Out of the Northwest: Less Than 24 Hours: Brussels, Belgium

image sourced from ermd2000's Flickr page For most online writers, be they ‘bloggers’ or genuine free-lance journalists, money is always an issue in regards to livelyhood. Fact is there aren’t many opportunities for the majority out there to make any money off online writing. Instead we often spend our days working a day / night job, sometimes completely unrelated.

In my case this usually means traveling throughout the planet performing duties completely unrelated to beer. But as a welcome side-effect I do get to visit pubs and sample local beers as a way to see what life is like outside the Northwest. To date I have been to Germany, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Switzerland, and Slovenia; all the while enjoy local and domestic beers.

Back in 2008, when the economy was limping towards recovery, I acquired a new stream of revenue working in the telecom business. I won’t get into specifics other than to say the job description called for traveling all over the world whiles checking out mobile phone calling stability.

With my first job site finished and returning home I was asked to make a trip to Frankfurt, Germany; with stops in Brussels (Belgium) and Salzburg (Austria). Clearly I couldn’t help but ponder places to go (presuming I had time) while in these three countries. In the end I chose Brussels as my definite must investigate location.

It’s important to note (regarding language barriers) Brussels is endowed with many English-speaking citizens. This happy side-effect is due to the city’s designation as the capitol of the European Union. So should you find yourself lost, it won’t take long get someone’s attention.

So I asked around for suggestions as I had less than a day there. In the end I settled on Delirium Cafe situated off Impasse de la Fidélité 4A 1000 City of Brussels, Belgium.

If the name sounds familiar its more than likely for their iconic pink elephant mascot or maybe their recognition by the Guinness Book of World Records for the most beers available (over 2000) at any cafe in the world. To put that in perspective Seattle’s Brouwer’s Cafe carries over 300! So one shouldn’t have an issue finding their favorite beer style should you make the trip.

image sourced from WhiteBuffalo's Flickr pageOn arrival I took notice of the downtown area before the long walk to alleyway where the cafe was located. To the uninitiated Cafe Delirium is in fact two cafes with one location in the basement and the other at street level. Seemingly appearing empty I eschewed my visit to the street level location in favor of the basement.

From the beginning as you enter the dimly-lit room your olfactory senses are slapped by a pungent waft of cigarettes. As you turn your head to take a better appraisal of the space one cannot help notice the server trays nailed to the ceiling, along with an indeterminate amount of international currencies affixed as well. This only serves to make the space more inviting and evoke reminiscing of times spent in saloons and taverns back home.

Seating as might expect varies according to the time of day and day itself. During my visit there was adequate space at the bar and even a couple of tables free throughout the room.

Architectural layout not withstanding I came to check out the beer and wasn’t disappointed as I saw several versions of the Cafe’s namesake (Delirium) featured on draft along with guest beers including Floris (Kriek, Fraise, Passion, and Pomme), and Duchesse De Bourgogne. Despite this impressive selection I asked for a copy of the menu and was amazed when the bartender produced a binder that had to be at least 3 or 4 inches THICK!

image sourced from Brewery Les 3 Fourquets' websiteFeatured within was a veritable catalog of international beers with everything from the common German, French, Italian, Belgium, English, Irish, but also imports from the United States, Canada, Mexico, and beyond! In the end I started with a bottle of Lupulis Ardennes Tripple Beer along with a cheese and fruit plate.

Brewery Description

Lupulus is a blonde ale with an alcohol proof of 8,5 %, refermented in champagne bottles and in casks. The choice not to filter the beer, as well as not to pasteurize it ensures its taste and aromatic quality.

The use of hops in considerable quantities, in the cauldron as well as in full fermentation, gives this liquid gold a freshness and an incomparable bouquet. Store this beer, as it ought to be, next to your beloved Grand-Cru and serve at a temperature between 8 and 12°C (46,4 and 53,6°F). You'll be delighted !

Given it’s price point of 10 Euros or roughly $14 I have to admit I was pretty impressed considering what I received. With

With a few hours to go I concluded my experience (of Delirium Cafe) with a draft of Delirium Nocturnum (a Belgian Dark Ale) before paying the bill.

Brewery Description

Very dense in taste, opposite in character to it's blonde counterpart. Reflecting a harder character while being full- flavoured and fatally doesn't seem to gather the same admirers as the more traditional Tremens. It is both strong in taste, with a bark-like, hoppy bitterness, as well as it's alcoholic savour. The final evaluation does not arrive until the end of the tasting, with a good prolongation of it's bitterness. Warm and velvety, this beer generally pleases the real connaisseur,but will not deceive the curious in search of beers full of character.

Finally taking another glance at my watch I realized I had an hour to make my train back to Frankfurt. Paying my bill and thanking the bartender for the occasional moment of conversation, I walked up the stairs to daylight and thoughts when I would return back to this wonderful place.

Overall I would classify my visit as bittersweet as I know I could have spent weeks reviewing and trying the various beers listed in the bottle catalog. However I can say that with strong certainty that Delirium Cafe is a MUST VISIT location, should you find yourself in Brussels with less than 12 hours to kill.

Delirium Cafe +32/2.514.44.34 info@deliriumcafe.be
Impasse de la Fidélité, 4A - 1000 Brussels, Belgium

About Delirium Cafe

In our 18th century basement, in the heart of the "Free town": the "Ilot Sacré", and only a 100 meters away from the "Grande Place" you'll find the "Delirium Café".

A decoration full of old enamelled ad-panels, posters from the past time and colourful light-ads will duck you behind a world of beers and Gins.

De big wooden barrels invite you to taste our different drinks: Belgian and foreign beers, on bottle or of the barrel. Old gins, fruit gins or even with chocolate taste. There is also a wide choice of whisky's, vodka's, tequila's etc..., enough to let you dream of pink elephants and bring you into the pleasant, gentle flush of the "Delirium Café".

About Les 3 Fourquets

Initially (in 2004) we started to provide the nearby pub our malted beers in casks. The brewery “Les 3 Fourquets” decided in 2007 to create a new beer in champagne bottles as well as in casks.

The desire of the brewers was to come up with a novel beer, and to brew it following authentic beer brewing traditions, while providing a new and unique palette of bouquet and taste, in a modern brewing installation.
The exceptional scope in which the brewery deploys its craftmanship gives a rich inspiration to the brewer of this beer.

The brewery was established in the bowels of a great 18th century farmstead, and is part of the Belgian Ardenne's inheritance, located in a jewelry box full of greens, next to a brook with pure and fresh water.

At one time wolves occupied these calm places in the wonderful Ardennes. It's been told that these wolf packs came from Slovenia, the region where the best hops in the world originally were harvested.

True or not, what ever it might be, a new beer has been born : LUPULUS

By the way, the Latin name of hop is "HUMULUS LUPULUS" which also means, literally
translated, “SMALL HUMBLE WOLF” .

Cheers

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