Luxembourg has a brewing tradition that dates back to the 1300s, when the monks of Neumünster Abbey started making ale in the Grund quarter.
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
Many of the microbreweries only sell their produce locally, but we list a number of places you can try or buy craft beer at the end of this article.
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 produce 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. Their Wanterbeier uses honey and quince juice from Hivange, and is brewed with orange peel. You can buy their beer in mixed boxes or cases.
Twisted Cat is an IPA brewed in Luxembourg, with an alcohol free 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.
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. 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.
A small microbrewery at the back of the Craft Corner bar on Rue de Bonnevoie, its beers include an Irish stout named Grace O’Malley and Schrille Nacht IPA. The bar also sells Bare Brewing and Brauerei Stuff beers.
A local independent brewery started in 2015 by two beer lovers in Steinsel, who hand pick the hops grains and yeast for organic brewing with the aim of making everyone a beer connoisseur. They don’t use CO2 but allow their beer to sparkle naturally, producing Zingy (pale ale), Revolutioun (IPA), Grand Ducale (red ale), Knights in white satin (speciality ale), and a porter named Black Widow.
In addition, they brew some unusual local varieties including Mellis beer brewed with honey, Kropemann apple beer, La Sauvageonne, which uses wild herbs including ground ivy and is brewed onl once a year. A bergamot-infused red ale is also produced by aging the beer in oak casks provided by Opyos Luxembourg Dry Gin, giving it an 11% VOL. You can find out more about the brewery and its beers 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. Its new 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.
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 beautifully 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 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 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.
Although the idea originated in Luxembourg City and the beer is sold in the Grand Duchy, the brewing takes place in the Netherlands. Nowhere produces bottles of American pale ale and wheat ale, which are joined by a robust porter but brews also include Tropical Disease and Clockwork Orange.
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
Although bars and restaurants may not be open now, when they are, you can check out some of the brewers and beers listed at these establishments.
Already mentioned are Cornleys Haff, Beierhaascht and Craft Corner. Tube Bar also stocks craft beer as does Hotel Restaurant Jacoby in Kleinbettingen. You can try Clausel and other beers at Mousel's Cantine and The Big Beer Company.
In the meantime, you can taste 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, Hoppylicious in Mamer, 100% Luxembourg shop in Grevenmacher, Ruppert in Oberdonven, Munhausen Drinx in Sandweiler and Promoshop Luxembourg in Erpeldange-sur-Sûre. 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.