Locally brewed beers
Luxembourg has a brewing tradition that dates back to the 1300s, when the monks of Neumünster Abbey started making ale in the Grund quarter.
This weekend (17-18 September 2022), you can head back to the place it all began and sample craft beers from local and regional microbreweries at the Luxembourg Craft Beer Celebration, organised by Schmaacht et? asbl. Entrance is free, but you need to buy your glass for 7€ and get tokens to pay for the beer. There'll be music and food trucks too and you can expect some local breweries to be launching specials and new ales such as Totenhopfen Brauhaus' Special Mead.
A little history
The country’s brewing heyday in the 19th century saw the opening of many breweries but by the 1950s, quite a few were in decline. For a long time the main brewers – Brasserie Nationale (Battin and Bofferding), Brasserie de Luxembourg (Diekirch and Mousel) and Brasserie Simon – were all that remained.
Until the start of the 21st century that is, when a number of new microbreweries began offering bespoke, artisanal beers, from IPAs (India Pale Ales) to darker and fruitier ales, bio, vegan and even low-carb beers.
Beer sizes in Luxembourg vary from the “mini”, the standard 33cl glass, or the “flute” a straight 33cl glass, to the "Klensch", a 50cl glass with a handle, or if you prefer a mug then the 50cl "Humpen". Most artisan craft beer is sold in bottles, some in cans, and a few breweries provide kegs.
Microbreweries and their beers
Readers have noted that it is hard for micro-brewers of craft beer to find outlets not tied to one of the main breweries. Many only sell their produce locally, so we've list a number of places you can try or buy craft beer at the end of this article.
Twisted Cat is an IPA brewed in Luxembourg (Dudelange), with an alcohol free and a dry hopped variety, that markets itself as a craft beer with “cattitude”. Created in 2019, it has a hoppy freshness from the blend of five malts (Vienna, Munich, Pale Ale, Carapils and Caramel) that is used.
Environmental concerns also mean that Twisted Cat brew their unfiltered top fermented beer with a reduced amount of water compared to industrial beers, and water recovered from the brewing process is used to clean and maintain the entire brewery. The aluminium cans used are also 100% recyclable.
You can buy it in cans, bottles and kegs from several sales points in Luxembourg, or sign up for a beer plan giving you a monthly delivery. They do a nice line in merch (t-shirts, caps etc) too.
Bare Brewing (now part of Twisted Cat)
In 2017 Tom Reis, Joël Back and Nico Kleer, all passionate home-brewers, started Bare Brewing in Differdange. The name derives from the idea that “bare” or naked, equals transparent, meaning there are no hidden ingredients in their canned and bottled brews. The trio produced a number of beer varieties including an espresso stout, as testimony to their second love, coffee, for which they use locally roasted beans and the beer is unfiltered. Bare Brewing moved this summer to Twisted Cat's brewery in Dudelange to join the team.
Beierhaascht (Boucherie Salaisons Meyer)
The obvious thing to do if you’re a butcher is to start a restaurant. The next obvious thing to do is to start brewing your own beer. That’s what happened in Bascharage at Beierhaascht, a restaurant and microbrewery with a hotel (in case you eat and drink too much). Their brand Lëtzebéier is seasonal.
The Meyer family who own Boucherie Salaisons Meyer, brought in Guy Majerus with his extensive brewing experience to produce a blond, brown, amber, and white beer and a stout. The amber ale uses lightly roasted malts to give it a coppery gold colour. They produce the different beers seasonally in small batches and you can taste them with your meal at the restaurant.
Heiderscheid-located Den Heischter is one of the smallest breweries in Luxembourg. It was started by four enthusiasts using a 250 litre brewing system. The house beer of the brewery name is a concoction of master brewer Martin Thiel, but they have produced a number of special beers over the years including green hop beer, Kroopemann’s beer, and medieval beer.
In 2019 the brewery moved to a larger, 15 hectolitre production plant. You can take a tour of the brewery beginning with a fresh draught of their hallmark beer and a chance to fill your own beer bottle directly from the tank as a memento of the tour. You can buy the beer in bottles or a 20 litre barrel from the site, or buy it in the shops (and taste it in the restaurants) listed in this link.
