My next day in Brussels, Tuesday 3 October, I took advantage of our friends’ lovely backyard by installing myself with two grocery store bought beers. The cats then did their part by installing themselves on wall and lawn respectively.
For those of you who don’t know, I have received a two year visa for the UK, and I will soon be spending a lot of time exploring England, and perhaps eventually working in a pub. First though, I have returned to Belgium to visit some of my favourite people and cafés, not necessarily in that order. Going forward, you can expect my blog to become in part a travel blog, complemented by the usual drink reviews.
People often ask me, “what’s your favourite beer?” My response is usually along the lines of, “that’s hard to say, because it really depends on the situation, the time of year, the occasion etc. But I can tell you that the best beer I’ve ever had is the Westvleteren 12, a Belgian beer brewed by monks, but it’s so rare and complex that it’s not something I drink very often.”
Later, on that same day in Brussels, I visited the Poechenellekelder, another classic Brusselse cafe. It is located across from the Manneken Pis, Belgium’s famous statue of a urinating little boy. Despite my frequent pub crawling while on exchange, I had never actually been to the Poechenellekelder before, so this was a real treat to be able to investigate a classic cafe for the first time! I decided to order a Witkap beer, since I had fond memories of their line up. It did not disappoint. Once again tasting notes scribbled on the back of a coaster.
In June 2013 I returned to Belgium for the first time since my exchange, and while I was there I quested to reach a total of tasting 200 different Belgian beers. My lifetime total upon arrival was 186, and I started out with a couple of days in Brussels to add to that. During my first full day on the town I tried 5 new beers, a grand start! On that day I visited the lovely cafe A La Mort Subite. With its Art Nouveau architecture, excellent beers and classic Bruxelloise vibe, I would recommend this cafe to anyone who visits Brussels.
Context: During my exchange in Belgium, I lived not far from Brouwerij Huyghe , and I was often told by the locals about “the pink elephant” Delirium Tremens, the local beer which had been “elected best beer in the world.” I would smile and nod, since most people assumed I knew nothing about beer, which to be fair was half true, since I had arrived with a rather undeveloped palate, but I did have a vast knowledge of brands, styles and brewing history already in my mind. Later during my exchange I was fortunate enough to receive a private tour of the brewery with my parents, given to us by the owner, who happened to know my host family. I also learned to enjoy Huyghe’s flagship beer, as well as their Guinness world record holding cafe in Brussels, Delirium Cafe, which offered over 2000 different beers at that time. I truly enjoyed living in a land where everyone knew about Delirium Tremens, even if they didn’t drink it, because hey, drinking enough of something else could make you understand just the same…