A dream has been fermenting in the minds of two brothers, Edouard and Charles Grison. Since 2018, the duo has been brewing up a storm with their craft beers, but now, they’ve uncorked their ultimate vision: the Brasserie Surréaliste. More than just a microbrewery, this destination, located in the pulsing heart of Brussels, is a testament to local craftsmanship, gastronomic delight, a beer shop, and an art space, all poured into one.
The story of Brasserie Surréaliste began in 2019 when Edouard’s encounter with the craft beer culture in Canada inspired a new vision for Belgian beer, already renowned worldwide. The siblings left their respective careers — Edouard’s in sales at InBev and Charles’s in the world of luxury decoration — to brew a unique flavor of ambition in Brussels. Their Surréaliste Pale Ale, initially concocted in a borrowed space, soon became the talk of the town among hop aficionados.
Their quest led them to an art deco gem designed by architect De Boelpaepe in 1932, nestled in the Dansaert neighborhood. A building with a past life as a banana depot, garage, and fashion showroom, it was rediscovered by the Grison brothers after years of neglect. They envisioned brewing their beer in a place so distinctive that it would transport patrons away from reality.
Despite the setbacks of a global health crisis, the brothers’ spirits weren’t dampened. A successful crowdfunding campaign in the spring of 2020, fueled by friends and strangers alike, brought their project to life. As they peeled back layers of the building’s history, they uncovered treasures like original window frames and a glass tile floor dating back decades, setting the stage for a remarkable transformation.
The microbrewery’s basement installation began in late 2020, with top-notch equipment from Italy. By early 2021, the Brasserie Surréaliste was canning its first beers on-site, with offerings like Double Trouble and the ‘Dream’ IPA collection.
By the summer of 2021, the final touches were being added. The goal was to create a space that defied ordinary expectations — a place to escape and dream. The result? A 1,500 square meter wonder reminiscent of Dali or Magritte’s surreal worlds.
Upon entering Brasserie Surréaliste, you’re greeted with vintage mirrors, opulent chandeliers, and plush pink velvet sofas, making you question whether you’ve stepped into a brewery or a Venetian hotel patio. The space strikes a harmonious balance between industrial grit and neo-gothic flair, showcasing the confluence of styles and eras. Almost everything within has been handpicked over three years, creating a magical and unusual atmosphere that delights the senses.
Today, besides the brewery and bar, there lies a restaurant founded on the concept of sharing food — from miso eggplant to the signature pulled pork burger marinated in Surréaliste’s own ale. Tucked away from the light, an art space awaits to ignite the unknown, hosting immersive video art exhibitions and ambient-dark-techno evenings. Soon, a ‘kinky’ beer shop will open its doors to offer the brewery’s creations.
The Brasserie Surréaliste stands as a tribute to the ethos of surrealism: a movement defined by transgression and rebellion against the norm. The Grison brothers have indeed realized their wager, infusing the center of Brussels with a new and surreal vitality.
Place du Nouveau Marché aux Grains 22-23 1000 Brussels
Open Thursday to Sunday 18:00 – 00:00