Belgium stands for beer

by Kim on November 25, 2013 · 42 comments

Europe by train: day 10. Brussels, Belgium.

Sometime in the past day or two Brian and I both picked up colds. We probably owe it to the Paris metro system. Subways are like the adult version of pre-school from the petri dish perspective.

Still, we’re in Belgium so we couldn’t let a little congestion keep us from a full day of waffle-eating-beer-drinking-fry-consuming.

The beer here is so good. So good! And the pubs are small and cozy, all dark wood and warm colors. Brian found a Guardian article that named the best places to drink beer in Brussels. We visited A La Becasse, Al Imaige Nostre Dame, and Au Bon View Temps. We were not disappointed. These bars are smack dab in the middle of the tourist district but all three of them are hidden down little alleyways. It seems that this bit of camouflage keeps away about 99.5% of tourists. It’s like Harry Potter’s platform 9 3/4 but for beer lovers.

I drank Trappist beers most of the day. My favorite was Chimay. Brian drank the Lambix Doux and the Kasteel Red. We both liked the Trappist Rochefort. Brian lost his mind over the Cossendonk Christmas Ale. To be fair we rarely meet a beer we don’t like.

After our pub crawl we walked into the Grote Markt, Brussel’s main square, to ogle over the Grand Palace and the Town Hall in their lit up glory. After that we headed over to the Manneken Pis, that little peeing boy statue that’s famous because…?

It was the sort of day that beer fanatics dream about. Tomorrow we plan to do more of the same.

Belgian waffles

A La Becasse Belgium

A La Becasse Belgium

Chimay beer Belgium

Al Imaige Nostre Dame

 

Alley leading to Au Bon View Temps

 

Au Bon View Temps

 

Brian with Frappist Rochefort beer

 

Grote Markt at night

 

Manneken Pis

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Montecristo Travels (Sonja) November 25, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Did you know the Manneken Pis has a HUGE museum of his outfits from ALL over the world?! Yep – its totally awesome. About 900 outfits. Dignitaries from all over bring this little naked boy clothes. During big events, The Belgians adorn him with luxurious clothes. In the 18th century, Manneken-Pis was dressed at least 4 times a year.

As to why he is famous:
First just a cheeky fountain that played an essential role in the distribution of drinking water (15th century) one of the first of its kind in all of Europe. Since he lost his main function as a part of the water distribution system, Manneken-Pis gradually became an image and symbol of Brussels folklore, the joy of the inhabitants and their capacity of self-mockery. The statue became a true symbol – whern it was the sole survivor of the bombardment of Brussels in 1695.

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Montecristo Travels (Sonja) November 25, 2013 at 1:34 pm

PS – I am half Belgian with family in Brussels (on my Mom’s side)… and HELLOOOO? Where is your chocolate adventure? and do try a waffle with just the sugar … all the extra stuff is just for tourists. It’s deliscious on its own. Trust me. :)

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Kim November 26, 2013 at 12:38 am

I’ve been eating chocolate too, don’t you worry. I’ll try the waffle with sugar. That extra stuff has to be for tourists because if Belgians ate them every day they’d all weight 300 pounds!

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Kim November 26, 2013 at 12:38 am

Ha, no I didn’t know that! That is so funny and so strange!!! Pretty impressive that is survived the bombing in 1695. Thanks for teaching me something!

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Montecristo Travels (Sonja) November 26, 2013 at 8:50 am

Anytime! :) have you had the Mussels and fries with a beer combo yet? It’s pure Brussels. Don’t go to Leon (it has been commercialized) but do try the fish restaurant street (Rue des Bouchers) and go for it! Mussels cooked in beer … that’s the way to go. (Assuming you like mussels)

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Kim November 27, 2013 at 12:47 am

Well, I don’t eat seafood. But I did actually just have vegetarian fish and chips and they were amazing!!! I’ve been so impressed with the food in Belgium.

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Montecristo Travels (Sonja) November 27, 2013 at 8:11 am

A lot of things people think are French are actually … Belgian. Glad you are having a great time in my “old country” … well one of them – I am also half Ukrainian. :)

You going to Bruges?
It’s like a fairy-tale there …

Jan Boeykens January 13, 2014 at 8:28 am

Did you know there is an interesting discussion which city in belgium has the eldest Mannaken Pis. According to some, the eldest one is not the one from Brussels but is in Geraardersbergen.

For some more explanation, see http://www.historvista.com/historvista/tl3/view0004164.php4 and http://www.historvista.com/historvista/tl3/view0004235.php4

In belgium there are pubs where you can choose from more than 100 beers…. most of them are great (of course depending on your taste)

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Kim January 13, 2014 at 6:02 pm

I did not know that! Very interesting.

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Amy November 25, 2013 at 1:36 pm

I spy a Kwak!

I’m sure Belgium has lots of culture and other redeeming qualities, but all I experienced there during our weekend there on our trip was beer, chocolate, waffles, frites, and more beer. So in other words, it is a fantastic place. By the end of the weekend, I was curled up in a ball on the train muttering “overindulgence in food and drink, overindulgence in food and drink,” which is the tagline from the Pepto Bismal box I wanted to buy at Target before we left that my husband deemed to be “unnecessary” and “too heavy.”

