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Brussels, Belgium: Beer city.
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The first beer!I may be currently living in Germany, a country renown around the world for its beer (both in consumption and quantity), but in my humble opinion, no one does it better than the Belgians. Earlier this month, my girlfriend and I had the pleasure of visiting the capital the European Union- Brussels- and, well, lets be frank, we tried a lot of beer.

 

Exported-Blog_bdqr-9653We chose a hostel near Grand Place which was a bit… unassuming… from the outside. No problem, though, it was a short hop from the Grand Place… a breathtaking view and amazing history sprawled out in front of us to take in. It was not long before I decided to take in my first beer- a Chimay Bleu- from one of the little restaurants lining the alleyway. Shortly thereafter, it was to the world-famous Maison Dandoy for some Belgian Waffles. A walk through the town’s winding streets brought us through Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, a French-style arcade from the 19th century.

Look at those amazing beers on tap!The next stop was A la Morte Subite, one of the city’s most famous taverns, for a pint of the house lager along with a Westmalle Trappist Quadruppel. Here, we also had the pleasure of trying a Belgian mixed platter- white cheese, some salami, and garnish onions to give a bit of kick. I won’t lie- aside from the beer, this platter that the Belgians do is my favourite thing around! The cheese, salami and onions combine to really bring out the flavors of the beer you’re drinking.

I did say we tried a lot of beer, right? Up next was Charles Quint, for a glass of their dark lager. My lovely girlfriend decided to go with a mixed selection of beers- a taste of everything, and we paired it with some ‘real’ food- Belgian fries… French fries, but better.

Simply delicious.The next morning, the beer-xlporation (… beer-venturing? beer-scapades? ) continued, albeit starting with another round of Belgian waffles. This time, chocolate/bannana and a mixed fruit w/ sugar were the order of the day at a popular little shop called Mokafe in the aforementioned arcade. Afterwards, we ventured out further into the city, intent on checking out the European Parliment. Unfortunately, due to our insistence to walk (and a small detour at the Taschen store to browse through the new James Bond book), we ended up arriving at 6:05pm, when the doors closed at 6 to the public. No big deal, though, as we walked across the street and joined the legions of Interns that gather every Thursday to let loose. This time, a Leffe was my choice, and delicious it was!

The famous cafe! 2000+ beers available... After making some new friends, and getting the dirt on the latest ongoings in the EU, we made for Belgium’s pride and joy: The Delirium Cafe. Home to over 2000 beers- the largest selection in the world- the Delirium Cafe is a necessary stop for anyone looking to enjoy Belgium’s finest. Unfortunately for me (and, I suppose, for you by way of this blog post), many of the Beers come in plain glasses. While my request for “something I probably have never tried before” somehow resulted in two beers for the price of one, neither was in a marked glass, and I didn’t get their names, thus, there are no photos; you will have to take my word on the fact that they were amazing and delicious.

Mmmmm... Flemish!If there’s one thing that you don’t expect after living in Germany for almost a year, it’s that two beers back-to-back in Belgium really can hit you hard. With them swimming through my mind, the next order of business was to put some food into our stomachs. The bonus, of course, being that we got to try some traditional Flemish fare! For me (along with my Grimbergen- a personal favourite) dinner was Stoofvlees, or Carbonade flamande. Stoofvlees is a traditional Belgian sweet-sour beef and onion stew made with beer and served with fries. The lady friend had Ballekes in tomatensaus- meatballs in tomato sauce,  also served with fries. Both meals were excellent, however I couldn’t help but pick at our friend’s cheese and salami plate again!

Exported-Blog_bdqr-9926The final day it was raining quite heavily, unfortunately. We made our way to a cafe called ‘Or’ (good luck trying to Google THAT one!) where they pride themselves on exceptional coffee. My girlfriend and I, having never tried hand-poured filter coffee before, split two cups of coffee: one made using a V60 (more modern pour-over device), and the other with a standard chemex. The final stop on our journey, before the long ride home, was at a little restaurant for lunch, where I managed to fit in my 7th beer in 3 days: a Duvel. Interesting note: the Duvel glasses have a small D insignia engraved on the bottom of the glass that allows carbonation to condense into bubbles, which maintains a healthy amount of head throughout your glass of beer. Very cool.

Well! That’s it for Belgium- photos below, as always! Up next: Nice/Monaco/Rome/Bologna/Bodrum/Athens/Coast-of-Greece/Istanbul

Stay tuned!

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