Drinking for Belgians is a cultural and social happening.
Being famous for the beers, we also take care of our pubs and we have some few!
One that is very cute and stuffed with all kinds of saint's statues is called 'Het Elfde Gebod' which means 'The 11th commandment'.
You wonder what the 11th might be? Well it is simply this : 'You have to enjoy yourself'.
Once I took two visitors into Antwerp. One worked in Sweden, the other was still studying in Leuven. I told them after a nice guided walk we deserved a good drink in the Eleventh Commandment.
Very suprised they asked me the meaning of "our" 11th Commandment and I explained.
They thought it was a nice one but they had a different one.
Very curious I asked what was theirs.
And laughing out loud they said "You should not get caught!"
"not get caught?"
they laughed harder.
It was an inside joke of theirs... could I know they were priests??? LOL
we all laughed now!
Around tea time people go to pubs and enjoy the beers. It is common to see group of 'middle aged' women to gather for a chat, dark beer in a big cups and snacks, just as women in London would go for a tea and biscuits after the shopping. Locals have a extensive theories about beer, beer drinking & tasting and take proud in cultivated beer enjoyment, just as wine, chocholate or coffee tasters do.. Beer drinking in Antwerp is a high-end experience.
Also, there is a shop in Antwerp. with more than 1 thousand different kinds of beer!
Belgian beer is world known. Don't try to make a goal to taste all the brands, it's impossible!!! There are too many ;-) But if you don't have time to visit a brewery or just limited in time while visiting Antwerp then you can go to this tiny shop located not far from the Grote Markt and buy some of the bottled beers there. What they say there is that they have over 280 brands to offer, so have fun!
Address: Suikerrui 34
It is a typically Belgian local custom. Those who use to taste Burgundy lifestyle would appreciate it there too.
In Antwerp, try local beer brands such as De Koninck in bolleke glass... My favourite atmosphere is drinking at summer evenings, in a terrace of quiet area. It's better with some thing to accompany it: cooked meat, cheese or grilled meat.
Bolleke is one thing, Bangelijke at 't Pakhuis is another one! I prefer the later. It's homebrewed at Pakhuis. Look at my nightlife tips for the 't Pakhuis.
Antwerp is without any doubt the capital of beer tasting there are a lot of different kinds of beer to try!
And as we all know Belgian beers are the best in the world!
Typical for Antwerp is "Bolleke". Bolleke is a kind of glass filled with the local specialty De Koninck
A Bolleke is a real Antwerp beer. It is the thing to order in a pub or while sitting outside enjoying the sun.
It is called after the shape of the glass it is served in.
The beer is brewed by the Koninck.
Cafe 'De Engel' on the corner of Grotemarkt is what I'd call Antwerp for beginners. It's a place with a long tradition gathering all sexes, age groups and social strata of Sinjoors. A real place with a character. Come during the day and meet Fonske, 96, its most faithful guest who's been coming over every day for last 60 years or so. Now this man is a must-see in himself!
So here we are back home again, after a whole afternoon of tasting great Belgian beer at the '24 Hours of Belgian Special Beer' happening in Antwerp.
Please do visit the pictures at the travelogue!
Antwerp has it's beerfestivals.
We had 2 of them in 2001 (one is coming up soon as I am creating this page).
From all over the country breweries come to Antwerp.
I am creating a Belgian Beer album on which I add beers along I am drinking them '-)
External photo album 1
Enjoy drinking but mind your limits!
Belgian beer is far too good to drink it just to become drunk!
You have to enjoy it.
Another pub I like to highlight is the Waagstuk, situated at the Stadswaag.
It is famous for it's big choice and good advice of different kinds of Geuze and Lambic beers.
It has a wonderful terras outside!
I try to maintain a page of the pubs I like. Ofcourse new pictures are added regulary.
External photo album 1
There is one pub you ought to visit and that is the really oldest pub in Antwerp.
Inside you will find a pub game of over 200 years old and you still can play a game on it!
It is called the Pub Quinten Matsys and is situated very near to the Conscience Square in the Mondriaan straat.
Every first Sunday of the month you can join a guided walk starting and ending at this pub. It is called the 'Elschot walk' (named after a famous Belgian writer)
While we were walking through the streets of Antwerp we saw so many nice bars and restaurants... This place must be paradise for going out! I have to return some day and stay there so that I can check out some of them :-)
In Antwerp when locals order a De Koninck beer, they ask for a "bolleke" - little bowl - because the beer is served in a bowl-formed glass.
The Eleventh Commandment (Elfde Gebod) is 'Remember to eat and drink well.' At 10 Torfrug, this perhaps overly visited cafe is home to over 500 ornamental pieces of serious religious art.