Ourdaller and Brasserie Simon
A co-operative of farmers in the Our region decided to use their locally-grown cereals in beer production, setting up their brewery in the Cornleys Haff restaurant in Heinerscheid in 2001. Their range of beers is unfiltered to allow fermentation to continue in the bottle, so that a one month beer will taste different to a beer opened after three months.
You can buy their craft beer bottles at Cactus but Ourdaller are now also part of the Brasserie Simon, established in Wiltz since 1824, and Luxembourg's largest microbrewery. In addition to their trademark pils and ales, this Brasserie launched Simon Bio, made from organic produce in 2014. Simon Triple is made with three grains – barley, wheat and oats, and flavoured with orange peel and coriander to give it a spicy taste. If you are watching your alcohol intake, they also produce a 0% alcohol blond beer with a hint of lime and ginger.
Brasserie Simon has teamed up with Kulturfabrik in Esch-sur-Alzette this year to create a special beer for its Kufa Summer Bar and as part of Esch2022. A red ale called Kufa Béier with an alcohol content of 4.5%. The label on the bottle is the work of local artist Pasko and pays tribute to the area's red rock region.
Satori Brewing Luxembourg
Started by three Luxembourg beer enthusiasts and former highschool friends, after experimenting in their basement for a couple of years with recipes they produced in limited quantities. Today, they collaborate with breweries across Europe with the aim of combining the best of brewing cultures around the world.
Satori stands for "the state of sudden and indescribable intuitive enlightment". The brewery currently produce two beers - Mandarina Blonde and Distortion IPA, which uses Galaxy, Chinook, and Nelson Sauvin hops, and has notes of citrus, peach and passion fruit. Both are available commercially, whilst its organic wine, aptly named Schengen Agreement, is available to order online, and is made from Rivaner grapes from the region which are crushed and pressed by hand, and fermented with skin on for nine days. The brewery also makes Apple Rhubarb cider, Cherry Pear cider and Elderflower fizz.
The trio opened a pop up bar in the city, Bonne Nouvelle Bar, offering natural wine, craft beer and small plates to share, plus music, yoga and much more. Otherwise, you can pick up their two main beers at The Black Stuff and Interview Cafe.
Wolff Brewing Co
Former co-founder of Stuff Brauerei which closed at the end of 2021, Joseph Wolff, is back with Wolff Brewing Co, and two IPAs - Natural Selection and Wanderlust, which are already on offer at Kyosk and De Gudde Wëllen. He plans to launch a further three beers. In July Wolff co-hosted Kirchbéier, Luxembourg Craft Beer Festival in the amphitheatre of Kirchberg Central Park. You can find more in Wolff Brewing Co here.
Despite only setting up its commercial brewing in 2017, Totenhopfen Brauhaus already exports its craft beer to Austria, Germany, Portugal and Hungary. In 2019, Ratebeer awarded it Best Luxembourgish Brewer, and it now has breweries in several European premises. More recently, Totenhopfen was awarded gold, silver and bronze medals at the Asia Beer Challenge 2022.
Its canned beers include Savage (guava, lime, vanilla), and Sweet Hell (mango, chilli, jalapeno, pink pepper), whilst it offers eight different bottled beers including Lux Ale Original.
Watch out for its Session Mead with blackberries, redcurrant and lime, made in collaboration with DeMederie (Belgian cider and mead brewer) and to be launched at the Craft Beer Celebration.
A personal journey for founders Catherine Hoffman and Pierre Beck, who produce low-calorie, low-carb, sugar-free and vegan beer from their brewery, founded in 2016 produces. Fox beers include pils, seasonal ales, and red fruit beer, all just 30 calories per 100ml (with 90% fewer carbs than a standard beer). They also produce crémant presented in hand-painted bottles. On the website, Beck says he struggled with weight and sugar/carb addictions since childhood, weighing 153kg at the age of 19 years. In 2012 he started a new low-carb regime that resulted in the loss of 65kg, but what he missed most about this lifestyle, was a refreshing beer.
Beck's then fiancée, Hoffman, persuaded him to contact a research brewery and nine months later (after many attempts), Fox Premium Pils was launched in September 2016. Why fox? Partly it’s a word recognisable in several languages, and partly in reference to Michel Rodange’s epic poem De Renert.
