It’s said that Belgium is to beer what France is to wine and, considering the extortionate costs of flying home for my mate’s stag do on Easter weekend, it made sense to fly out a few days earlier via Brussels and spend the money I saved on sampling the local delicacies. Of course, when I say it made sense I really mean I convinced myself that this was a good idea and nothing would change my mind.
After an afternoon flight into Brussels I quickly found myself in the city centre ready to make the most of my short stay in the city. I’d heard from numerous people that Delirium Cafe was the place to go for beer, and that they actually hold the Guinness World Record for the most beers in one bar. Over 2,000 apparently! Challenge accepted.
Delirium Nocturnum – 8.5%
I started out with a house special. This brown beer goes down deceptively easily for something so strong. One of those dangerous drinks where you’ll probably drink about six of them, then try to stand up and realise your legs no longer work. Would certainly drink again.
Delirium Tremens – 8.5%
Having dried their dark speciality I felt it was only in the interests of fairness that I should try its light counterpart. The selfless things I do for you readers.
More of the same here really. It didn’t have the strong, slightly bitter taste you usually associate with a beer that comes in at almost 9%. As was the case with the Nocturnum, there would be a severe danger of drinking far too many of these and crawling home were I not such a tight northerner. €3.60 for a beer that’s half head and barely resembles half a pint!
Chimay Doree – 4.8%
Feeling a change of scenery I hit up Wikitravel and made a 15 minute walk to another recommended gaff – Bier Circus.
I was particularly intrigued by the ‘trappist’ beers on offer here, being such a cultured young man. As I can’t really be arsed explaining those to you, here’s the page of the menu doing my job for me.
I opted for the Chimay Doree from the Abbeye de Scourmont which (I’m no expert) I think is the Abbey of Scourmont. It was a little weaker than the others but packed more flavour for me. Light and fruity, a little like an IPA. My favourite so far.
Lambic Girardin – 5%
I decided to end the night (I wanted my only full day in Belgium to be a productive one!) with something a little different. Now I’m no stranger to trying ‘different’ food – Beijing night markets, raw chicken and poisonous blowfish can attest to that – and for some reason here I was drawn to a drink with the description, and I quote this verbatim:
‘From the cask, NOT SPARKLING! Sour. Fruity hints.’
What could possibly go wrong?
As it happened, not a great deal. It was slightly sour, and slightly fruity. Pretty much as advertised. Not the ideal nightcap, and certainly not the quickest drink to finish off, but not bad. I’d struggle to recommend it, mind you.
Brugse Zot Blond – 6%
Moving on to Bruges, I very quickly found myself in the Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan brewery where for the very reasonable price of €10 you could take a 45 minute tour and get a free beer at the end. When in Rome and all that.
The free beer was the house blond which, at 6%, was surprisingly the weakest on offer! The flavours weren’t particularly strong and it was a little bitter. Definitely good for a couple of drinks, but not an all-nighter! As it was straight out of the brewery, this was unfiltered and therefore slightly different to the stuff you’d get in bottles and other bars, so it was a nice touch to know this was the only place in the world you could drink it!
I did end up drinking a few more beers in Gent (perhaps a few too many!) but I can hardly remember them, so that’s your lot!