ALEiens Homebrew Club

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Bonjour, Goedemorgen, and Gute Morgen!

I'm back in Cologne, Germany for work, and it's Saturday morning over here. Time to take a trip to Brussels, Belgium to see what the Belgians know about beer. I suspect it may be a thing or two...

The drive should take about 2.5 hours, and I will again be flying at low altitude on the Autobahn:

Once there, I will attempt an ambitious route, to cover some places recommended to me by friends and coworkers:

A: Hotel Radisson Blu EU
Rue D'idalie 35

B: La Roy Despagne (The King of Spain) -
Grand Place 1

C: Greenwich Taverne
Kartuizersstraat 7

D: A la Becasse (The Lark)
Rue de Tabora 11

E: A La Mort Subite (A Sudden Death)
Rue Montagne aux Herbes Potagères 7

F: Delirium Cafe
Getrouwheidsgang 4

If I can get online while resting my bones, I will post pictures and "situation reports" as I visit the different places.

Stay tuned!

Views: 579

Comment by Eivind Sandstrand on August 29, 2009 at 11:00am
I walked from the hotel towards downtown and my first stop - La Roy D'Espagne, the King of Spain.

I passed through one of many marketplaces, Grasmarkt where the merchants were selling trinkets galore, but also waffels, chocolate, and other temptations.

In this part of town, the streets are narrow and lined by hundreds of little shops, cafes, and bars. People are sitting outside on the sidewalk, listening to street performers while sipping chocolate drinks, coffee or, of course, a beer.

And then there was this..:

Making my way into the Grand Place, my eyes got very big and wide - A magnficent square surrounded by a cathedral and other buildings adorned with statues and golden trims. The square is very busy with tourists taking pictures incessantly, just like me.

I discovered the Roy D'Espagne at the corner of the square and headed inside.

As usual, there's no WiFi access for travellers like me, so I've resorted back to "non-live" mode. The King of Spain was built in 1697 and has served as a baker's house as well as a hardware store. Knowing that it's going to be a long haul, I chose Flemish style beef cooked in Leffe Brune, accompanied by a "small" Leffe Blond. Delicious!

After the meal, I headed down through the narrow streets away from the Grand Place and had to stop by a Belgian Beer store. Since I need to be light on my feet (!) today, I will revisit tomorrow and look for something to take home.

While not falling for the temptation to diverge from my planned route, there are an endless number of sidewalk cafes and bars, I find that my stops are pretty close together and I made it to the Greenwich Tavern in no time. This is apparently the artist Rene Magritte's regular place, so I'm in noble company.

Looking through the beer list, my choice fell on a Mort Subite, a kind of preview of a place I will visit later. This is an intensely fruity and citrusy Cherry Lambic, but very refreshing and tasty.

Onwards and upwards! For $5 you could pose with this guy. Maybe later...

Comment by Eivind Sandstrand on August 29, 2009 at 5:58pm
To The Lark I went, a tiny place hidden between other buildlings on a very busy and touristy street. Clearly a "local" place, the main room was barely bigger than twice our club's meeting room upstairs at the Hulmeville Inn.

I ordered a sampler from Timmermans: White Lambic, Sweet Lambic, Kriek Lambic (Cherry), and something called Bourgogne des Flanders (will have to look that one up. The White had a fresh lemony flavor with a bit of a sour aftertaste, but very enjoyable. The Kriek was radically different from my last cherry beer at the Greenwich - definitely a cherry flavor that lasts. Not a big cherry stuff fan myself, but the beer went down without any protests from palate or throat. The Sweet Lambic was surprisingly mild with a hint of malt and "grain fields". Finally, the Bourgone was pretty malty, a faint reminder of a Scottish Ale, only better!

Sadly, I had to press on, and I walked the short distance to A La Mort Subite (At the Sudden Death). On the way, I passed up on this establishment...

...but I went in to the Beer Planet to peruse the selection, and what a selection. Amuzingly, the Non-Belgian section consisted of around 10 beers, with the US represented by that near-beer from St. Louis...

Mort Subit was a recommendation from Joe over at Princeton Homebrew, and this was my next, much anticipated destination.

Joe also suggested that I try the Gueze Sur Lies Bierre, a sour Flemish. As Joe said, so sour it gives you goosebumps! This stuff is so fresh and delicious that it makes you addicted immediately. I just wonder what it'll do to me tomorrow...

Next up, an Affligem Blonde. I'm staying with the smaller beers both in size and strength, seeing as I have one more mandatory stop. The Blonde was slightly malty, with a pleasant mouthfeel and aftertaste. Like all the others, the hopping seems extremely light, but the beers are in no way too sweet. Balance, balance, balance!

Wouldn't you know it - I just got talking with the couple at the table next to mine, and Serge and Simone suggested two more must-see places, the La Cirio (where they specialize in a white wine-based half & half), and the Falstaff. Serge also suggested that I take a walk around the areas of St. Gilles, Boes de la Cambre, and Ixelles. Many more breweries and taverns to visit! It's about a 10 mile hike, though, so I think it will have to wait for tomorrow or for when I can return with the wife.

Last one at the Mort Subit was the Wesmalle Double Triple, a Trappistbier with both sweet and sour flavors. It's shown here with my notes from Serge who also suggested I sometime visit West Vliteren, an abbey where they brew and sell, but only cases of 12, and only if you phone in advance to place an order.

It's apparently not possible to buy West Vliteren anywhere else, so I may have to make the trip out to western Belgium at some point.

I'm sad to leave, but I'm now seriously behind schedule and need to haul my tipsy ass down to Delirium Tremens.

On the way, I found this little building

Now, this is what the Belgians call park benches!

At long last, I've arrived at the Delirium Tremens Cafe. Or, the Beer Cave as they named the downstairs, loud and smokey bar. It's too dark down here to take pictures with my phone, but it reminds me of a certain place I've been before - We'd all feel quite at home, with the exception of the beer selection.

First a triple , then a Montagnarde Amber, then an Authentique Triple (unknown brewery). Sorry, but I got caught up in the conversation with Alex and couldn't take notes. Suffice it to say, that the last one is 9% abv and it's getting harder to capture details :) Add to that, the Delirium Tremens bar doesn't allow httpts connections. So I can't log in anywhere!! Man, is that lame.

Oh well, from here back to the hotel should only be interrupted by a visit to the La Port Noir (The Black Gate), upon request from my latest sidemate, Alex. Apparently, here in Belgium, the legal drinking age(s) start at 16, and Alex's 18th was tomorrow.

The last bottle, Pannepot Rtesrva 2007 Old Fisherman's Ale, Aged On Oak., roasted malt, a bit of fruit, was heavy, so heavy that it took me to to the end of wonderful day.

Back at the hotel, looking back on 9 hours of exploring Brussels, Ich bin vergugt um Sie alle eine Gute Nacht wunschen. Or something like that..................

(That;s Bartok, btw)

Thanks for listening!!

Comment by Sam Scott on August 29, 2009 at 6:15pm
I love when you go away! Well... you know what I mean. ;)
Great photos! Hope you made it to Delirium Cafe with enough time to sample all 2000 beers available.
Comment by Don Gravatt on August 29, 2009 at 10:52pm
Great trip report. I never would have expected a Bartok reference!
Comment by Joe on August 30, 2009 at 10:14am
Hey -e,
In the old days you had to weight for the postcards, this is great!

If you look above the picture of Roy D'Espagne you'll see a stone bishops head above the door, so that is what I called it for a long time.


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