Just five minutes from Gravensteen fortress, through the medieval streets that twist and turn towards the river Lys, you’ll find the Brouwbar (Brewing Bar). What you won’t find is much information about it on the Internet (very little in Dutch, practically nothing in English) as Brouwbar doesn’t have an own website at the moment. All it has to tell the world about its dreams and plans (and beers) is a Dutch-language Facebook page. But then Brouwbar (pronounced ‘Brow Bar)’ isn’t trying to be anything other than a nice place to drink nice, experimental beer.
Even though Brouwbar is a hidden gem there’s little point in listing its top sellers here. This microbrewery only produces very short runs, sells them, and then moves on to the next recipe (or idea). So while the NI08 New England IPA might have received great reviews, it’s sold out. They are working on a different version now. Sorry about that.
What you will enjoy about the Brouwbar is the experience of going back to the times where every bar brewed its own beer on the premises. In Belgium practically every street had multiple taverns each with an own craft beer which may or may not have changed with the seasons. Happily, this tradition is on its way back and Brouwbar has played the part of catalyst. Now you can enjoy your beer as they did last century. But at Brouwbar you won’t be forced to sit surrounded by dark wooden panelling, Pieter Breughel the Elder paintings, heavy chandeliers with fake candles and the occasional boar’s head. Instead, Brouwbar offers a clean, near Swedish interior full of natural light.
While the owners might not be as experienced as some beer aficionados might like, and the premises might not be as well established (early 2018) or large, Benjamin and Jolien offer six beers at any one time from their own kettles and also host beers from other microbreweries. Small, modern, but comfortable and friendly, a tour won’t take long or cost anything, giving you plenty of time to taste the results.