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Beers and Wines from the Benelux

You’ll find some special touches gracing beverages in the Benelux, where beer and coffee are almost sacred and the sparkling wine is almost addictive.

Have a coffee, have a cookie; in Belgium and Holland coffee is taken very seriously and sweetly, for you’ll never be served a cup without a speculoos (spice cookie) or a chocolate, depending on where you take your break. If you like a latte, then order a café russe in Belgium and you’ll be served a dainty version of the big drink at chain coffee boutiques.

But let’s get serious: isn’t beer the big deal in these two countries? Indeed it is. There are many famous Dutch beer brands; names such as Heineken, Amstel, Bavaria, Dommelsch and Oranjeboom may be familiar to you (certainly more so after your holiday in Holland). At the Heineken Experience, learn about this beer’s history and enjoy a tour to observe the beer-making process and even taste some! Belgium has been famous since the Middle Ages for several types of incomparable brews, and they’re still well-loved and celebrated at beer festivals throughout the year. Trappist, lambic, white, or kriek (that’s the famous fruit-flavored one), which will it be?

At 5 p.m. it's time for a "drink", a ‘borrel’ as the Dutch call it. A glass of beer, a nip of Dutch jenever (Dutch gin), a glass of wine or sherry accompanied by cheese, nuts, or crackers put a nice spin to the end of the day. Belgium inherited its genever tradition from the Dutch and you’ll find an almost endless array of small production genevers being served at bars, especially in Flanders.

Drinks typical of Luxembourg have a different character all together. Of course beer and coffee are consumed but it’s the Moselle wines that draw the most attention. Among many lovely whites such as gewürztraminer, Riesling, pinots blanc and noir and chardonnay, the Crémant de Luxembourg stands out. Made according to traditional methods, this sparkling wine is fun to taste – along with its cousis – on a leisurely tour of the vineyards lining the riverbanks.

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