It really is a beer weekend in Brussels, and then I don’t (just) mean the massive event on the Grand Place. Brussels Beer Project opened their brewery one year ago, and they’ll be celebrating this with a brand new beer festival: Good Beer Feast! They’ve invited thirteen breweries from all over Europe, each pouring four different beers. Including four of their own beers, that means 56 different beers will be available on the Vismet this Saturday. That’s not a lot compared to the hundreds of beers served on the Grand Place, but in our opinion, it will be a much more interesting selection!
Usually we know or discover a venue first, and then visit it to find out which beers — and possibly food — they’re serving in that venue. In the case of Contrebande however, it was a Facebook post by brewery L’Ermitage about one of their beers being used in a dish, that put us on the trail of this new bar in Ixelles. It’s a lovely new place, and as we expected, the beer list was rather interesting. So interesting in fact, we initially overlooked one little but important detail: Contrebande is a bar without beer taps…
UPDATE: Closed permanently…
For years, Monk has been a reference point in the nightlife of Brussels centre, especially for the Dutch speaking community of the city. Live music, great beers and booze, plenty of space and a huge bar counter. In 2012, it all ended, and for a year, the curtains were closed. It did reopen eventually, however, and with new owners and a slightly tweaked concept — adding spaghetti to the mix — the bar managed to lure many of the old customers back, and a lot of new ones as well.
La Porte Noire — or The Black Door, as it is sometimes called by English speakers — has been one of my favourite places for years: a great selection of beers and single malt whiskies, slightly quirky and completely isolated from the outside world. The quirkiness and isolation are mostly due to the fact that this bar is located in the vaulted cellars of a 16th century convent, topped off with some Celticness and fantasy.
As much as we love to spend an evening in a restaurant or bar, cracking open a bottle at home or somewhere else with friends can be at least just as nice. Supermarket beers — even though the offer has improved over the last couple of years — just won’t do for those occasions, of course, but luckily there are shops like Malt Attacks. You won’t be able to have a drink there unfortunately — barring special events — but you’ll surely find the ideal beer to enjoy at home!
Scott’s Bar is a place we’ve been visiting every once and again for a while now. They have a nice beer selection, it’s quite nearby for us, it’s often open when other places are closed already, and when it’s sunny, the terrace is great – if you’re not bothered too much by this typical example of Brussels facadism!
Not too long ago, they installed an open kitchen next to the entrance and expanded the menu, so it was about time for us to try some food there as well.
Apart from carbonnades flamandes and stoemp, there are few dishes as Belgian as meatballs in tomato sauce. At the recently opened BALLEKES restaurant they do meatballs very well, but not just with tomato sauce! Other options you’ll have to try, are a cherry sauce, a mushroom sauce, a sauce with sirop de Liège, a trappist beer and chicon sauce, and a regularly changing special.
Dynamo – Bar de Soif is one of the more recent additions to the Saint-Gilles beer scene, but oh, what a welcome one! Bravely, they specialise in English beers, mostly from young breweries in London, where the owners of Dynamo seem to be well connected. So don’t expect the lukewarm, flat ‘real ales’ often served in the more old fashioned English pubs, but rather the fresh, tasty beers from the newest generation of brewers!
Food places keep popping up in Brussels all the time, introducing cuisines from all over the world. We’ve seen Mexican or Tex-Mex on some restaurants before, but so far, they haven’t been able to impress us. Cali-Mex, or Californian Mexican however, was new to us, and I believe to Brussels.
After having tried this Cali-Mex food for the first time at CHEZWaWa, we’d say: welcome, and bring on the giant burritos, the soft tacos, and the hot salsa!