Part of Brasserie Nationale, Funck-Bricher originally started producing beer from the Grund in 1764, becoming supplier to the court in 1916. Unfortunately it shut its doors in 1975, but re-opened them again in 2018, this time committed to minimising its ecological footprint. The ingredients in the beer is certified organic, and it’s vegan right down to the glue used on the labels, plus the bottles are returnable. Funck use Centennial and Saaz hops and water drawn from a source 320m deep to ensure its purity.
Housed in the listed building Becher Gare (Bech) this brewery was founded by Pol Wesner, whose family have lived in the area for several generations. Small amounts of high quality beer is brewed as it would be 100 years ago (given that the building is more than 100 years old, this is quite apt). A light beer is produced for summer, a dark one for winter, plus another named Hellen, year-round. You can sample the beer at their on-site restaurant.
A small brewery that opened in 2020 and offers three bottled beers - a lager at 4.9%, a white beer, brewed Belgian style with orange peel and coriander of the same strength, and a strong dark beer, Midlife Crisis, which is 6.9%. You can sample them at the restaurants at Clervaux and the Pizzeria in Fouhren. Check out the suggested recipes for cooking bread, chicken, scallops and soup with their beers.
A brewery with a direct descent from the Benedictine monks original ale produced in 1511. In 1929 the remains of a former brewery established by Count Pierre-Ernest de Mansfeld in 1563 were found, but things really began when Michel Mousel took possession of the site in 1825 to produce high quality beer, which it did until 2007, when the Clausel brewery was established, part of the Letzbuerger Stad Brauerei at Rives de Clausen. It produces a classic pilsner, but also a nod to its origins is Monk, the abbey beer. Stocked in shops and supermarkets across Luxembourg, you can also enjoy a bottle at its restaurant Mousel’s Cantine and at the Big Beer Company both in the Clausen quarter.
Ramborn Cider Co
The first cider producer in Luxembourg, which is surprising given the amount of apple orchards, Ramborn ferments freshly pressed apple and pears grown in traditional orchards rather than plantations. Putting to good use what would otherwise be wasted fruit, it works with more than 100 farmers. In addition to the original cider, it produces Perry made from 200-year old apple trees, Cascade Hopped cider, a pear cider and a Bourbon barrel-aged still cider. You can even visit their farm in Born and adopt a tree.
Where to drink craft beers
Here are a few bars, restaurants and specialist shops to buy craft beer.
Already mentioned are Cornleys Haff and Beierhaascht. You can try 17 beers on draft from 13 different breweries, including six beers from five Luxembourgish breweries at Rock Solid Bar which stocks some 70 varieties including canned and bottled beers. Le Croque Bedaine also serves 12 draft beers, whilst you can pick up craft beers at Tube Bar, Kyosk, and De Gudde Wëllen. You can try unfiltered Clausel and other beers at Mousel's Cantine and craft beer at The Big Beer Company. You can sample some of the beers listed at The Black Stuff and Interview Cafe on rue Aldringen Bonne Nouvelle bar at Avenue Emile Reuter.
Out of town, try Millebières at Bourglinster for beer with burgers, ribs, ceviche and Luxembourgish speciality, Kuddelfleck. You'll find more craft beers in the fridge and on tap at Brasserie "Um Tennis" in Senningerberg.
You can try artisan beers at home, purchasing them at The Store (successor to Artisan'Ale which remains an online shop only), Ouni, and Ennert de Steiler in Luxembourg City, Humulus & Fermentum in Bridel, 100% Luxembourg shop in Grevenmacher, Ruppert in Oberdonven, Munhausen Drinx in Sandweiler. Cactus supermarkets also stock a range of local artisan beers.
More about beer...
The Brotherhood Gambrinus was founded in 1986 to support the brewing industry in Luxembourg, and the National Museum of Brewing in Wiltz. It holds thematic seminars on types of beer from winter ale to stout, and participants have the opportunity to brew their own beer in one day at the museum in Wiltz.
In addition, the Beer Museum houses a private collection of advertisements for the Diekirch brewery that illustrate how it has developed over more than a century, including match boxes, neon signs, glasses and lithographs.