Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Beers in Brussels, lunch in Lille

At Moeder Lambic Fontainas, Brussels
I had never been to Brussels, so I though leaving Amsterdam last year that it would be a good opportunity to try out some Belgian beers, and what the European wave of the 'craft beer revolution' looked like in a country with so much beer tradition.

A quick online search later and I was walking around the old centre of the city, resolutely headed for Moeder Lambic's 2nd branch on Place Fontainas - apparently the best place for great beers in Brussels, both new and traditional. I was lucky the day was nice enough to sit on the terrace and start the afternoon with a Zona Cesarini, a fantastic IPA from Toccalmatto brewery in Italy. I had heard great things about this brewery and hadn't the chance of trying one before. I thought the little sample of malt next served along the beer was a nice touch.

Looking at their menu and getting excited about the variety of beers on offer, I devised a cunning plan: stay there all afternoon with my laptop and write (while trying out some new beers)!

I tried several old and new Belgian breweries, and my favourite turned out to be Brasserie de la Senne - if you come across any of their beers, I highly recommend them. They are fairly recent and mix Belgian traditional brewing with other influences, including from the American 'craft beer revolution'. Being in Brussels and the Gueuze / Lambic (spontaneously fermented beers, usually pretty sour) being like holy for the area, I was tempted to try one again, but my palate is definitely not getting used to the sour beers just yet.

La Grand Place, Brussels
Following a productive afternoon writing, I wandered to an institution like brasserie to have mussels and fries for dinner - stereotypical, but there are some things you just have to eat when you're a tourist! The Grand Place looked like a thing from a fairy tale at night, a nice place for a leisurely digestive walk after dinner.

La Grand Place, Lille

After the Grand Place of Brussels, I was on the Grand Place of Lille the following morning. It is only thirty minutes away on the train, and I had a few hours to kill the following day, so I stopped over for a walk. I was meeting friends in Paris that evening and it turned out to be cheaper to take two trains with a stopover of a few hours. I'd heard Lille was a nice town and it seems to be, I stopped on a terrace for coffee and wrote for a couple of hours. After hesitating for a while on the right place to have lunch at, I opted for a quick picnic: A piece of sharp cheese and some dry cured ham from a nice deli, a piece of bread from a good boulangerie and done. It was just time to get on the train to Paris after lunch, back home - one of them at least.

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