The De Koninck Antwerp City Brewery experience
Author: Erik Verdonck / Published: 2015-09-14 09:14:15 +0200 / Last Updated: 8 months ago
ANTWERP - The new interactive De Koninck brewery tour will completely immerse you in the world of the Antwerp City Brewery. In exchange for just €12 you can find out everything there is to know about the Antwerp and its beers, the world of Belgian brewing, and discover the ins and outs of the brewing process.
You will enjoy a total 360° immersive experience complete with numerous interactive displays and audio-visual effects.
The brand new De Koninck Experience Centre opened its doors to visitors on 1st September and you are welcome to pop in every day, (except Mondays), between 10am and 6pm.
Simply follow the visitors’ trail and round off your tour with a tasting of several De Koninck beers in a cosy bar that oozes local atmosphere.
The brewery does however recommend that large groups book their visit in advance.
So, what to expect from a tour of the experience centre? The Welcome to Antwerp section introduces you to the inhabitants of this historic city: the dock worker, the diamantaires who work in the city’s historic diamond businesses, the fashionistas...
Talk to The Hand
Antwerp is a port city, and to underline this the tour starts off in a shipping container painted in blazing red. In the Café de Historie (the History Café) you will breathe in the atmosphere of a typical Antwerp street.
A large screen displays images, streamed from a café window, bringing 180 years of Antwerp’s history to life.
Needless to say, the foundation of the De Koninck brewery in 1833 is an absolute highlight.
Other landmark events include the World’s Fair of 1885 and the 1920 Olympic Games hosted by the city, the city’s year, in 1993, as European Capital of Culture, and of course the two World Wars.
The Handjes-kamer display (the “Room of the Little Hands”) focuses on the symbolic role played by the hand in the brewery’s logo.
Fact or fable, we all love a good story and many great cities of the world have a myth surrounding them; the beautiful city of Antwerp is no exception to this.
You’ll discover everything about the origin of the hand and its significance for De Koninck and for the city of Antwerp – you can even leave your own handprint in the room.
In the 'Bollekes-ruimte' (the Bollekes Room) you find yourself right inside a glass in which this beer is served. Here, the former MTV veejay Ray Cokes highlights an important aspect of Belgian beer culture: each beer has its own glass.
The Virtual Brewing Hall provides an overview of the brewing process. It turns out that brewing and cooking have plenty in common.
In the maltings you can see the grains of barley sprouting almost at the speed of light.
And the brewer, when he explains the filtering process, uses a humble coffee filter to prove his point.
He almost makes brewing look like a child’s game.
In the Virtuele Bottelarij (the virtual bottling plant) armies of empty beer bottles march speedily across the conveyor belt.
The used bottles are sorted, rinsed, filled and labelled… The noise is deafening and the floor starts shaking underneath your feet.
And now it is time for a selfie with the eye-catching buildings of Antwerp in the background: the cathedral, the railway station, the MAS museum. A print of your ‘brewfie’ will be waiting for you in the shop at the end of your visit.
In the Besteldienst, or delivery service area, you take up your seat in a vintage brewery delivery van and help to deliver beer to several Antwerp cafés.
The Plaisante Hof café seems to come straight out of the world of Harry Potter.
This is the café where it all began for De Koninck, with large portraits of the current and former owners of the brewery on the wall.
All of a sudden they start talking to each other across the generations. And Michel Moortgat, Managing Director of Duvel Moortgat, shines a light on the future for the company.
This vantage point also affords a view of the melancholy Galgenveld, or Gallows’ Field, on which the current brewery was built.
The trail finally takes you past a glass wall that gives a view into the workshop where Van Tricht, cheese affineurs, ply their trade. These refrigeration chambers are home to dozens of cheeses that are slowly, patiently maturing.
In the workshops skilled hands cut and package the finished product. The glass wall also gives some wonderful advice on how to pair the right beer with the right cheese.
We peer through the windows to see the brewers at work in the control room, at the brewing kettle, managing the filtering process…
We can taste the fresh wort, smell and taste the malt, the hops and the yeast.
Then there is a halt to admire the imposing drawing room of this former brewer’s home, now given over to the staging of events and conferences.
Authentic historic brewery documents are on display in glass cases.
The tour concludes with a visit to the Kamer van De Koninck (the De Koninck room), where we are shown the highlights of this brewery’s history.
An Ode to Artisans
Just a little further on from the Duvelbar is the De Koninck Bar, the final destination of our tour, where we will sample three different De Koninck beers.
However, the De Koninck experience centre is not all about beer.
This site is also home to a number of food stores: Van Tricht cheese affineurs, De Laet-Van Haver butchers, Jitsk chocolatiers, and a bakery offering fresh bread baked on the premises.
All of these stores are unique and have only one focus: artisan crafts.
You will see the chocolatier mould his pralines in his workshop, the butcher will prepare a cut of meat to your exact specification, and the bakery is fragrant with the smell of freshly baked bread.
You can tuck into all these artisan products in the brand new restaurant and pick a Duvel Moortgat beer to go with them. This is a tour with plenty to chew on.
Visit De Koninck!
De Koninck Antwerp City Brewery
Antwerp Blog Posts
ANTWERP - Why would a butcher open a store at a brewery? The question doesn’t throw Luc De Laet, the man who has done just that at the De Koninck brewery. “We share our respect for traditional crafts, ... [ read more ]
ANTWERP - Today, we are meeting up for a second tasting session in this beer and food pairing series at ‘t Zilte restaurant, the proud owner of two Michelin stars, perched high above the Flemish city ... [ read more ]
ANTWERP - The 4th edition of the Brussels Beer Challenge once again put Belgium firmly on the world map. After Brussels, Liège and Leuven, it was Antwerp’s turn to host this internationally renowned b ... [ read more ]
ANTWERP - Local legends are there to be cherished, whether they are strictly true or not. So, did an Antwerp Cathedral priest really patrol the neighbourhood in a red hat? Or does Grand Café De Rooden ... [ read more ]
You must be logged in to leave a comment
LEUVEN - 12,500 fans made their way to Leuven for what was already the 15th edition of the Zythos beer festival. Many fans travelled a long way to get to Belgium. They flocked here from many European ... [ more ]
MARCHE-EN-FAMENNE - “Their cuisine is on a par with that of the French and the portions are generous...” When people discuss the Belgian art of living, it won’t be long before the term ‘Burgundian’ ... [ more ]
BRUGES - Eleven years ago it all started off on quite a modest scale in the medieval town hall of Bruges, under the imposing gaze of the Belfry. Now, in 2018, the Bruges Beer Festival has spread its wings and encompasses... [ more ]
GENVAL - It’s 1909 when John Martin, a Brit, makes his home in Antwerp, earning his living by provisioning sailing vessels. Before long John’s deliveries are heading onto the ships of the Red Star Line, ... [ more ]
NAMUR - At the 6th edition of the Brussels Beer Challenge, hosted this year by the city of Namur, Belgium once again lived up to its cast-iron reputation as one of the most important beer countries in the world. ... [ more ]
In 2010 Antwerp brewery De Koninck launched its first real tripel, De Koninck Triple d’Anvers. It is a high fermentation beer that gives a wonderfully golden blond to light amber c... [ more ]
Beer Tourism Newsletter Signup
Enter your name and email address on the right and click "SignUp" to join.