Brussels’ BXL Beer Fest is August 27-28: 60 breweries, 400 beers!

One of Belgium’s premier festivals is just a few weeks away. After an absence of two years due to the pandemic, the BXL Beer Fest will return, with a great lineup of breweries and beers from around Belgium, and the globe.

BXL’s first edition was 2017, and I attended in 2018. The venue will again be Tour and Taxis, a big site with shops, restaurants, and event space in century old warehouses near a canal on the northwest side of Brussels’ city center.

Brasserie Cantillon brewer Jean Van Roy (right) with son Florian Van Roy at BXL in 2018.

As a lambic beer lover, I am happy to say that a number of Belgium’s premier lambic producers will once again be in attendance. These include the beloved Brasserie Cantillon; Gueuzerie Tilquin; De Oude Geuzestekerij De Cam; Lambiek Fabriek; Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen; Het Boerenerf Eylenbosch; and Brouwerij Den Herberg.

Brasserie Cantillon had some great offerings at BXL 2018, including their spectacular La Vie est Belge.

Blender/owner Karel Goddeau of De Oude Geuzestekerij De Cam pouring a De Cam Oude Kriek at BXL 2018.
Pierre Tilquin, owner and master blender of Gueuzerie Tilquin, with a glass of lambic pulled directly from the 400-liter barrel to his right.
Michael Blanquaert pulling a sample of wort from a foeder at 3 Fonteinen’s lambik-o-droom.

As with previous editions of the fest, BXL will be very international in nature, with about 30 Belgian breweries, and 30 from other countries. Brussels will be represented with over half a dozen of its own hometown breweries, such as the superb Brasserie de la Senne; En Stoemelings; Brasserie de l’ Hermitage; La Source Beer Co.; Brasserie La Mule; Brussels Beer Project; and No Science Brasserie, as well as aforementioned Brasserie Cantillon.

Yvan de Baets, co-owner of the great Brasserie de la Senne in Brussels.
A couple of superb beers brewed with brettanomyces from Brasserie de la Senne in Brussels.

The full list of breweries for BXL 2022 is here.

“It’s Just a P-Haze” Quince from Pellicle Vergistingen.

I look forward to tasting more creations from Belgian breweries such as Pellicle Vergistingen, Verzet, Minne, Alvinne, La Rulles, De Ranke, Heilig Hart, and more. No doubt there will also be a plethora of great brews being poured from outside Belgium, with breweries from Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Poland, the U.K., the USA, The Netherlands, Norway, Romania, and Sweden.

Koen Van Lancker, co-founder of Brouwerij ‘t Verzet.
Jean Van Roy, brewer and blender of Brasserie Cantillon in Brussels.

In addition to the festival proper, there will be small, private tastings held within the event space as well. This will include a cellar gems tasting with Jean Van Roy of Brasserie Cantillon; a Pinot Noir vertical tasting with Pierre Tilquin of Gueuzerie Tilquin; a tasting with Tom Jacobs of Antidoot-Wilde Fermenten, and several other private tastings. These tastings are not included in the general entry cost of the fest.

Tom Jacobs of Antidoot Wild Fermentation pouring a “Nacht van de Geit” at Gebrande Winning. This beer is described as an “International Gruit Ale” and was a collab with several other breweries.

In addition to all of the beery greatness that will be on hand, no Brussels beer festival would be complete without a selection of gourmet foods on offer. “There will be a crazy good selection of food trucks on hand,” festival co-organizer Kevin Desmet told me recently.

Senne Eylenbosch (right) of Het Boerenerf Eylenbosch pouring a brew in their tasting room in Huizingen, Flemish Brabant.

This from a BXL press release: “Organizers Jean Hummler (note: owner of Moeder Lambic Original and Moeder Lambic Fontainas in Brussels) Olivier Desmet (owner of the highly-regarded Nuetnigenough restaurant in Brussels) and Kevin Desmet guarantee an event that will be interesting for everyone; for the experienced beer geek, for the occasional beer lover,for the beer amateur and for the casual visitor or tourist. A perfect moment for everyone!”

