Beer cycle routes
The age-old hop landscape around Poperinge gives it away: the Westhoek is home to the world’s best breweries and, hence the world’s best beers. Once a well-kept secret, these days the Westhoek’s name is known the world over, so much so that is has become a mecca for beer lovers from all four corners of the globe.
In West Flanders (and especially in the Westhoek) 95% of all hops are grown in Belgium. Many breweries from the Westhoek therefore use some or all hops of Belgian origin. The imposing hop fields are beautiful to cycle along, be sure to try 1 of the 4 beer cycle routes! Along the way, information boards in the form of a beer bottle provide you with the necessary information about the places of interest.
If you would like to get a complete overview of hop cultivation and processing, and would like to see the complete Belgian beer collection with more than 2000 beers, the Hop Museum in Poperinge is the place to be. Moreover, 2 beer cycle routes leave from the museum, so you can immediately see the theory in practice.
Finally, what should not be missed on a day of beer exploration in the Westhoek, is of course a visit to one of the excellent breweries. The St. Bernardus brewery in Watou, for example, aims for a total experience. You can not only get a tour of the brewery, but also taste the delicious beers and regional dishes on the roof terrace with a panoramic view of 360°. Can't get enough of it? Then you just stay the night in the Guesthouse! Other breweries that offer a tour in English are De Dolle Brouwers (Diksmuide-Esen), Kazematten (Ypres), and Season Brewery Vandewalle (Lo-Reninge).
A very last tip: don't forget to visit ‘In de Vrede’, the only cafe where you can order the best beer in the world: Westvleteren.
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