Other VT members from Belgium and abroad wrote here about our beers and I will not repeat their often enthusiast comments.
One point to be noted is that we were anxious in Belgium when started the merger phenomena of many of our breweries ending in a world wide company such as Inbev.
We feared that these mergers would lead to the loss of the variety of our beers.
Fortunately the Belgian owners and the management promoted the special beers so that types which had disappeared from the market were resuscitated and brewed again. In all abbeys there was a search for forgotten receipts of Trappists and others monk's beers so that nowadays there are much more special beers on the market than a half century ago. A lot of small breweries disappeared but their production of special beers was taken over by the big ones.
At the same time there was worldwide promotion of the Belgian beers as well the standard Pills types such as Stella Artois and all the other special blond, amber or dark beers.
One characteristic of Belgian beer: it is not "pipi" like so many beers from elsewhere. Our special beers have alcohol content between 6,5° and 12°. It are GOURMET BEERS, we drink them for the pleasure of the taste not to get drunk.
One more thing, WE DRINK BEERS ALWAYS IN AN APPROPRIATE GLASS, NEVER FROM THE BOTTLE!
As mentioned by Brenda our special beers are served in special glasses.
For us genuine Belgians, who were already brewing beer before we adopted by force the Roman civilization, drinking beer from the bottle is not civilized it is a crime of ... it seems I exaggerated tonight with my favored dark beer "Kasteelbier" at 11°!
FIGURES: In 2011 Belgium produced 19 millions hectoliters of beer of which 60% were exported.
Belgians (11 million) drank an average of 103 liters per inhabitant/year. That’s not so much, only 28 cl/day. But that average includes babies !! The crucial question therefore is: do Belgian babies drink beer?
(That average includes also the 700.000 inhabitants who for cultural reasons are not supposed to drink alcohol).
I found a list of more than 600 Belgian beers on www.belgourmet.be/fr/bieres/index.php - 278k
If you walk the off the beaten path tour and you dare to leave the city centre behind you, you might find more exotic places in Brussels then you expected to.
When during Summertime Norali took me to Bruxelles-les-bains festival, we had to walk from the Fishmarket, over the Place Saint Catherine to the Quais of the canal.
Here we spotted many foreign storage houses and shops.
We stopped to buy some fruit for lunch.
The koreander and minth smell were so seducive and the big baskets with olives just were begging "take us with you" but we could not carry such big amount.
On this picture you can see a man watering his koreander so it would keep fresh despite the warm Summer temperature.
Even if this shop seems to be a "tourist trap" as located near the Grand-Place it isn't.
They have a huge variety of beers, more than 400 including rare trappist ones.
There are also beer glasses for every type sold in the shop as well as T-shirts and other gimmicks.
We have been buying from Francoise last 8 years (the shop opened in 1996) and each and every time -A LOT- to the amazement of tourists coming there just to look around. Once a guy asked Francoise 'who are these people buying so much?' She answered "crazy people from Finland, VERY good clients and friends", lol, since then we have been coming back on regular basis and bringing new "crazy" finnish buyers to her shop!
Last Christmas she even surprised us by sending the french version of a "beer game" - I've been asking her for ages - as a gift, how cool is that? I wanted it in french as I don't speak flemish and the only one available was in flemish.
As I said earlier she has many trappist beers and the ones we are particularly interested in are those from Westvleteren.
==> ...And if you go there, say Hello to Francoise from Atte & Tiina from Finland :-)
What to buy: There are a million of different one but my number one is the: Westvleteren trappist beer
Don't leave the country without chocolate, pralines and beer!
You definitely have to buy a well-sorted stock to bring home! I wanted to buy lots of the lambic beers (like Kriek, Cassis ..) but the supermarket I went to was nearly sold out of nearly all kinds of beer. I guess due to the very hot temperatures in August. The few bottles left wasn't the brands I wanted. Oh what a pitty :-) So I only bought my favourite chocolate!!!
Forget about Copernicus putting the sun in the centre of the the solar system, Beer Planet is the centre of the universe as we beer lovers know it. The walls of beers in this suitably aromatic shop somehow manage to contain in excess of the number of known Belgian brews and as the website boasts - "We'll always have beers you have never tried!" The laws of physics and astronomy no longer apply here and the sum is always greater than its parts.
Friendly knowledgeable staff are on hand to advise even the most novice experimenter and for those who think they know it all there'll be a few pleasant surprises.
Drop in, chill out and leave happy!
What to buy: BEER!
What to buy:
They have a wide choice of french bordeaux wines and sometimes you can find some real good bargains!!
Also belgian beers are well represented and far more cheap than in city centers tourist shops.
Buy also douwe & Egbert belgian coffee (red one) and the best mayonnaise in the world DEVOS LEMMENS!
This is one of the greatest beer shops ever. The selection is unbelievable for anyone who has any interest in Belgian beers. They have just about everything that you would want. They were very helpful in helping pack my beer up so I could carry it easier. Me and a friend of mine bought about 20 beers from this store. Beers that probably will never be found in stores home in Sweden. It is located not far from the Grand Place. So if you are in Brussels and are down wandering by the Grand Place, chances are you will probably run into it.
What to buy: Beers, beers & more beers...
Why not buy some Faro, Saison or a Lambic/Gueuze?
For beer aficionados (like my Hubby), Belgium is paradise. So many beers to taste! And each beer seems to have its own style glass. There were a multitude of shops catering to beer lovers, but we found De Bier Tempel to be the one we liked the best. We passed it several times during our time in Brussels – not only does it stand out with its brightly colored façade, but the displays in the windows will draw even non-beer lovers into the store out of curiousity. They have just about everything related to beer.
On the final day in Brussels, Hubby did some shopping for others in the class and it included finding specific glasses for two particular beers. He headed straight for De Bier Tempel and picked them up! Even if you are not a beer drinker, this place is fun to look around in or to pick up that unique gift for a loved one.
It is located around the corner from the Grand Place and they also have a shop in Bruges.
If you need some stuff at the supermarket, or just want to buy some bargain priced belgian chocolate as gifts, GB was the closest supermarket I could find to the Grand Place area.
What to buy: Great selection of chocolate bars at very good prices.
Your eyes are the first one to draw your attention to it...once you open the door your nose will let you know that you came to the right place when talking about bread
What to buy: ...many types of bread...including one with olives...the other one with cheese...maybe the one with pumpkin seeds...and not to forget...also the sweet specialities..
...fougasse...pistolet flamand....mini pain chocolat...
What to pay: some of the smaller pieces have price per piece and it's about 0,60 euro...otherwise there are 200g particular bread with olives for example which will cost you some 2,45euro
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