Monday, March 17, 2008

Because Sometimes, You Just Want to Sup Swill from a Skull.

I don't have a lot of skull jokes. Heady puns are easy enough to dig up, though.

At the Cercueil bar in Brussels, my companion and I raised our mugs. The toast was obvious enough: "Skol!" Get it? Sounds like skull! Oh, shit. Not so funny in print.

"Cercueil" means coffin. In this tiny, blacklit dive just off the Grand Place, each table is built on top of one. Funereal flowers hang from the walls. But the scariest thing by far is the beer list... It's short and mostly stacked with Inbev products. BOO!

So the real attraction here is the skull mug, which holds roughly a half-liter of beer. I'm looking for something tasty but not too strong (ahem, working here), so I settle on Rodenbach. Because surely in the Middle Ages, Flemish warriors drank old brown ales from the skulls of their enemies. (I just made that up, kids, but you have my permission to use it in your research papers.)

I gave it another go on the way out. Showing off for the barkeep, I held the skull at arm's length and questioned it: "To be or not to be?" I got him to smile, anyway. I mean the barkeep, not only the skull. I asked in French if it was the first time he ever heard that one. "Ah, yes, of course."


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