Brasserie Cantillon

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Brasserie CantillonBrasserie Cantillon

Type: Brewery, Bar

Rue Gheude 56
Brussels, 1070

+32 25 21 49 28 | map

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Reviews: 82 | Ratings: 260
Reviews by Huhzubendah:
Photo of Huhzubendah
5/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

A dream come true. I made it to Brasserie Cantillon.

Upon entering, I discover a few open lambics nestled in their baskets atop upright barrels. Behind the lambic pouring station is a chalk menu of available beers listed three or even four times lower than U.S. prices (assuming you are fortunate enough to find Cantillon here in the U.S.). Fou' Foune, Vigneronne, Lou Pepe Kriek, Mamouche, Saint-Gilloise, Classic Gueuze, Rosé de Gambrinus, and more. What a list!

For six euros, you can take a tour of the brewery / museum. Barrels upon barrels, brewing equipment, crates, kegs, etc. Bottles that look as though they are from a different era, caked with a thick, dense layer of dust and cobwebs. This is where it all happens.

Service was simply outstanding. After taking a self-paced, self-guided tour, I was able to enjoy a few glasses of lambic with Jean. We chatted at length about beer, which was awesome and surreal. After approximately a half hour of various Cantillon related topics, Jean disappeared to get "something very special". He reappeared with a sample of an experimental 9.7% unblended 30 month lambic. Truly a once in a lifetime experience and opportunity right there.

I only spent two days in Brussels, but I made sure to spend a fair portion of each day at Brasserie Cantillon. I'm so glad I did. The best brewery in the world.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of beergorrilla
4.48/5  rDev -3.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Dicers
5/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of Ciocanelu
4.43/5  rDev -4.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Photo of jophish17
4.56/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Photo of parpalapelix
4.93/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5

Photo of eifster82
4.8/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75

Visited while conveniently on a work trip in the area. This place does not disappoint. Very unassuming entrance (I wasn't even sure I was at the right place until I saw the Cantillon logo just above the place) with a yellow wooden door and no windows. Open the door and enter, and the smell of Cantillon beers is unmistakable. It is in the air. It is the only wild fermenting brewery still in Brussels (according to the employee giving a brief start to the tour). The place was established in 1900, and the unique blend of the establishment aroma plus all the barrels that are used give their beer a special base which cannot be replicated. The place just oozes history. The self guided tour was excellent because you are allowed to go at your own pace and basically go into every section of the brewery you want (just don't change stuff around). Was able to have a lambic aged for 18 months right out of the barrels for a taste followed by another Kriek (all for 7 Euros). Loved seeing the schedule of all the current beers that are in the works. The place was busy, but not packed, with at least half of the visitors being from out of the region. Met a few nice people from the US, so all of us were in a sharing mood. The staff was friendly and very open to questions.

The on-site selection was tremendous with probably 15-20 different beers to choose from. I enjoyed a Gueuze 07 and Lou Pepe Framboise 08 each from a 750. My goodness they were phenomenal. Much more great beer was available but one cannot try all. The take-out selection was not as robust as on-site consumption bottles but I will not complain about being able to pick up 4 X 750 Gueuze 100% Lambic Bio, 1 X 750 Kriek 100% Lambic Bio and 1X 750 Rose de Gambrinus all for a whopping 36 Euros!

If you are anywhere near the area of Brussels and are a beer drinker of any kind, this place is a must. One of the greatest breweries in the world and deservedly so.

 1,951 characters

Photo of schinebd
4.83/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Stopping at the Cantillon brewery was a central mission on a recent trip to Brussels and it did not disappoint. The "museum" tour is self guided with look-ins at unique (and old) equipment. Definitely geeked out a bit on the stroll through the barrel room. The staff appeared to be carving up apricots for the next batch of Fou'Foune. At the end of the tour, there were two complimentary "tastings" (choice of gueze, kriek, and rose cambrinus, as well as 18 month lambic straight from the barrel!). The on site list is incredible, about 10-15 different options, including three different Zwanzes. We nursed bottles of Fou'Foune and Lou Pepe Kriek while playing cards in a corner of the drinking area. We were there mid-day on a Monday, and there were very few others there. The take away selection is more limited than on-site consumption, but at VERY reasonable prices, and the staff was attentive and friendly throughout.

 923 characters

Photo of lwhcchh
4.52/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

I've been here several times and and love it but I find it increasingly difficult to navigate around the crowds. On my last visit, I met a couple who just fly in from Chicago for one day and pack their suitcases with "Whalez" that they take back to the U.S. and sell for a huge profit that more than pays for their trip. They claim to do this often and have never been to any other places in the country. Their loss. You never know what they will be pouring on any given day and that is fun. The same with take away bottle sales. I've heard and read several comments that this is the only active brewery that is a living beer isn't. I think a lot of its success is its easy accessibility to the public in Brussels and being near a train station. With that said, I always like to take groups there and pick up a few bottles. The place is a victim of their own success.

 888 characters

Photo of gspeer711
5/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of Sheppard
4.87/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5

Both Bert and Jean-Fi are awesome. The on site options at Cantillon are amazing and there's no reason to go anywhere else to have lambic in Brussels. The prices are extremely reasonable. There is very little pretension despite being at one of the most famous breweries in the world.

 282 characters

Photo of mayorQuimby
4.94/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of moose1980
4.93/5  rDev +6%
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 +1.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5

Photo of chrisroarshack
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75

Photo of AdamTebbs
4.45/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

 204 characters

Photo of Spoda1983
5/5  rDev +7.5%
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 +6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of BigBadBeerSnob
4.47/5  rDev -3.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Photo of esktime
5/5  rDev +7.5%
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 -8.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Photo of Pletser
4.04/5  rDev -13.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4

Photo of Jow
4.71/5  rDev +1.3%
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 +7.5%
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?

 3,648 characters

Photo of Nachojon
5/5  rDev +7.5%
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!!!

 178 characters

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Brasserie Cantillon in Brussels, Belgium
4.24 out of 5 based on 25,399 ratings.
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