Disclaimer: Well, I know it is World Whisky Day! But this post is not to commemorate that, rest assured. It was long due.
I am not a teetotaller but not a tippler even. My research about Belgium indeed told me that Belgian chocolates are the best, but I came to know about Beers and Wines of Belgium, only once I landed there. SO, once I was there, that aspect was duly explored. And, it turned out to be very interesting indeed.
Well, Belgian is well-known for it Beers world-over. Its said that Belgium has been churning out beer since the crusades. Capital Brussels is proudly included in one of the top beer cities in the world. It is considered also as the capital of Belgian beer culture. There are countryside monasteries that brew monk-made Trappist ales. Cantillon Brewery is said to be producing its traditional beer since 1900 and still uses the much of its original equipments.
Our second experience of the taste was at Belga Queen restaurant in Ghent, one of the most famous restaurants in the city.
Ghent has another story for us and this one was very interesting. In the historical centre of Ghent at a short distance from the famous cannon is this bar. Both the bar and the cannon, share the same name- ‘de Dulle Griet’. Well, everything about this bar is magnificent- the interiors, people and the large collection of beers and a many legends attached to it. But what interested us most was one of its commandments – Drink Max, Shoe off! This one is for the house beer- Max. It is served in 1.2 litre test tube shaped glass held in a wooden rack. Seems exactly as if you are in your chemistry lab. Now the cliche- this test tube glass and wooden rack combo is so expensive that the waiter will ask you for a show as deposit. These shoes are put in a basket and wished to the ceiling. You get your shoe back only once you finish the drink and return the glass. This glass is called as coachman’s glass.
But it was in Antwerp, where we were exposed to the real variety of the Belgian beers and wines. First in this bar-
Soon after, we went to a store where we could find a beer brewed out of every fruit, we could have imagined. That was an eye-opener-
Stories kept unfolding, as we kept moving. This one was just before the lunchtime, and it was big cellar as well as bar and restaurant. A truly amazing place-
Last but not the least- a bar holding a Guinness World Record in Brussels, in the last leg of our journey. This Delirium cafe in Brussels in January 2004 had 2004 different brands of beers commercially available.It had beers from 60 countries available here. Amazing, isn’t it. See, how this bar looks from inside-
Belgium is said to be world’s smallest wine producer among countries with officially recognised and designated wine regions. But it produces very high class wines. Who won’t love when the bar itself is in shape of a champagne glass. Isn’t it!!
P.S. World Whisky Day was founded in 2012 and is celebrated on third Saturday of May every year.