Andrew and I went to Brussels this weekend to celebrate his birthday. In order to make it a weekend to remember, and to fit in a few celebratory drinks, I booked a beer tasting event as a gift. I went for the one organised by Sanderman’s New Europe as the reviews were really good.
We met the rather large group at 6pm at Scott’s Bar in the city centre. Our guide, Paul, was full of energy and the 3 hours that followed were extremely entertaining. Just note that I took very few photos as there were almost 50 of us and I didn’t want to be invasive while people were relaxing and enjoying a drink and a nice conversation.
People took a seat next to each other and predictably everybody was a bit reserved at the beginning, that is until the first beers were served! The two options given either a Chimay Blue (sweet) or Westmalle Tripel (bitter) were both around 9% – that is you feel it after you drank it!
Paul explained to us the history of Belgian beer making and the rules they follow which are very different than German or English beers for instance. Belgians are creative when it comes to beer, and with more than 3000 types to choose from they say that there is a beer for everybody’s taste. I couldn’t agree more, I am not a beer fan yet I very much enjoyed most of the ones I had during our time in Belgium. Thanks to having so many options I was always able to find one that I would enjoy – “Fresh and crisp please! Oh and not too beer-y!”
After our first round at Scott’s Bar we moved on to our next stop, Delirium Bar, one of, if not the most famous beer bar in Brussels. All 50 of us were feeling already a lot more relaxed and we met on the tour a lovely American couple we ended up spending the entire evening with. Beer equals new friends is the short of it, mostly when they are on the higher side of the strength spectrum.
At Delirium Bar we first got served a blond beer which I completely forgot the name of. At that stage, my note taking had become a lot less reliable. It was fresh which was very welcome as the venue was hot, I drank it and enjoyed it!
The second beer was a Kriek which means ‘cherry’ in Flemish. So, you have probably guessed it, it was a fruity beer however it was nothing like those overly sweet ciders and fruit beers you find in the UK and some Nordic countries. It was fresh, crisp and had a hint of cherry making it a more accessible beer to non-beer lovers like yours truly.
We ended with a surprise! Rather than serving us another regular Belgian beer, Paul made us try a beer made using the Medieval Ages fermentation technique – aka guess-timation! It was very bizarre, the scent was horrendous and I would describe it as stinky-feet, yet the flavours weren’t that bad. I probably wouldn’t order it again but it really was completely fine to drink.
We ended the evening sharing more beers with our new friends from the US. We had a great time!
I really recommend this tour as it is the perfect balance of entertainment, beers and general culture. We learned so much about Belgium History, the Benedictine monks (the beverage makers!) and the Belgian beer culture – fun and educative!