Belgium and beer are inseparable. There are almost 200 breweries in the country that produces around 1,500 types of beer. Sweet and bitter, strong and low-alcohol, fruit and sour—local brewers know how to satisfy any beer-lover. Trappist beers brewed in abbeys, amber, kriek beers (fruit beers), brown and red beers, saison, strong blond and wheat beers are among most famous types.
In 2016, the beer culture of Belgium was recognised by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. To understand what beer means to the Belgians, you may visit a local beer festival and try different kinds of drink. The best season for beer-lovers is autumn as there are plenty of events to choose from.
The main festival to attend is the Belgian Beer Weekend that takes place in Brussels in early September. It features over 70 breweries, gives numerous awards, and entertains the public with a parade of historic beer carts.
The other festival to attend in late September is the Beer and Hop Festival in Poperinge. A colourful tent village offering beer tastings, a Hop Queen election, an international Hop pageant, and live music concerts are on the program for the festival.
Aside from the large-scale events that showcase well-known and recognizable breweries, there are festivals that place a focus on small producers. To gain insight into local beers, you may visit Modeste Bierfestival in Antwerp. It's held in late September or early October.
The same can be said for Brassigaume—a festival in the village of Marbehan, Ardennes. In late October, small Belgian and foreign brewers come to the festival to challenge beer-lovers and surprise them with new tastes.