The owner's name is Sam Sarmad, and he knows how to open in style: free beer on tap. And just look at those happy families, drinking Senne's Jambe de Bois and two from Binchoise, including the Belgoo Saisonneke.
Now, let's stop and notice that last beer together: a new Wallonian saison at 4.4% alcohol by volume. Haven't tasted it yet, but it does speak my language. If you're keeping score, yes, Belgoo's Jo Van Aert is still brewing at Binchoise in Binche, home to that crazy carnival in Binche where the guys put on those creepy masks. A nice label too, which someone at ZBF was nice to snap here. That's a beer I'll be hunting this summer.
Back to the shop. The prices are a bit higher than what one would pay from a drinks market like SBS or BVS, but that is to be expected from a bottle shop. We will see if the locals take to the idea. Certainly that is Sarmad's hope.
"The purpose of the store is to offer Belgian and foreign craft beers not available in supermarkets and other shops in Brussels," Sarmad told me in an email. "Even though tourists are welcome, I wanted a beer shop for people living in Brussels and offer them an assortment of beers they don't know, while trying to keep affordable prices. After the recent hoppy/IPA revolution in Belgium, I also wanted to offer to the 'beer geeks' some Belgian and foreign craft beers, very difficult to find in Brussels."
Incidentally, the Malting Pot will be closed from July 22 to August 6. Plan accordingly.
Other news: Last week I updated an earlier post about The Festival, the one organized by the Shelton Brothers in Worcester, Massachusetts. In case you missed it: The ticket prices have dropped to $60 per session. A weekend pass for all three sessions is $160. It's not cheap but it's also not out of whack with a lot of U.S. beer festivals these days (a topic for another day, I think). And if you're into some of the world's most interesting beers and meeting the people who make them, then it will likely be worth every penny.
If you are one of those folks getting irked by expensive craft beers and festivals in the States these days -- and who isn't? -- then I have some simple advice for you. Stop buying whales and instead subsist on that local pale ale you've always liked but always ignore. Save those duckets, buy a plane ticket, and go to where the beer is cheap. Make a trip your whale instead.