Sunday, January 13, 2008

Pub of the Unknown Land

Beer cafes in Brussels tend to be dark and smoky with walls heavily laden with old beer signs or other tacky knick-knacks. Light is scarce, let alone sun-light. Good taste is irrelevant.

Nothing wrong with that. I feel pretty cozy in that kind of joint.

Just the same, it's nice to find something different. Enter Terra Incognita. We were there yesterday, and so was sunlight. Kitschy beer signs and smoke were notably absent. The place had a healthy feel about it. There were even used books. What is this, some kind of brainy, pompous-ass, coffee-sipping, wireless Internet cafe? Where in the hell is the beer?

Not to worry. The cafe has about 30 options in the realm of malted barley beverages. The main attractions for us were two fresh, draft ales from the local Brasserie de la Senne: the Zinnebir and the Taras Boulba. (Or, as my wife calls it, "Terrence Boobila.") Both were bright, bitter and refreshing. Besides being full of hoppy flavor--a surprisingly rare thing in Belgium--their alcohol levels are reasonable. The Zinnebir checks in at 6 percent, and Mr. Boobila at a mere 4.5. Good luck getting snookered on that business, knuckleheads.

About de la Senne: Word on the street is it's building aits own brewery in Brussels. Currently its brewers are making beers under contract at De Ranke (whose excellent Guldenberg and XX Bitter were also on the Incognita list). When it opens, it will be only the second proper, working brewery in Brussels. There used to be dozens, but now there is only Cantillon, so the news about de la Senne is exciting. One of these days I'll see if I can have a sit-down with one of its founders. You'll be the first to know.

Terra Incognita is at 56 Rue de Roumanie in the St. Gilles neighborhood. That means you can walk about 7 minutes from there to Chez Moeder Lambic... and another odd, special place I'll tell you about very soon.

1 comment:

  1. I realize you are talking about a German beer cafe I would love to have a pint in an old English pub. The Beer cafe in Brussels sound inviting except maybe for the smoky aspect. I don't drink out much myself because cigarette smoke really makes me sick and irritates my eyes and throat so much that I can't enjoy a pint or two in cozy, relaxing dimly lighted Pub. I know for some smoking and drinking go together like pennut butter and jelly but not for me.

    Like your blog's name. I named mine Pilgims Pub.