Remembering Belgian Beer Weekend 2006

post details top
Aug 27th, 2007
post details top

I can’t believe that almost a year has passed, and not a word has been written about last year’s trip to Brussels for Belgian Beer Weekend 2006.

ColoniAL dutifully reported on the Amsterdam leg of the tour, but not a word was written about those 4 nights in Brussels.

For this reporter, I can only say that any attempt to describe the trip with words just seemed to take away from the magic.

I did take some notes at the beginning of the trip. So I know that it all began with an Orval in the lobby bar of the Ibis, as we waited to meet up with some of the early arrivals. A Westmalle Tripel followed (the selection at the Ibis lobby bar isn’t the most extensive, but in any other town it would be nothing to complain about).

Then a small contingent wandered in search of La Lunette for a lunchtime session. I remember enjoying a liter of Rodenbach, followed by at least one additional liter.

I remember many nights sitting at the tables in the alley between the Delirium Cafe and the Floris Bar. Hanging out at those bars was really the highlight of the trip. The inside of the Delirium Cafe was too crowded, but the alley way was great … as were the late nights inside the Floris Bar, where we did our best to clear their shelves of absinthe. I remember the water dispenser dripping over the sugar cube for absinthe in the French style … and I remember the flaming black absinthe. I also remember Joel, the owner of Delirium Cafe and Floris Bar giving a hand signal to the barman late one night … early one morning … initially we thought he was cutting us off, but we were pleased to learn that instead the next couple of rounds were on the house.

I remember meeting Tom Peters from Monk’s Cafe in Philadelphia at the bar in Delirium Cafe. Earlier in the day we had been enjoying a few bottles of Cantillon at the Cantillon Brewery … and we watched as the folks at Cantillon gave special attention and treatment to an American. We didn’t know who the guy was, but as they offered him samples in one room, the good folks at Cantillon would bring the left overs from the big bottles over to our table and explain to us what we were sampling. When I saw Tom at Delirium Cafe later in the day and saw his Monk’s Cafe shirt, I put two and two together … Tom is the person who convinced Cantillon to make their Gueuze available on draft for his bar in Philly. A great man indeed, and we enjoyed finishing off the samples that he was offered at Cantillon.
I remember meeting a bartender from the Poechenellekelder who had stopped in at the Delirium to meet up with a bartender from another Brussels bar after their establishments had closed. He bought me a St. Bernadus 12, encouraging me to give it another try. I had written off St. Bernadus 12 a couple of years back, when I had a bottle that was just way to sweet for my taste. But he was right … with Westvleteren 12 so hard to find these days … St. Bernadus 12, while not a perfect substitute (it is too highly carbonated), does help alleviate the craving at least a little bit. We need to make it to the Poechenellekelder this trip … it’s probably a better lunch time stop on the first day than La Lunette.

I remember the beer festival itself on the Grand Place. It was a great location from such a festival, if a bit crowded. I remember the Irish guy who was hitting on Rosie … or maybe he was hitting on Dale … I remember he kept talking about how his friends sometimes wondered if he was gay as he was the only unmarried one among his group of Irish friends who had made their way to the beer festival. I think he was trying to hit on Rosie, but he might have been distracted by Dale’s bulging biceps …

I remember Bill guarding the table full of Westvleteren Blonds that he had ordered on our behalf when he was the first one to arrive at the festival on Saturday afternoon. I remember Harrison being elected mayor of Brussels (or at least if the election was held that day, and only people at the beer festival, Delirium Cafe and Floris Bar could vote, he’d have won by a landslide).

It was a great time … a lot of serious Belgian beer drinking … and I’m sure if I thought long and hard enough, a humorous anecdote or two … but I’d rather not think about it too much. I’d rather just sit back and smile …

And now the time comes from for a return trip … Belgian Beer Weekend 2007 … Brussels be warned, here we come!!!