The family that still runs Cantillon is really kind, they love their beer and they love to talk about it. They offer a self-guided tour that finishes with a taste of a couple of their beers and others are available for sale to drink there or take away. Don’t go there asking for Blåbær, though. It doesn’t exist.
There is no greater thing than walking around the brewery with Jean Van Roy tasting the unblended lambic from many of the casks until you decide which you like the most, whereupon he starts the old corking machine and bottles some cases for you. Jean-Pierre and the girls of the family are extremely friendly as well. I love Cantillon.
This brewery tour was one of the highlights of our trip. It’s self guided but if you are there on a non brewing day and they have time they will sound time with you and answer all your questions. It’s a working brewery and staffing in Belgium is very expensive so don’t go expecting this...they have to brew the beer to stay in business.
The tour gives you an excellent idea of just how small and artisanal their beer is. No computers and very old ....antique equipment with the exception of the tiny bottling line. The open fermentation tank was a treat to see and I would love to back on a brewing day( just winter months) to see it in action.
We had the opportunity to meet Jean and his passion for his craft was evident. It is important for him to spread the gospel of traditionally brewed and blended lambics. I noted a poor rating by another reviewer about not being allowed to purchase a bottle of Mamouche that was almost sold out. This does not surprise me. Selling a bottle to one person does not insure that as many people as possible try the beer which is clearly Cantillons focus. Not to mention the number of people that would buy a rare bottle and then sell it on eBay for 10 times what they paid for it, a practice that is despised by many artisanal brewers.
Don’t be greedy, inhale the history of the place and enjoy their beers on premise, talk to the passionate owners about their craft and you will leave loving and appreciating Cantillon even more than you did before you entered.
This was a great experience. The owner was very passionate with everything that Cantillon does and the beer defiantly shows this. We took the tour around the brewery and it was really cool to see how this stuff was made. If you go, do not be shocked with all the cobwebs and bugs that are floating around - apparently this helps the fermentation of the beer. As we were leaving, the owner told us to stay a while and they were tasting their new beer that they are brewing with some sort of flower (forgot the name) - boy was this good! Bought a bunch of merchandise and the Lou Pepe cheese was outstanding. It would be foolish to miss this place if you goto Belgium.
If this isn’t a perfect score, I don’t know what is. I have never experienced a more incredible beer mecca than Cantillon itself. The self-guided tour, initiated by incredibly friendly and passionate guides/brewers, lasts as long as you’d like. The barrel room, with its one-of-a-kind ecosystem that allows for the proper aging of lambics, is one of the most beautiful sites a beer lover’s eyes will ever behold. The only regret I have about my trip to Cantillon is not buying more of their world class beer when I had the chance. I hope to return soon.