Cheers to another day of overindulgence! : )
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Kim November 26, 2013 at 12:39 am

Yes you do :)

Oh my gosh, I hear you. We have overindulged SO much. It’s gross. Fun but gross.

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Rhonda November 25, 2013 at 1:39 pm

I regularly dream of Chimay. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
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Kim November 26, 2013 at 12:39 am

So good.

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Jalan2Liburan November 25, 2013 at 2:16 pm

come and visit Antwerpen, u will love it even more :-)
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Kim November 26, 2013 at 12:40 am

I wish we could go everywhere!

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Quyen November 25, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Beer is the cure for the common cold, right? :)
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Kim November 26, 2013 at 12:40 am

I think it is because this morning I feel much better :)

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Tracy November 25, 2013 at 2:59 pm

That picture inside the pub with the stairs reminds me of the St Johns Pub!

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Kim November 26, 2013 at 12:41 am

Yes, warm and a little goofy just like the St. Johns pub.

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Patti November 25, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Yep, why I want to return to Europe next year!
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Kim November 26, 2013 at 12:41 am

No reason not too. Make sure Belgium is on your list!

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Emily November 25, 2013 at 8:05 pm

I love Brussels. Your post makes me want to go back and visit it sooner than later!
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Kim November 26, 2013 at 12:42 am

It’s a great city. I really didn’t know what to expect but it’s really exceeded what I was hoping for.

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Maddie November 26, 2013 at 7:28 am

Kim I haven’t stopped thinking about that delicious waffle since you posted its photo! Belgium has been on my possible travel list for ages but your descriptions and photos have definitely pushed it up the list. I love the look of those pubs and the architecture everywhere looks beautiful. Combine this with beer and chocolate and what’s not to love?!
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Kim November 27, 2013 at 12:46 am

You guys should come. You’re so lucky to live in Europe where you can just pop here and there for the weekend.

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Erik Wallace November 26, 2013 at 7:29 am

I can’t fathom a more beautiful place to enjoy a beer. Gorgeous. Please enjoy a beer for me, preferrably a lambic since that has become a tradition at my family’s Thanksgiving.

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Kim November 27, 2013 at 12:46 am

Brian says he will make sure to drink a Lambic for you.

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Lance | Trips By Lance November 26, 2013 at 11:32 am

Yes, I love Belgium beers. I definitely need to have them in Belgium. Many of those beers we can get in the States, but there is just something about having a Chimay in Belgium. Yum.
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Kim November 27, 2013 at 12:49 am

I had no idea you can get Chimay in the states! (I mostly stick to IPAs in the U.S.) I have to believe Chimay is better in Belgium :) But I’ll try it next time in the U.S. to compare.

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Steve Whitty November 26, 2013 at 1:29 pm

It’s been a long time since I was in Brussels. The beer is the only reason I would want to go back.
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Kim November 27, 2013 at 12:49 am

It’s a beautiful city! But the beer is the selling point.

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Jaime Taylor November 26, 2013 at 6:13 pm

This sounds like a wonderful day in Brussels and really brings back memories for me. My first trip to Europe was spring break of my senior year at UGA way back in 2001. Most people go to tropical locations for spring break, we chose Belgium so we could try all of the delicious beer. Good times.

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Kim November 27, 2013 at 12:51 am

I think that sounds like an excellent spring break trip. Better than the beach (in my opinion!)

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Hannah November 29, 2013 at 1:30 am

Oh man, I am totally dreaming of a weekend trip to Brussels now. You had me sold with that first photo of you with the waffle! Really gorgeous photos my dear, and I love the one at the end of you and Brian in your scarves :)
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Kim November 30, 2013 at 12:39 am

YES, you guys should totally add it to your weekend trip list. It’s so fun! Brussels reminded me a lot of Portland actually.

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TammyOnTheMove November 30, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Belgian beer is great, but sooo strong. I can only usually drink one or two glasses and then I am gone. :-)
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Kim December 1, 2013 at 10:53 am

So strong! I agree, after two they really go to your head.

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Holly December 10, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Bruges was where Mark told me to tell you to go for beer- but I forgot. So glad you made it anyway! There’s a new Belgium bar in Portland on Hawthorne. Maybe you made it there last time you were here, it is worth checking out.

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Kim December 12, 2013 at 2:23 am

Ha, we made it and we definitely found the beer! Fun about the new Belgium bar on Hawthorne. We will definitely check it out the next time we are in PDX.

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Gillian May 24, 2014 at 11:07 am

I’ve been sitting on this post…waiting for when we will finally be in Brussels and I can use all the great recommendations. Tuesday we get to Brussels and I have bookmarked all the fabulous pubs you mentioned. Can’t wait!!
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Kim May 25, 2014 at 5:56 am

YESSSS!!!! I can’t wait to hear what you think. Wish we were there having a beer with you and Jason.

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Kim November 28, 2013 at 12:24 am

Just got to Bruges. It is the perfect European town.

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