Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Highlight #12: Best of the Browns.

Q: What's better than a shiny, modern, specialist beer café with hundreds of great bottles and taps from which to choose?

A: An utterly brown one, with a small handful of great beers.

I'd like you to meet the Brumaire. This is a real neighborhood brown café in Saint-Gilles, a corner bar that looks like so many others, with Stella Artois signage and smoky regulars sitting out front, holding court. Once inside you have the requisite gaming machine and little bags of potato chips or sausage bites. Inexplicably for such a small place, there are stage lights and a disco ball.

I counted 37 beers on the wall-mounted list, made from those slats and little plastic letters like you used to see in hospitals and elementary schools. To my shame, I took no photo of this. But among the usuals were Jambe de Bois, Witkap Stimulo, Hommelbier, and a few Trappists than included Orval, Rochefort 10, Westmalle Tripel, and Chimays blue and white, the latter being on draft.

Plus Saison Dupont.

Translations are imperfect, but maybe this is like an American hole-in-the-wall dive that happens to have Sierra Nevada on draft, or a British "community pub" that happens to have well-kept Taylor's Landlord. A jewel.

So there I was in the middle of a long foot-trek from central Brussels to Moeder Lambic St-Gilles -- which is just a couple of blocks away -- drinking a Saison Dupont in one of the brownest cafés in Brussels, which automatically puts it in the running for brownest worldwide. Nibbling on those awful, wonderful little sausage bites. Trying to figure out where they boogie when the disco ball goes into effect.

So for me, that's a highlight. More to come. Here's an explanation if you're wondering what I'm up to.

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