Monday, September 21, 2009

New 'Hoppy Loft' Opens at Delirium.

I know people who refuse to go to Delirium because it's too crowded and/or young and/or smoky and/or touristy. Or because it's just plain evil, pushing sugary candy fruit beers on kids who don't know any better, rather than using that incredible cellar as a force for good. Certainly Delirium can be all of those things at once—crowded, young, smoky, touristy and fruity—making it a nearly unbearable place for grown-ups to spend an evening.

Then there are other moments at Delirium. Quieter ones, with cleaner air, fit for drinking something interesting with your conversation. And, increasingly, thankfully, there are more nooks and crannies in which to find those moments.

So, the Hoppy Loft opened two weeks ago. If you're keeping track, the Loft is upstairs from the ground floor Taphouse, which is upstairs from the main Delirium bar and its theoretical 2,000+ beers. As you walk in the front, a set of curvy blue metal stairs leads up to a trap door that opens at 6 p.m. Up there we found a whole space full of quiet tables. The alco-pop kids apparently haven't found it yet.

The Loft's beer selection mainly showcases four American craft breweries: Anchor, Flying Dog, Great Divide and Left Hand. This is actually cutting-edge here, since it remains nearly impossible to find non-Belgian beers in Belgium. Most of the bottles from those breweries are available, plus another 100 or so mostly well-chosen Belgian bottles.

The Loft just might possibly be aimed at pleasing the cranky minority of grown-ups (ahem) who drink better beer and bitch about the rest of the place being unbearable. In the café's August newsletter, translated into English, owner Joël Pécheur notes that a lot of people come to Delirium in big groups to party. Meanwhile, he says, "I have always wanted to create a place where people with an interest for more complexe [sic] tastes could try different products in a relaxing atmosphere with people who share the same interest..."

Hear that? Relaxing atmosphere. I support that.

For the record, the Loft was blissfully quiet a few days ago. Nice place to sip an IPA and chat with the barman—who complained that he was bored because the place was too quiet. No doubt a few drunken backpacker girls drinking strawberry alco-pops would have livened up the place. Guess you can't please everyone.

Worth noting: Six of the Loft's taps were devoted to hoppy American beers. The other four? Floris Passion, Floris Strawberry, and so on. Ah well. It's still a Huyghe-tied bar after all. Better get there soon, before the children find it.


  1. Greetz Joe,

    I'm just looking at the newest newsletter from the Delirium café and it says that they added three new beers to their tap-beer selection (Bella Mere from Millevertus, Hop-it from Urthel, Sčaašmutske's Dry Hopped Lager).
    Now, does that mean that they actually added three new taps or did they just change/replace three beers on the exsting taps (if this is the case, I hope that they changed/replaced the alco-pops).


  2. It's worth investigating to find out. That Dry-Hopped Lager is lovely.