A trip to Belgium would be a waste if not for a visit to the Mecca of true gueuze blending, Cantillon. Not a far walk from the tourist friendly, the relatively quiet street on which some of the finest traditional sour beers continue to be brewed, even as most other similar blenders have been lost to history and less discerning beer palettes. We took the self guided tour, tasted the two free samples that come with it, and then enjoyed a delicious bottle of Fou Foune. Cantillon owner and brew Jean Van Roy, who spied my Lost Abbey shirt, was even so kind to tell us some tales and share some of the yet unreleased Zwanze Day 2014 blend. Iris with cherries and a zesty undertone of spice was a real treat. Living history making history, this brewery continues a tradition of amazing lambic blending, while making new beers all their own.
With an informative, easy paced tour, finishing with a relaxed tasting room offering up amazing beers brewed just a few feet away, this was a visit to remember. The Cantillon tasting room offers samples as well as full bottles of lambic and even a few rare bottles like Zwanze Day ’12 and ’13 the day we visited. There are also bottles for sale, as well as merchandise like glasses, shirts and even ceramic lambic pitchers. Beer geeks like myself arrive, as well as random tour groups, checking off one of the ‘1000 Places to See Before You Die’. With great people working there, eager to help with questions, along with some of, if the the world’s best sour beers, Brasserie Cantillon is a must visit for any beer fan with a taste for Belgian lambics, especially gueuze and kriek. If you ever have a chance to visit Brussels, skip the Manneken Pis, and head straight for the best brewery visit you’ll likely find anywhere.