Brussels Urban Abbey Beer Hike: La Cambre & Forest (In Brief)

  1. Overview
  2. Type
  3. Distance
  4. Getting There
  5. Highlights
    1. Porte de Hal
    2. Abbaye de la Cambre
    3. Bois de la Cambre
    4. Embassy of Ukraine
    5. Iglise Saint-Denis de Forest
  6. Brewtiful Highlights
    1. Au Vieux Spijtigen Duivel
    2. Moeder Lambic (Original)
    3. Brasserie Verschueren
    4. L’Ermitage Saint-Gilles
    5. L’Annexe (Brasserie Fermeterie de Bruxelles)


Brussels has a vast network of suburbs interspersed with parks and lively neighborhoods with an endless variety of eclectic eateries and bakeries from seemingly all cultures. On this urban hike, you will come across Swiss, Brazilian, Korean, Mexican, and Turkish specialties just to name a few. For those who love to explore food culture, there are many temptations. The one that got me was Chez Martha and her cookies between Saint-Gilles and Ixelles. Most of this walk is along city streets with a few short brushes of nature in several parks. The hike is anchored by two beer abbeys, La Cambre and Forest, and several great places to enjoy unique beer, especially in the suburb of Saint-Gilles.

One of the many temptations on this hike. Highly recommended!


Beer & Hike


18.3 km round-trip from the Porte de Hal in Saint-Gilles.

Getting There

The start/end of the hike is just a 5-minute walk from Brussels Midi station.


Porte de Hal

14th century cite gate.

Abbaye de la Cambre

A former Cistercian abbey founded in 1196. The La Cambre line of beers is brewed by Het Anker in Mechelen.

Bois de la Cambre

A very nice park with a small lake, criss-crossing bike and footpaths and a couple nice outdoor cafes.

Embassy of Ukraine

I thought it would be cool to swing by in a silent show of support. Very modest building in the affluent St. Job area.

Iglise Saint-Denis de Forest

12th century Benedictine Abbey which was founded as a branch off of Affligem Abbey. Today it is a cultural center. It looks respectful in the photos but it is in quite sad condition overall. The beer is brewed by Brasserie de Silly.

Brewtiful Highlights

Au Vieux Spijtigen Duivel

Beer Rating: 🍺 🍺

This old fashioned pub/restaurant keeps the medieval pub spirit alive while getting swallowed up by street and traffic lights in an ever modern world. The interior is everything you want from a Belgian pub. Wooden tables, an old fire place, plenty of beer signs and old photographs, and head-ducking stairwells. The beer selection is commendable but not many surprises, aside from the Oli 54 by Genk brewers BRAUW. The beers are also a bit more expensive than the average Belgian pub, running 5.50 – 6.00 euros. This was a lunch stop and the star here are the burgers. As an American, I tend to loathe the typical Belgian restaurant burger meat which never tastes like pure beef and has a denseness that always gives them a processed meat character. But here, the burger is all 100% hand-patted beef and has a charbroil flavor to go along with it.

Moeder Lambic (Original)

Beer Rating: 🍺 🍺 🍺 🍺

The original Moeder Lambic (as opposed to the offshoot located in Brussels center labelled “Fontaines“) is a craft beer bar with a few outdoor tables, an indoor seating area and a cozy cellar. Of main interest for me were the selection of house (de la maison) beers.

Brasserie Verschueren

Beer Rating: 🍺 🍺 (+🍺 for location)

This brasserie opened in 1880 and has quite the history. Once associated with the family brewery, a headquarter of the Belgian Resistance and a popular meeting house. It sits on a very lively square and makes for interesting people watching with its diverse clientele. A worthy place to chill and gets an extra beer for the location. Not a big beer selection, but the house beer, Tripel Verschueren brewed by Brasserie de la Senne, makes it a proper beer pilgrimage.

L’Ermitage Saint-Gilles

Beer Rating: 🍺 🍺 🍺 🍺 🍺

Perhaps my favorite microbrewery in Brussels at the moment. I have featured the Anderlecht location in my Brewtiful Brussels post. The Double IPA which is a hazy NEIPA (my favorite IPA style) was absolutely delicious.

L’Annexe (Brasserie Fermeterie de Bruxelles)

I did not visit the actual site in Saint-Gilles but I had it in my mind to look out for a bottle somewhere along the way. I found it at a nice little wine/beer shop associated with what appears to be a very nice restaurant: ivresse restaurant in Uccle.

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