Trip to the airport was seamless; we were finally headed to Brussels, Belgium, attending Belgian Beer Weekend Edition 14. We celebrated arrival at Newark by opening one of TheBrewSherpa’s home-brewed black ales. What a great way to start our beercation (or isn’t this a business trip for research purposes?). Being early to the airport provided for another opportunity to imbibe, although Dos Equis was a huge disappointment. The Air Canada flight from Newark through Montreal was short and uneventful, other than the Swedish woman sitting nearby in tears and white-knuckled during any slight turbulence.
Once in Montreal, we had another opportunity to check out the beer selection. We drank a few Rickard’s White Ale (Molson Coors Canada) at one of the airport bars, and proceeded to board Air Canada en route to Brussels! Arriving at 8:39 am the next morning, fully jet lagged after an overnight flight, our next challenge was navigating our way through the airport to the train to Bruxelles Centrale, which was accomplished without much ado. Sadly, TheBrewSherpette’s luggage was heavily damaged sporting square wheels, and TheBrewSherpa was charged with stepping up his sherping prowess by schlepping it through the cobblestone streets of Bruxelles to the hotel.
After a short nap, we started exploring Bruxelles. First stop was Chez Léon, located at rue des Bouchers 18, a quaint, narrow, cobble-stoned walkway with restaurants lining both sides of the way. At Chez Leon, we ordered Spaghetti “Léon”, an amazingly delicious linguini with shrimp and mussels in a white sauce, which paired well with their own brewed Léon beer, a home-made pale beer, served from the barrel. Our waiter, Jean, was a wonderful professional and instructed us on the inclusion of the TVA (12% on food and 21% on alcohol) and proper tipping etiquette. A stop at Chez Leon is well worth the time!
A short walk away, we found A la Mort Subite (translated as Sudden Death), located at rue Montagne-aux-Herbes Potageres 7. This pub is named after a last game practice of the dice game entitled “421”. Our waiter, Bart, was familiar, as he was featured in the 2006 Three Sheets to Belgium episode. This classic beer bar features a wide selection of imported beer and Belgian beer, as well as their proprietary labels. TheBrewSherpa went well beyond his realm of comfort when he ordered a Gueuze sur Lie, a Lambic sour beer. Not only did he order this beer, he began to enjoy it, followed by Grimbergen Dubbel by Brouwerij Alken-Maes (Heineken). TheBrewSherpette sampled Affligem Blonde by Affligem Brouwerij and the Mort Subite Peche (Alken-Maes-Heineken). Holy peach! Delicious and sweet, more like a cooler, but most fruity beers are like that! We highly recommend A La Mort Subite to any beer lovers passing through Bruxelles.
As the sun set, we returned to rue des Bouchers, and after evading aggressive restaurant workers offering free beers or champagne in efforts to fill their empty seats on a Thursday night, we settled on La Cotelette, located at rue des Bouchers 30, and enjoyed Moules in Bier (mussels in beer) and carpaccio. We drank Duvel Moortgat and had a very nice evening.
While walking around, we happened upon a large crowd at the entry of Délirium Café, a bar known for its long beer list. The bar is located in the small alley called Impasse de la Fidélité/Getrouwheidsgang, very near rue des Bouchers. We were immediately swept in. Maneuvering through the crowd and down the stairs, we started drinking Delirium Tremens, in greater quantity perhaps than was advisable. Live reggae music rocked the room, followed by Senegalese reggae-style music. As if TheBrewSherpette was clairvoyant (check out prior blog entry prediction), she had trouble balancing on two feet and needed a great deal of support from TheBrewSherpa on the return voyage to the hotel. Once again, TheBrewSherpa evidenced his sharping skills as he schlepped TheBrewSherpette back to the hotel. Highly recommend a visit to Delirium Tremens for active nightlife and excellent beers on tap, just fair warning, Delirium Blondes will do a fair share of damage to jet lagged travelers (8.5% ABV sneaks up!). On that note, day 1 of our trip ended, with dreams of what wonderful experiences day two would offer the Sherpas.