beer?", I was once confronted as such). This man is open-minded and passionate about all things about beers, and the lively conversation made my visit to this brewery all the more pleasant and worthwhile. For one, I wouldn't hesitate to go back to Het Anker on my next visit to Belgium, for a good conversation, good rounds of nice fresh brews, and certainly to try their seemingly delicious beer cuisines...
Oct 08, 2005
Photo of Crosling
Reviewed by Crosling from Colorado

4.65/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 5
I not only sampled beer in the sampling cafe but I also was lucky enough to arrange a personal guided tour of the brewery for myself. This is the oldest working brewery in Belgium. They claim that the brewery has been in operation since at least 1369 and they showed me the document that proves it. Throughout the tour I was shown ancient bottling and kegging equipment, old sampling cafes, meeting rooms and the beautiful copper brewhouse that was built after WW2. The tour lasted about an hour and I was shown everything in the brewery, well, except the bottling line, which oddly enough, never seems to be shown on any brewery tour in Belgium . I was then taking on the roof of the brewery where I was shown the old cooling tun which was replaced by a papaflow in the early 1990's. The brewery used to be the tallest building in Mechelen so their was a phenomenal view of the bequinage and the rest of the inner city from the roof. It truly is a beautiful brewery.

I was then taken into the cafe where I was spoiled with traditional Flemish cuisine and degustation of three of the Gouden Carolus products. The meal was truly divine. I was served a plateful of Fried mashed potatoes accompanied by a dish of very tender aged meet cooked in Gouden Carolus Classic and topped with a delicious sauce. I should have written down the name of the dish but I was busy talking and drinking beer. The three beers I was tasted on were the Ambrio, Classic and Triple. They were in great shape and tasted excellent. Everything was complimentary, ofcourse! :)

In my opinion, Het Anker is one of the best breweries in Belgium and touring the brewery was a dream come true. I hope to be back someday.
Jul 27, 2004
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Reviewed by wbthink from New York

3.7/5  rDev -15.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4
This Het Anker cafe "brew-pub" is located off the Mechelen markt area, along the canal. It is an old building with high ceilings, and wood decor. One feature is the anchor inside the bar. The actual brewery is next door. I sampled three draft biers:
Bruynen Anker, a 6% bruin, that is amber in color, with caramel flavors, and a sweet finish. Tripel Carolus, a spicey, dry, 9% Golden Tripel with a hugh head. And finally, Gulden Carolus, a dark amber strong ale at 7.5%, with lots of malty, licorice flavors, and a big sweet finish. An interesting spot to break for draft Anker products in very good condition.
Oct 19, 2003
Brouwerij Het Anker in Mechelen, Belgium
Brewery rating: 3.72 out of 5 with 7506 ratings