One of the things you cannot pass up during a trip to Belgium is beer. I must admit, I wasn’t into beer until my arrival to the country nine years ago. After my first sip, I was sold. Belgians take pride in their beer as their traditions have been ingrained for centuries. During my recent trip to Europe, I took a road trip from Brussels to Luxembourg City. On our way, we stopped at Brasserie de Bastogne to visit their brewery and talk with beer maker Marc Cleeremans about the process.
One hundred and fifty kilometers away from the fast-paced life of Brussels, there’s the town of Bastogne best known for the battle of the Bulge. Nestled in the countryside of Wallonia, there is the Brasserie de Bastogne, an artisanal beermaker. Upon arrival, we enter a small barn where the whole operation takes place. As we park our car, we see chickens roaming freely on the driveway, adding to the sounds of the country. This is not the typical flashy beer producing operation you may see in the United States. It feels like you’re at someone’s home due to its intimate feel.
Marc, the manager and beermaker happily welcomes us. There are a few men in the background, processing bottles of beer. He goes on to explain to us that this is a community behind the beer. There is an older gentleman with long white hair and beard who volunteers at the Brasserie. There’s an intern, the brewery owner, and a loyal customer in the background working packaging, processing, and of course tasting the final product.
The operation is small, but you can see the effort placed on each of their brews. Not one of them is alike. We sampled light beers with floral hints to malty dark beers. Our favorite: La Trouffette Belle d’Ete (beauty of summer), a light summer better with sweet undertones. Unfortunately, I couldn’t taste as much as I wanted because I had to drive to Luxembourg. Thankfully, you can buy your beer to go. This is not a large operation where you get a full guided tour but rather a place where you can purchase the beer and witness firsthand the process of artisanal Belgian Beer.
Brasserie de Bastogne is a small producer of beer who supplies mostly local restaurants, specialty exports, and local consumers. If you are on a road trip through Bastogne, I definitely recommend for you to stop by and try the beer! Afterwards, headed to the city center of Bastogne for lunch and a walk through this historic town.