Friday, 20 November 2009

Brussels


We had a good time there. We emerged from the tunnel into bright sunlight and that's the way it stayed until it got dark. I almost entirely stuck to gueuze and enjoyed particularly two of the pubs recommended by John Clarke. Poechenellekelder was a late visit and was bustling and cheerful, with great staff and a well chosen list. Pricey and smoky though. We both loved Fleur en Papier Dore where we had our first drink. A protected interior of astonishing variety, once the haunt of the impressionist school and the originator of Tintin, we were lucky enough to have the owner come over to explain its history. Absolutely delightful and no smoking too. A find and to me, Girardin Gueuze was my beer of the day, though I did enjoy all the ones I tried, with De Cam, Cantillon and Oud Beersel just being pipped by the Girardin.

We also called into the new Oude Moeder Lambic which is very impressive,friendly and modern, though I think that they could do something better in presenting their beer list, as it isn't really clear what beers are on handpump - six of them - and what ones by, I assume, CO2.  You'd also have to have waist size under 36" to sit comfortably at the tables. Even skinny Belgians were looking rather squashed. Thanks for that one Laurent, but you and I would have to sit at the bar! 

Great pubs, a great place and lovely weather. The obligatory leisurely moules and frites lunch plus E buying the obligatory chocolates, completed a good day. We walked back to the badly signposted station, but were thwarted in our intention to have a last beer in Le Laboureur, a beery outpost in this very North African area of the city, but it looks not only closed, but permanently so. We found a nondescript bar and a Duvel completed the day. I'd almost forgotten what I lovely beer this is, but it really is top class.

Brussels is a great day out with smashing pubs, it is easily and enjoyably walkable, has great food and lots of shops to gaze into. It isn't cheap with a gueuze usually about €5.50 - €6, but then again, these are sipping not swigging beers.

Photo to follow.

5 comments:

Barry M said...

Great stuff. I love Brussels. Have visited both Poechenellekelder and Fleur en Papier Dore and thought they were great pubs. Would love to visit the new Oude Moeder Lambic. I just need to get assigned on a project in Brussels that would require me to be there for a week or two :D

Laurent Mousson said...

Welll, re. Chez Moeder Lambic Fontainas, I sat at one of the tables on Tuesday night, and so did one certain Jos Brouwer just opposite to me.
(The trick is that the tables indeed are bolted to the wall, but the benches things are not...)

Regarding handpump / CO2 top pressure. The handpumps are only used for flat lambics (sparklers seem to do miracles for them...).
All the rets is CO2 pressure, BUT there's a major but...

In conceiving the cooling cell and the lines (which are all cooled), everything was made to make sure there would be no cooling coil on the way, since the kegs themselves are cooled.
The longest line of the lot therefore is a mere 3.90 metres. Therefore the top pressure can be kept low. Very low in fact. When I went down there with jean, one of teh owners, on Tuesday night, all manometres were at 1 bar or under, most of them reading 0.8 bar. at that kind of top pressure, there's virtually no gassing up the beer withing the max 5 days it would be kept on.

The reason I'm waxing lyrical about the place is not just that they're friends of mine, but that indeed there's been a lot of practical thinking about how to serve the beer in the best possible condition before they even started building in the ruin it was a year ago.

And on top of that, they believe in training staff properly. They must be mad. ;o)

Tandleman said...

Ha. I assumed they were fixed and as the bar was empty anyway, we sat there so I could see what's going on.Just watching the punters though, they all looked a bit jammed in.

I did order a lambic though I can't remember, in a day of lambic, which one, but my point is that the menu doesn't say which will be flat and which not.

Still minor points about a great venue which will grow into itself.

Woolpack Dave said...

Glad you had a nice time. I'm unlikely to get abroad this year so I'm jealous, but there'll be time some other year.

Joe Stange said...

Nice report! Sounds like a fine day. Interesting they said Hergé used to hang at the Fleur, I didn't know that. Laboureur has been closed a couple of years, unfortunately.

If enough of us big boys bug them about the tables, maybe they'll get spaced out soon enough.