When you think of Belgium, you automatically think of chocolate and beer, right? La Chouffe is one of the most famous brands among the Belgian beers. It is brewed in a tiny little village in the Belgian Ardennes yet, it is world famous, thanks to its unique flavors and attractive branding. Every bottle of Chouffe has a cheerful, red-hatted gnome on its label, ready to conquer your heart. Of course, the brewery of Achouffe is a must-visit tourist attraction but the village has even more to offer. A beautiful hike is starting in the village center and there is even a possibility to see the Belgian Ardennes from above (from a hot air balloon!). It’s time to put Achouffe on your bucket list, don’t you think?
Guided tour of the Achouffe brewery
The Achouffe brewery was founded 40 years ago by Pierre Gobron and Chris Bauweraerts, two brothers-in-law. They started to brew beer together as an activity in their spare time, but turned it into their profession quite quickly. ‘La Chouffe’ (a Belgian blond beer) was the very first to be produced in the brewery. With a cheerful gnome on its label, this golden beer gained popularity very soon, even abroad. And so, the brewery gradually expanded, as well as the range of Chouffe beers. In addition to the famous ‘La Chouffe’, other variants were introduced throughout the years. Just think of Mc Chouffe, which is a dark beer, and the fruity Cherry Chouffe.
If you’re interested in the Belgian beer culture, a visit to the Achouffe brewery shouldn’t be missed. Each guided tour is followed by a beer tasting session in the tavern (Auberge des Lutins). At the end of your visit, you will receive a small gift.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION. A visit to the Achouffe brewery takes about 1 hour 30 minutes and is possible in Dutch, French or English. I recommend to book your visit online and well in advance, as there is a lot of interest. The price for an adult is 12 euros. There is a parking lot opposite to the Chouffe shop and another one opposite to the brewery.
Searching for collector’s items
Central in the village the Chouffe shop is located. Make sure to take a look inside: the shop is furnished as a gnome house and has lots of gadgets and collector’s items for sale. Just think of magnets, t-shirts, beer glasses, playing cards, unique magnum bottles etc. It’s the place to be for a real Chouffe lover.
Into the Fairies Valley
A stroll through ‘the Fairies Valley’ can be considered as one of the most beautiful hikes in the Belgian Ardennes, leading visitors past forest creeks and babbling brooks. During the first part of the walk, you walk next to a small river (‘Ruisseau de Chevral’), going deeper and deeper into the forest. At this point, the pathway is quite flat and not really demanding yet. However, the level of difficulty increases when you have to cross a hill. The ascent and descent might be quite challenging, but it’s absolutely worth the effort! The forest is such a peaceful place to be. Soon, you’ll reach another brook (‘Ruisseau de Martin-Moulin’). Pay attention to the beaver dams along the way. Clearly, not only fairies and gnomes live in this forest.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION. The walk through the Fairies Valley is a 6 kilometers loop walk, starting close to the Achouffe brewery (at the end of the road). It is a signposted walk: just follow the blue signs with a white rectangle (no. 27). Be sure to wear sturdy footwear. The path can be very muddy, especially in the winter months.
Hot air balloon flight
When you come to the village in spring or summer, you can even combine your day trip with a hot air balloon flight. You will feel as free as a bird in the air. The pilot takes you to different altitudes. Because of that, you can have a wide view over the rolling landscape, but also have the chance to get a closer insight in the forest wildlife.
Filip Audenaert and his crew are very experienced and professional, so you’re in safe hands. The flight time is approximately one hour. The landing location remains a surprise until the end, as it is determined by the wind. Once the balloon has landed, all passangers help to fold it and to put it back in the transport box. After that, it’s finally time to raise the glasses. Or should I say ‘again’? 😉 You can click here to go to the website of Filva Ballonvaarten to read all the practical information and to book your flight in 2023.
Where to eat in Achouffe?
Achouffe may be a tiny village, there are multiple cozy taverns and restaurants at walking distance from the brewery. The closest one is ‘La Petite Fontaine’, a restaurant where you can order some typical Belgian dishes in an authentic atmosphere. Furthermore, you can find a fish pond at the entrance of the village with a restaurant next to it (‘La Grange’). Next to the Chouffe shop is another tavern located, with a big fireplace in the middle of the dining room. Perfect for cozy gatherings with friends and family.