A bit later than we were used to, but it’s almost time for the fifth edition of the biggest and best craft beer festival of Brussels: BXLBeerFest! On the 30th of September and the 1st of October in Tour & Taxis, you get once again the opportunity to try more than 400 beers—and some meads and ciders—from 60 smaller, artisanal breweries from Belgium, Europe and beyond. From a clean glass, of course!
Surprises can be right around the corner, and sometimes quite literally, as was the case for Knees to Chin. We must have passed their Brussels center restaurant dozens of times, without thinking it would actually be a candidate for our blog. Then all of a sudden, we noticed people drinking some Dutch craft beer here! One might expect beers from a microbrewery like De Kromme Haring in a specialised bar—we actually attended a meet-the-brewer and tap takeover with these guys at GIST a while back—but not quite in a Vietnamese street food restaurant. Of course, now we had to check the place out!
After many months of anticipation, the pieces of the administrative puzzle fell into place, and Mazette could finally open its doors and beer taps. Mind you, having a brew kettle, a kitchen, a huge wood-fired oven, and a comfortable space for the customers, all in one open space, was never going to be simple. But since the fire department gave its final go-ahead a little over a month ago, we’re able to enjoy all the products this utterly loveable cooperative brewpub in the Marolles has to offer: freshly brewed beers, straight from the tank, homemade sourdough bread baked in the aforementioned oven, and seasonal food.
The opening of Brasserie Surréaliste taproom is one we’ve been waiting for for a long time. The most obvious reason is that it’s right in our neighbourhood, only a couple of minutes’ walk away. It certainly helps they brew cracking beers, though, right there on the premises, below your feet when you’re standing at the bar. The fact that they managed to convert a space that has been neglected for way too long into something so beautiful, is just the icing on the cake. And starting today, it’s open for everyone to enjoy!
Update: Out of business…
Whenever I pass Bobbi Bao, I can’t help but think of the Blues Brothers‘ rendition of the song Rubber Biscuit, which includes the words “Bow bow bow” at some point… However, there’s nothing rubbery about the soft Chinese steamed buns served there, and the tasty filling make you quickly forget the sad lunches described in the song.
What lured us in—apart from the prospect of pulled pork and fried chicken—was the fact this restaurant had their own brewery!
It was the worst of times, but probably also the best of times, to open Zenne Bar. The worst of times, since we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, which is a hard time for anyone in the hospitality industry. But it was also the best of times to open such a place, because a spacious terrace in an area with hardly any car traffic, is ideal in these times of social distancing. Add to that a fresh selection of Brasserie de la Senne‘s beers on draught, food by Fermenthings, and you’ve created the perfect—and safe—place to spend a couple of hours away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
It is a sad year for beer festivals, since about all of them have been cancelled. However, that doesn’t mean there is nothing to do for beer lovers!
During the very first edition of the Belgium Beer Week—from 24 till 30 August 2020—you’ll get the opportunity to enjoy a large number of small beer events all over the city, in venues you’ll probably already know and love. Check out which tap takeovers, tastings, tours, workshops and other Belgium Beer Week events you can expect in Brussels next week!
Nothing about Bélier Bar exactly screams craft beer bar: the modest number of six, unbranded taps could be pouring anything, and the amount of spirits on the shelves behind the bar, would rather give you the impression this is a cocktail bar. They do cocktails indeed, but once you discover the beer list, you’ll immediately see that those are not their only strength!
Family Brews opened just a little over a year ago in the Rue des Harengs, just off the Grand Place. In such a central location, you might expect just another tourist trap, but nothing could be further from the truth! For prices comparable to the ones you’ll pay for an uninteresting industrial beer in nearby bars, here you can enjoy some local brews instead. Don’t get hung up on specific breweries or beers, just let the staff surprise you with something they think you’ll like!
Belgians love eating pizzas at least as much as any nation, but most of the time they go for—not always successful—copies of the Italian originals. Otomat decided to take another direction, and now creates decidedly un-Italian, but nevertheless very tasty pizzas. Besides that, they’ve given beer a central role: Duvel yeast as an ingredient for the dough, and plenty of beers to pair the pizza with, even some local ones!