Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cheers: A Weekend in Brussels

When I was a young thirsty student, I drank a lot of beer. It was cheap, it was plentiful and it had the desired effects. Later, as I moved into my postgraduate years, those years of faux-sophistication, I decided that I should become better acquainted with beers. Dutifully, I drank my way though Schneider-Weisse, Warsteiner, Krombacher, Bitburger & Paulaner, to name just a few. The more I drank, the more I came to the realisation that I didn't really seem to like beer.

In a way, this realisation set me free of the obligatory student beer obsession, and I embraced wine, spirits and particularly G&Ts with gusto. I also came to realise that I didn't dislike all beers, I still had quite a liking for stout (Murphy's if you ask!). As a rule of thumb, I don't like overly-gassy beers, or very hoppy beers. In general light flat beers are much more to my liking.

However, despite all this, I remain a sporadic beer drinker. I much prefer to enjoy an occasional, but tasty beer, rather than drink it on a more frequent basis. I recently spent a weekend in Brussels, home to the Delirium Cafe, which many would regard as a true temple to all things beer. In fact, Delirium currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most beers available to purchase (2000+). It's a fantastic spot, with different themed venues, all located in a cosy complex centred on Impasse de la Fidelite.

The memorabilia-covered walls in Delirium
So what did I enjoy on a recent trip to Delirium? Well, I started with one of my perennial favourites, Lindemans Kriek. This is an unsweetened cherry lambic beer. It has the classic sour taste of a lambic, but the use of cherries makes for a sweet, richly flavoured beer, which comes in at 4% ABV. (I also love the Art Deco label and glasses).

Lindemans Kriek
We also tried Floris Cactus beer, which had the most remarkable green colour, due to the presence of cactus pulp. Colour aside, it was a light, refreshing beer with a limey taste. 

Floris Cactus beer, on tap
I continued with Floris, this time trying a bottle of Floris Chocolat (surely this would combine two of the best Belgian products, beer and chocolate). At 4.2% ABV, it's a light lambic beer, but maybe a tad too sweet or cloying for my liking. There is a profound chocolate flavour with other tones of honey or sweetness. Looking around the bar, this particular beer has a clear novelty factor, with many females choosing to try it out.

Floris Chocolat
I decided to try another tap beer, this time choosing an unknown name (to me at least), Gueuze Tilquin. I received a small glass of an attractive golden cloudy beer with a nice light head. It turns out that Gueuzerie Tilquin is the first new lambic brewery to open in 15 years. It's a dry, sour beer (somewhat reminiscent of a really tart cider). It's garnering praise as a lambic, but to be honest, it was a bit too mouth-puckering for me.

Gueuze Tilquin
My last beer of the evening was a bit of an indulgent sweetness - perhaps the equivalent of a dessert wine. I went for the colourful yellow bottle of Mongozo Banana beer, 4.5% ABV. (If you order the coconut version, you can drink it from a coconut shell). It's quite yellow in colour, and smells strongly of bananas. However, it tastes somewhat better than it smells, but to honest, it's the novelty factor that makes this beer a popular choice with tourists.

Mongozo Banana

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