The organizers describe the fest as follows:

“BXL stands for BRUSSELS, capital of Belgium and craft beer with its booming brewing scene and many bars and specialised stores. Brussels: capital of beer!

Outside the Tour and Taxis event center. Photo courtesy Kevin Desmet.

“The Crossroads of Beers & Friends”: we want to bring people together around a delicious and delicate craft beer.

Supporting the local economy; breweries, bars, restaurants and various artisans.

TOUR & TAXIS, a historic industrial complex transformed into a classy looking space.

Two days: August 27 and 28, 2022. Two days of festive fun to enjoy delicious beers in a friendly atmosphere.

A nationally and internationally recognized festival, Brussels welcomes visitors from far and wide.

60 breweries from Belgium, Europe and worldwide.

Each brewery offers at least four different beers during the festival.

The public can taste more than 400 beers.

More than 10.000 liters of beer.

Inside the BXL BeerFest in 2019. Photo courtesy Kevin Desmet.

All styles of beer will be represented with a unique selection including traditional lambics and spontaneous fermentation beers.

A democratic, accessible festival for all: 5€ in presale, 10€ on site (9€ for two days instead of 15€). Tokens can be bought separately or in packs of 20 for 18€ (instead of 20€ on site).

More than hundred volunteers who help us to organize and manage the festival.

An organization composed of four involved professionals and a team of 5-6 determined employees.

A huge space of more than 5.000 m², filled with fantastic beers and an outdoor terrace.

A relaxing outdoor area.

A crazy good selection of food trucks.

Pierre Tilquin of Gueuzerie Tilquin leading a tasting session at BXL. Image courtesy BXL BeerFest.

Culinary tastings organized by renowned chefs with beers selected for the occasion.

There will be lots of gourmet food on offer at the BXL Beerfest 2022!

Private tastings to get to know the brewers and their beers.

The take away shop at the BXL BeerFest in 2019. Image courtesy BXL BeerFest.

A special shop on site to take home a selection of beers.

Always a clean glass! With each order you will receive a clean glass. A team of volunteers takes care of this, from collecting used glasses to replacing them with clean ones.

A festive and relaxed atmosphere! A perfect representation of Brussels.”

If purchased in advance, the cost of an entry ticket is just five euros per day, or nine euros for a two day pass. This includes a special festival tasting glass that you can take home with you. Prices will be higher at the door. See here to buy tickets.

Tokens are used to purchase beers, and cost 20 euros for 20 tokens when bought on site. See here to buy tokens in advance.

There is also a festival “Exclusive Beer Pack 2022” with six brews in 75 cl bottles made especially for the festival, from Cantillon, De Ranke, Brussels Beer Project, Atrium, Orca Brau(GER) and Butcher’s Tears(NL.) See here to buy a pack.

There will also be a bottle shop at the festival that will sell beers to take away. This festival has it all!

Image courtesy BXL BeerFest.

There will also be an afterparty on Saturday night at La Source Beer Company, after 8 pm, with a DOK Brewing tap takeover, and food from their bbq restaurant RØK, with Fermenthings. It’s mainly for the fest volunteers and breweries, but it’s open to the public. It’s walking distance from the festival, at Rue Dieudonné Lefèvre 4.

Kevin Desmet added: “For Sunday, August 28th, we’ll probably organize another culinary session as well, with some chefs preparing a dish paired with a festival beer.” Sounds good!

The Tour and Taxis event site is located at Havenlaan 86C ‐ 1000 Brussels. The fest will be in Shed 1. The festival hours will run from 12 pm to 8 pm on Saturday, August 27 and Sunday, August 28.

To access the fest, the organizers advise: By bus (14&15, stop Tour&Taxis), metro (line 2&6, stop Yser/Ijzer), tram (51, stop Sainctelette), train (direct metro from Brussel-Midi) or by car (parking available.)

I think the festival organizers said it best: “At BXLBeerFest, there is no place for big industry beers.” That’s my kind of beer festival!

The BXL Beer Fest should be on the bucket list of any beer lover. I highly recommend attending!

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