Beer on Tour: Brussels

Not much time here unfortunately but it’s still been a pretty exciting day. We spent most the free time we had in and around the beautiful Galeries du Roi et de la Reine and the only thing we missed out on, sadly, was buying some of the excellent chocolate on offer.

I had a huge steak with chips for lunch at a fairly traditional looking cafe. We stayed away from the tourist traps on Grand Place and it paid off, the steak was excellent quality, well complemented by a creamy mushroom sauce and thick crispy chips and the whole lot was pretty reasonably priced if not really cheap.

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In our tea break I was still full from lunch so went hunting for some of my favourite Belgian beers. Tipped off by my father (actually both my parents know Brussels well and gave me loads of good ideas for where to go- big thanks to them! ) I found an amazing shop, again near the Galeries. Like many Belgian beer shops this had a huge selection but most excitingly this included all three Westvleteren beers. I bought one Westvleteren 12, a Struise port aged Tsjeeses, the 2011 Christmas special, a Rochefort 10 and two Orvals. Kid in a toy shop doesn’t begin to describe it!

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The concert was excellent and well received tonight but the hall was really hot so we needed something special to cool down afterwards. We went to La Mort Subite, a classic Art Deco Belgian pub. The beer menu isn’t huge but it is pretty special with most of the Trappists, even two (Chimay White and Westmalle Dubbel) on tap- I’ve never seen that before!

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As we had an early morning start approaching we just had two beers each but tasted those that others had. I had two Rochefort 10s, a wonderful rich, fruity brew with some caramel hints, absolutely fantastic. Toby likes a lighter beer so he started with a Westmalle Tripel which was nice and spicy with a hint of citrus, then progressed to a Rochefort 8 which he found had many of the qualities of the 10 without being quite as intense. Emmet started with a La Trappe Quadrupel which was rich and fruity but also with some of the spicy citrus of the Westmalle Tripel, more than I remembered from trying it in the UK, maybe it had more of the bottle’s yeast in it? He then joined me with a Rochefort 10. Marie started with a Chimay White from the tap that was excellent, spicy, refreshing and a little more bitter than the Westmalle Tripel, then went on to a La Trappe Quad. Moritz started with a Westmalle Dubbel from the tap, also refreshing but for me not quite as interesting as the dark beers from Rochefort and La Trappe- he then had a Quad. We all had a lovely time, some tasty omelette and croque monsieur and appreciated the light, friendly ambiance of the place.

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