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Belgium Trip - Day 5 - Brussels

Posted by Rich Link on 04/11/2005 09:15:39 PM

March 7

After a nice breakfast at Hotel Carolus, we called for a taxi and went to the train station to head into Brussels for the day. As we entered the north end of the city, we noticed the “Red Light District”. Tod asked, “What area are we in?” I’m sure he was just curious, not really taking notes for any future excursions.

We got of at Midi, and waited in a very long ATM line in order to get cash. One ATM, near the Post. Surely there should be more. The snow we saw in Mechelen was now sleet. Not wishing to walk to Cantillon, we took a taxi. What a mistake. The sleet stopped, and our driver had no idea where Cantillon was. We also got caught in terrible traffic. We eventually made it, but it took about 20 minutes.

We took the self-guided tour, the third time for Teresa and me, first time for Tod and Kari. We were surprised to see the new roof over the coolship. No more holey wood shingles. The EU IS having an impact.

After the tour, we tasted 2-year old lambic, as expected quite dry, tart and vinous. The geuze from the tap? This was unclear. I thought I understood this to be from the barrel, but I may have misunderstood. Then Kriek, Vigneronne and Faro. A nice tasting, followed by some souvenir buying. The temptation to buy loads of beer was overwhelming. However, we were just starting our day, and we would have to cart the beers around all day long. We resisted the temptation, and decided to carry all beer purchases internally.

We walked back to Midi and took the tube to Madou, then a short walk to Le Bier Circus, where a gathering of Babblers was taking place. We walked in and were told that there was no room – the pub was full. Being WUPT, we asked if we could stand at the bar and have a drink. A reluctant yes was given It was obvious that we were a bit out of bounds, but we tried to be as unobtrusive as possible. The John White told me he was about to leave, and we could have his table. Thanks John. Eventually another table opened and the four of us were able to sit together.

Was able to share a couple of experiences with Jeremy, and met Ian and couple of others. Our first round of beers included XX Bitter, Goudenband Blanche de Saisis and Kari’s new favorite, Kasteel Brown. A recommendation from an English bloke, (whose name escapes me, but was a great sport even after Tod knocked his beer bottle onto the man’s lap) and we ordered Kameleon Amber and Tripel. The amber was quite hoppy, and had some Orval flavors in it. Finished up with Cantillon Bruscella Grand Cru, just making it out of the pub before it closed for the afternoon. A good tasting but we felt rushed and as though we were intruding. I’m sure it was due to the crowd, which probably was not expected on a Monday afternoon.

Took a stroll down the hill to A La Mort Subite. A very nice café, with middle of the road beers. I love the ambiance here. The staff is friendly, and food is good, low-brow fare.

Then down to the Grand Place for some sightseeing and some chocolate. WUPT! So we ducked into Les Brasseurs. Mixed reviews on this place. The Pils was nice.

Tod & Kari, being into dark, Goth-like stuff, had learned of a pub that has coffins for tables and serves beers out of skulls. We found it. Le Cercueil, which is just off one of the alleys off the GC. Dark and small interior. I think they could have done more with the theme. The beer list included Duvel (fitting) and Chimay Bleu. I had the Chimay while the others had Duvel. I can’t recommend this place for the beer. But if you want some otherworld ambiance, drop in for a round.

We tried to find Halloween, another place T & K wanted to visit, but the directions we got did not work. Slid by Mannekin Pis, and then made our way to the Delirium Café. We were thirsty and a bit tired by now, so a good round of beers was in order. Man what a beer menu! We had Watou Tripel, ‘t Smisje Tripel, Vichtenaar and Rodenbach Grand Cru. A very nice round indeed. The RGC was in great shape, as was the Vich. It was an interesting side-by-side tasting.

We noticed a group of young men that we had seen at the ZBF on Saturday, and at Cantillon in the morning. They were obviously having a good time. One of them noticed that Tod was wearing an AleSmith hat. He said that the group was drinking AleSmith Old Numbskull and Speedway Stout. They brought the beers with them and smuggled them into the café. I told them that Tod was the brewer, and they were all excited about that. Tod went over and met them and they took some pictures. A little while later they were ready to leave. One of them came over and said, “we were drinking your beers, and… I just…THANK YOU!” as he wrapped his arms around Tod in a great embrace. It was the greatest show of appreciation for a brewer that I had ever seen. It almost brought a tear to my eye.

We left the Delirium, saw the squatting girl across the way, then went for dinner. Free Leffe Bruin, (eh), but a good meal at one of the restaurants on the corner. We then made it back to the train station and on home to Mechelen. It was a fun-filled and tiring day. The last thing we needed was to wait at the Mechelen train station for a taxi. Fortunately there was one there waiting. We think someone else had called ahead for it, but we did not care. We had paid our dues at this station.

Day 5

24 Different beers

29 Total Beers

Trip Totals

128 different beers

149 total beers

Tomorrow – Off to Brugge

Belgium Trip - Day 5 - Brussels - Rich Link, 04/11/05 09:15:39 PM
        Le Bier Circus - Ian, 04/12/05 04:30:06 AM
                Re: Le Bier Circus - Rich Link, 04/12/05 10:54:09 AM
                        Re: Le Bier Circus - Jeff "Truthbrew", 04/12/05 11:54:07 AM
                                Re: Le Bier Circus - Ian, 04/12/05 04:36:57 PM
                                        Agreed on all counts. nfm - Jeff "TruthBrew", 04/12/05 05:49:25 PM
        Re: Belgium Trip - Day 5 - Brussels - Jeremy Gray, 04/12/05 03:51:25 AM
                Re: Belgium Trip - Day 5 - Brussels - Rich Link, 04/14/05 12:14:25 PM
                        Re: Belgium Trip - Day 5 - Brussels - Jeremy Gray, 04/14/05 01:31:41 PM
                                Re: Belgium Trip - Day 5 - Brussels - Rich Link, 04/14/05 04:38:02 PM
                                        Re: Belgium Trip - Day 5 - Brussels - Jeremy Gray, 04/14/05 05:14:23 PM
                Jean & Dave & Danes - Logan, 04/14/05 03:39:59 AM
                Re: Belgium Trip - Day 5 - Brussels - Rich Link, 04/12/05 10:49:25 AM
                        Re: Belgium Trip - Day 5 - Brussels - Jeremy Gray, 04/12/05 11:11:05 AM
        Le Cercueil - Gunter, 04/12/05 01:58:00 AM
                Re: Le Cercueil - Rich Link, 04/12/05 10:56:01 AM

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