Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Posts Tagged ‘drinks’

Public brewing at Cantillon

Posted by rachelinbxl on December 19, 2012

Brussels is home to 2 breweries that I know of – Brasserie de la Senne and Cantillon. There are also a few bars that make their own beer and serve it only in their establishment – one on Grand Place, L’Imprimerie in Uccle and the SchievenArchitect on the Vossenplein. There may be more!
Cantillon is also known as a museum of gueze. Here they make this traditional Brussels beer in the old way – meaning that the wort is left open to the air overnight in a giant copper vat – collecting yeast naturally present in the air of Brussels (near the river Geuse, hence the name apparently) that starts the fermentation. These beers are kept for years in oak barrels before being blended, or having fruit added to make various different gueze blends or krieks etc. Cantillon works with natural sugars and yeasts, so these are very sour beers – not everyone likes them.
I went along to one of their public brewings -which start at 6am and allow you to witness almost the entire preparation process (you can’t stay overnight to see if you can spot yeast spores falling into the liquid!).

The actual brassing

Brassage of the wort (hot water added to the cereals and stirred)

There are frequent tours offered in many different languages and you get a stamp on your hand when you pay, allowing you to come back several times during the day and check on the progress. This is a busy day – so I would also recommend visiting the museum at another time. They show the cleaning of the barrels, the bottling and sell their beers way cheaper than you will find them anywhere else.

testing
You can drink the wort – it tastes a bit like Horlicks

Keg overflow

It’s a bit different, but I recommend a visit to Cantillon for any beer lover!

Cantillon Brewery and Museum of Geuze
Rue Gheude,
Brussels

Food: None available
Atmosphere: The attic is cold – bring a jacket, but the warmth of the welcome compensates
Service: Excellent
Price: 5 euro includes a beer at normal times
Languages: French, Dutch, English and more!

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Burger and beers in Brussels

Posted by rachelinbxl on March 18, 2012

There have been a few blogs on the best burger in Brussels recently (see Ultimate Burger Guide or Burger Wars).  I confess I am not much of a burger fan, but every once in a while I get a hankering for this oversized, overly meaty sandwich, and McDonalds, or the recent strange Quick ideas will NOT hit the spot.

So, it’s always good to test a new spot in Brussels for burgers.

I tested the Burger Republic near Flagey, but on a day that I was playing vegetarian (a challenge during Lent this year in the Flemish community  to sensitise people to the ecological footprint that producing meat requires. see dagenzondervlees for more details). Their version with a huge portobello mushroom, roasted bell peppers, cheese and a mustardy sauce was OK, but I didn’t really enjoy their fries and thought the white bread bun really lacked taste. Also, the burger disintegrated in my hands. I realise mushrooms are more slippery than meat, but there must be a way to get the cheese to stick this together. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t pay 12 euros for this burger a second time.

I preferred Houtsiplou, where I tested the “Super chouette” back in December last year. I went without a camera, so there is no photographic evidence of this burger. It was a bit heavy on the cheese, but the pepper sauce was good. I hear it’s owned by the same people as Super Filles du Tram – hence both serving fries in flower pots! The service was friendly and very bilingual (was dining with a Flemish friend, and he was most impressed to find this in Brussels, and so near the Grand Place).  I like the place itself also, on the small square, opposite the insanely expensive Comme chez soi and l’Horloge. I read in a guidebook that this square used to be the arrivals hall of the main station in brussels. The Horloge restaurant is where the large train clock stood, and the statue in the middle welcomed visitors off the trains in Brussels.

Houtsiplou
Place Rouppe, 9 – 1000 Bruxelles
Food: A
Atmosphere: B
Service: A
Price: B+
Languages: French, Dutch, English

Burger Republic,
Chaussée de Vleurgat 7, 1050, Ixelle
Food: C
Atmosphere: C
Service: B
Price: C
Languages: French,  English

I called this post Burgers and Beers, and that is because I also keep up my exploration of Belgian beers (soon a post on a visit to the Cantillon public brewing session and the Gruut brewery, run by a woman, in the centre of Gent, where they make beer without hops). A ‘new’ beer shop has opened on Place de Jeu de Balles which will help me in my quest to try all of the beers listed in my book ‘100 Belgian beers to try before you die’

