Thursday, February 7, 2008

Brussels Beer Tour: Get your Brewsky On!

Beer lovers know that Belgium brews Europe's most diverse array of barley-based bevies, which this tour will take you to.

(This article was written by my cousin for the Gadabout Project. He lived in Brussels Belgium for 5 years, and is a true connoisseur of beer).

Belgium can rightfully claim to be the capital of many things: bureaucracy, pralines, and comic book culture among them.  Few countries would challenge these dubious titles, but when the topic of beer arises, the contenders get a bit edgy.  The Germans consume the most beer, while the British and Irish have the most lovable pub culture.  Congratulations, here are your ribbons.

Beer lovers know that Belgium brews the Europe's most diverse array of barley-based bevies. The opportunity to spend an evening in a charming beer café with an encyclopedic beer list and a ripe buzz is what lures many adventurous tourists to the somewhat mysterious corners of this surreal country.

In Brussels, start at the slightly awesome center of the beer universe, the Grande Place, and work your way past the dinner hawkers on the Petite rue de Boucher to Delirium Tremens (Impasse De La Fidélité 4 A).  Your first lesson in Belgian surrealism is about to begin.  With seating for roughly 10 times as many patrons as their are menus, and a menu so large and interesting you could spend a weekend browsing it, you might want to know what you want before you get there.   Try it; if you can think of it, they probably have it.  With a menu of 2000 beers and growing, you're unlikely to out beer geek the Tremens.

Nearby you'll find fresh lambic and kriek on tap at A La Bécasse (11 rue de Tabora).  You'll no doubt walk by it several times before you notice the alley it's in.  Keep an eye out for the bird mosaic on the sidewalk. {quotes}Try the lambic blanche for a refreshingly acidic quaff that won't alter your pH. {/quotes} A time-tested favorite lies outside the Galerie St. Hubert at A La Mort Subite (7 rue des Montagnes aux Herbes Potagère).  Admire the high ceilings and nicotine-stained decor with a gueuze or fruit-lambic of your choice, and picture yourself in the same seat 80 years ago with roughly the same beer.  It's what the Bruxellois do.

It would be shameful to leave Brussels without visiting Chez Moeder Lambic (68 rue de Savoie) behind the St. Gilles town hall.  A well chosen menu of 500+ beers, unforced rusticity, and a deep selection of comic books will keep you smirking.  Or, blend in with the locs at L'Atelier (77rue Elise) in Ixelles.  A stable menu of 200 labels and the gorgeous Duchesse de Bourgogne on tap makes for an enjoyable evening out.  It doesn't heat up until 10:00 most nights.

Click here to reach our Google Map of this Beer tour of Brussels.

**Photo Credit: Flickr CC - Some rights reserved by Chris Blazek

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