Mrs Beer Nut and I arrived in Brussels late last Friday evening. The rest of the group who had come from Dublin (Dave, Laura and Séan) were waiting for food in one of Petite Rue des Bouchers' slower establishments, but Séan said they'd catch up with us in "the puppet bar" in due course. So Toone it was -- one of my favourites among the pubs of Rue du Marché aux Herbes.
Everyone in the theatre-cum-pub was drinking Kwak when we went in. I noticed, for the first time, free-standing Kwak glasses. I really don't approve of that sort of thing. The ancient wall-mounted beer engine on which they hang their towels gave us something else to look at while we waited to catch the waitress's eye. I wonder when it last had any beer through it?
I was in lambic mode myself, since we were over to visit Cantillon the following day, and Dave had been asking me about peach lambics earlier in the week. Never having had it I opted for St Louis Pêche from the menu. It pretty much went where I expected it: very sweet, very peachy and extremely easy to drink. It didn't last long.
Herself, meanwhile, was drinking a Gouden Carolus ("Would you like to be in the picture with your beer? ... No that's not what I meant"). It's remarkably ungolden and gives off some strong weissbier-ish banana aromas from the big fluffy weissbier-ish head. The body is packed full of big, sweet, chewy toffee notes. Very nice.
By the time the others arrived in, I had moved on to Vieux Temps. Pretty nondescript, this dark amber ale. A nice malty weight to it; a hint of smoke on the flavour, but not a whole lot else.
Last beer of the night was a return to an old favourite. Or at least I thought it was. I have very fond memories of the Easter of 2004, sitting in a dim canalside café in Bruges, drinking Lindemans Faro -- a lambic sweetened with plain old sugar instead of fancy fruit juice. As an unabashed fan of sweet beers, it was right up my street and I think I had a couple that day. Five years later, it was time for another. And I was shocked. For a start, I've no memory of it being brown, but it is. Also, my memory of that afternoon does not include the burning taste of sick, but this beer does. The sugar is there, and so is the sour lambic, but the two just do not sit well together at all one little bit. But the glass is nice. I like the glass.
On that slightly bum note we all turned in for the evening. We had a date the following morning down in Anderlecht to witness the birth of new lambic. Procedures were scheduled to commence at 6.30am, and we all tried very hard not to think about the fact that this meant 5.30 Irish time.
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