Au nom de la bière
12, Jeu de Balle
1000 Bruxelles

This is right on the square with the flea market. It is open Thurs-Sun, or ask at the Marseille bar on the corner, where the owner clearly spends a great deal of his time. He has a good selection, not cheap.. but he is friendly and knowledgeable. I’m sure there are better, but they often require cars to get too. Here I can wheel my little shopping trolly from the Sunday pilgrimage to South station market, collect a few more bottles, and hop a tram home! So.. should you need to sample some of the rarer Belgian beers: I recommend Les Rulles, Owa and the WinterKoninkse. Skol

Posted in Brew in Bruxelles, Feeling Carnivorous?, Frite Off! | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

Test all the restos at once!

Posted by rachelinbxl on August 23, 2011

The first weekend in August, Leuven hosts Hapje Tapje – a name meaning small drinks and snacks. Restaurants have stands in the streets and vie to make the best tasty morsel to tempt the passers by. There is even a prize for the best snack.
It has become quite the institution and people go for lunch and dinner, eating at the small tables in the streets, as well as on any green patch of grass. Snacks vary in price from 1-6 euros. Some are hot, some are cold; some are better value for money than others.

The main restaurant stands are in the Muntstraat, the Hogeschoolplein and the small street between the two, as well as the start of the Naamsestraat. Old favourites are Mykene and Kokoon, who always have something interesting to test (this year ZEBRA with wok noodles!)… we also enjoy comparing samosas from all the Indian/Nepali restaurants, though were most disppointed in 2008 when our winning restaurant closed down soon after. EverestBasecamp is also reliable though, and De Werf’s desset buffet is always insanely popular.

The Oude Markt hosts the annual bar man race – which is worth a visit. The winner from last year starts the race, and the bar(wo)man who completes the fastest circuit of the packed Leuven streets with the most beer still in the glasses on their trays is the winner. Some take it more seriously than others – but onlookers certainly have a laugh!
This year, for the first time, the Oude Markt had Hapje Tapje glasses for rent (we kept ours), meaning one could take smaller (cheaper) beers. The selection of beers is always better than for the rest of the year, with some interesting breweries attending. This year we also tested Belgian wine (not so impressive).

I heartily recommend the Hapje Tapje experience to all foreigners – and Leuven is a must see in Belgium anyway!

Hapje Tapje (in dutch)
All over Leuven
First weekend in August each year

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Beef, a Burger, and Beer at Belgian Les Brassins

Posted by pieguybxl on April 25, 2010

Although we mentioned Les Brassins before, recently we had a chance to follow up with some photos of the things we liked there: onion soup (~5 euros), Tripel Karmeliet beer, sweet Faro Lindemans beer, lunch menu onglet beef steak (~13 euros) with stoemp and salad, the Brassins Burger with chunky fries (~13 euros), and a dame noir (~6 euros).  Nice little place.  The beer sauces are pretty good on the rabbit and beef dishes.  My worst experience is having my cut of onglet steak smell funny, but overall the food is still great, and the atmosphere is even better.


Posted in Chill Corner, Feeling Carnivorous?, Frite Off!, Pretty Pictures | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Potent Potables: Vegan organic soda?

Posted by pieguybxl on April 16, 2010

I was admittedly suspicious of the stuff.  The other beverages available included something like tea with yak’s butter and spices, and this seemed on par: organic cola.  Is it made with sugar and flavors raised without chemicals?  That’s cool.  And how hippie is that?

Not just organic cola, but vegancompatible cola.   Apparently there are no chunks of hormone-fed beef in this soda, and that makes me feel much better about it.

From what I was told, it tasted pretty much as expected and confirmed all lingering suspicions one might have before drinking it.  But it was potable.  Not bad.  Especially for the vegans.  Or for the folk who like to step out of their comfort zones to taste something sweet like liquid candy and herbs.

Anyway, this is my faulty, perhaps imaginative memory of what someone else told me about the taste, so go over to Dolma off Flagey yourself to try it if you’re curious.

“Nutty Cola Nut”.  Ha.

Finally, on a very tangential random note, here’s a photo of my favorite selection from Dolma, the roasted marinated pumpkin with avocado.  Fantastic:

Posted in Far and away, Pretty Pictures, Products to Pilfer | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »