The most famous export from Belgium has to be their fantastic beers. They take it to another level in Belgium. It is almost an art form (I think this is what people say to justify drinking heavily before noon while on vacation. We did anyway.) Everywhere you turn there is another craft brew that is totally unique and delicious. Here is a smattering of what we tried while in Brugges and Brussels.
In Brugges, the beer du jour is Brugges Zot. It is their local brew and you can get it on tap in every bar in town. It is crisp and refreshing. We drank it most when we were sitting in the touristy town square.
For our first official act as tourists in Belgium, we ventured over to Bierbrasserie Cambrinus where they have over 400 different beers to offer. We both got the house brewed beer (one dark, one light) and both were spectacularly delicious.
I also highly recommend getting the cold meat plate while you are there. It is a mountain of delicious, local pork and cheese products that will leave you stuffed and happy. It is pictures below when we were halfway through eating it.
When Mark's parents arrived, we headed over to De Garre, where they brew their own local beers. It is hidden in an alleyway quite close to the center of town. On a very crowded day, this bar was a relaxing haven of drinks and good conversation. It looks like a mix of some locals and other in-the-know tourists (or so I wanted to believe). Mark and I tried their home brew Triple de Garre.
Mark's mom sipped the darker Gulden Draak and his dad (pictured) tried the Belgian White. They both enjoyed their choices.
Mark and I then ventured over to Brussels where we had to try the mussels. We opted for a dark, basement bar so the pictures aren't great, but the mussels were. Super plump and fresh. I would go back just for them.
Then we meandered over to another hole-in-the-wall place that serves a old recipe for home brewed lambics. They had two offerings and we tried both. They were a very far cry from the overly sweet fruit flavored Lambics that you can get in the US. They were sour and very complex. It was an added bonus that they were served in traditional mugs.
Luckily, our hotel was right next door to a bar that boasted 36 taps of Belgium micro brews. They also are the only place in town that you can still get the self fermenting beer on tap. It tastes like...feet and then after a few sips, it rounds out and tastes fantastic. Mark took my word for it.
I can't wait to get back there some day.