22 August 2011
Often in the past I have favored less metropolitan places than Brussels for beer sampling, however we decided to do a somewhat organized lambic beer tour and especially hit my favorite places from my first trip here in 1988. Just hours off of the plane, we first we hit Cafe de la Becasse, on a tiny alley off of Rue de Tabora near the Grand Place. In 1988 they were serving raw lambic from the barrel with a flair and massive tartines with huge curly radishes, where I found the whole experience nearly otherworldly; today it was only sweetened lambic available, the tartines were still large but the radishes were tiny and slightly shriveled. The beer and service was a no longer artsy but simply pedestrian. We picked up a copy of “Around Brussels in 80 Beers” (a great guide, BTW) and navigated our way through a two day tour including Mort Subite, Nuetnigenough for dinner and a great selection of Dupont beers, bar Poechenellekelder (next to the Mannekin Pis and a great lambic list), Cantillon (brewery and museum), Skieven Architek (only a fair beer list but we were starving and they serve a great “stoemp,” a mash of potatoes, vegetables, and a sausage), Brocante (a neighborhood bar with a good lambic list), and wrapping up the last day at Moeder Lambic. The guide reports that Moeder Lambic “is fast becoming one of the world’s great beer bars.” We did enjoy knowledgable service and some exceedingly rare beers, such as the Cantillon Zwanze 2008, the most expensive beer I have ever bought, a rhubarb blended geuze. The bar is great, however I still put Brugs Beertje (in Brugge) as the best, grading on style, presentation, and character of the whole experience.
Nice tour of Brussels though now we are ready to move on to the bike trip.