Kulminator in Antwerp, Belgium: One of the Best Pubs in Europe

The Kulminator is one of the best pubs in Europe. If you are traveling between Amsterdam and Paris or Brussels, it is worth stopping in Antwerp, Belgium. Antwerp, like other Flemish towns, is like a cultural fusion between the Netherlands and France. Flemish people speak Dutch as their primary language. The southern Wallonia region of Belgium is French speaking.

Aesthetically, Antwerp resembles the Netherlands. But when you dine out or have a beer on a pub terrace, and you will notice that Antwerp residents generally have higher food and drink standards compared to the Dutch, who are typically Calvinist. The Belgian lifestyle is more similar to France.

one of the best pubs in Europe

Kulminator in Antwerp, Belgium

While wine rules most of France, beer is king in most of Belgium. Residents of Antwerp love to sit on cafe terraces while enjoying a great glass of beer. And one of the best places to enjoy an awesome beer is Kulminator. Particularly if you have a hankering to try an aged Trappist beer as they have a huge menu highlighting over 600 beers on offer from their vast beer cellar.

one of the best pubs in Europe

Aged Trappist Beers

Most strong beers age well, and many mature after a few years to achieve more complex flavors, similar to a good wine. Most Trappist beers are good for a solid 5 years. But when kept in cellar like conditions, the Kulminator believes strong beers can be consumed long after their “expiry” date (debatable, but worth a try!).

one of the best pubs in Europe


On separate occasions, I tried two aged beers. The first was a 1996 Rochefort 6, complete with loads of cellar dust on the bottle. It was priced well on the menu for a quality beer that was well over a decade old. I’ll be honest, that was a little too aged for me and perhaps it was the psychological aspect of drinking such an old beer, but I felt a smidge ill for just a bit afterwards. Nothing serious, but my aged beer endevour was over for the evening. Only fresh beers from then on, but no worries, Kulminator has you covered with an excellent selection of fresh beers too.

one of the best pubs in Europe


For the second beer, I decided to try a 2004 Chimay Blue, which was just a few years past the expiry date. In recent years, Chimay has begun overproducing and exporting more of their beer. Subsequently, the quality of their beers has begun to decline. Fortunately, you can go back in time at the Kulminator and enjoy some matured Chimay’s from the good old days. I definitely thought that was a worthwhile beer.

one of the best pubs in Europe

Rare Beers from Closed Breweries

If you’re even more adventurous, and have a fatter wallet than us, you can even try Russian imperial stouts from the 1980’s, that stem from popular old breweries that have since closed their doors for business.

one of the best pubs in Europe

The Kulminator is also a lovely and quaint pub to grab a beer, and has been voted best bar in the world on several recent occasions by ratebeer. It earns a perfect score of 100 from both them and beeradvocate so it’s definitely worth a stop off the train. Check out lovely Antwerp while you’re at it. It’s on the way to the Kulminator.

Kulminator recap

Kulminator is one of Europe’s best pubs. We speak with good authority as we have visited all 27 European Union countries, and drank in many pubs. Keep Kulminator in mind if you are planning a one week itinerary in Brussels, Amsterdam and London. You can schedule a stop in Antwerp on the train between Brussels and Amsterdam.

Antwerp is also one of the best day trips from Brussels!

Kulminator hours:

Hours: Monday 8pm-12am, Tuesday-Saturday 4pm-12am, Sunday closed

Kulminator address:

Vleminckveld 32
Antwerpen, 2000

phone: +32 (0) 32 32 45 38     (Though, why call? Just go in for a beer!)


  • Alex&Bell

    Alex and Bell originally met while solo traveling after finishing university in 2002, in Brugge, Belgium. Alex grew up in the USA and Bell hails from Australia. During our nearly 20 year marriage we've lived around the world, including spending six years living in the Netherlands and Ireland. We have traveled to nearly 70 countries and enjoy giving readers authentic and quality travel tips. Alex is an award winning travel journalist and travel planner, who also freelances for other outlets. Bell is an award winning PhD scientist who currently works for a non-profit lung cancer advocacy research organization called Lungevity. Happy travels and if you have any questions leave a comment or drop an email!

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