Before heading to Antwerp I did some research and found that there were a few really good beer bottle shops to visit in the city. It makes sense that in a great beer city like Antwerp with a cafe like Kulminator, there has got to be some good places to take away beer. We visited two shops on Sunday before heading back to Luxembourg.
The first store that we visited was Bierwinkel Den Borstvlegel which is on Oude Vaartplaats, just a few blocks away from a great bar, Oud Arsenal. I have read recently that this shop may be closing at the end of 2007 so I wanted to get there to do a little Christmas shopping for myself. The shop was very busy so it was hard to walk around and look and not knock things over. The selection is pretty impressive but does not border on the rare. I found a handful of harder to find lambics including a few faros. There was a nice selection of Cantillon beers at very reasonable prices including Saint Lamvinus at €7, Iris at €5 or €6 and Vignoronne at the same. Throughout the store there was a really nice selection of glassware and gift sets. They did have beers from 6 of the 7 trappist beers but no Westy to be found. They did have the largest bottle that I had ever seen in my life, a 12 litre bottle of 25 year old beer. I was not really sure what was in it but I was tempted to buy it, if not for the €85 price tag and the huge huge size of the bottle.
The next bottle shop we hit was something called 280 Belgian Beer Sortes or something like that. It was right at the end of the shopping area near our bed and breakfast so I wasn't expecting much. The store was fairly large with 2 large rows, one on either side as you walked through so this helped me to not knock over any bottles with my large backpack. I did find some nice bottles here like the Duvel green label that you don't find in the U.S. I also got a 4 pack of Kasteel Rouge for Paula. I then picked up a bottle of Coke on my way to the cash register and I almost tripped over the best find of the weekend. A case of Westvleteren 12!! A full case and then there was another case just sitting in their front window. Without hesitation the owner said they were for sale so I purchased 2 bottles. Yes, just 2 bottles. They were €7 a bottle which is a great price but since my back was already loaded down with other bottles, I thought 2 was a reasonable number. Plus, I expect to visit the Abbey to get a few crates of Westy in the week after Christmas. Check back to see whether I am successful.
Check out our shopping pictures