16 March, 2010

Brussels....Cantillon Open Brewing...Moeder Lambic oh my!

As if the Pre-ZBF was not enough on Thursday and Friday, were trekked on to Brussels for a Saturday of fun starting off with a visit to De Heeren van Liederkercke, our favorite resturant in Belgium, for lunch and a few beers. Usually a stop at De Heeren could be a full day itself with the gourmet food and extensive current and vintage beer listing they have but we had a full day ahead.

When we entered Brussels, after dropping bags at the hotel, Keith and I were off to Cantillon and Paula was off to some last trip to Brussels shopping for goodies.

The trip to Cantillon was to see what we could see for their bi-annual open brewing day where you can wander around the brewery while they are doing everything in the brewing process from boiling, to pumping the wort in the koelchip which is really cool to see. They also clean barrel, kegs and everything in between. Although we got there later in the day, we were able to jump on an English tour and got to roam around the brewery, sample some beer at the end and buy a few items on the way out. We also chatted for a few minutes with the brewer Jean who is a really nice guy and a guy that is passionate about authentic lambic brewing.

After Cantillon, our next stop was to the new location of Moeder Lambic right in the heart of Brussels and conveiniently right across the road from our hotel. Great planning by our travel agent I must say. A trip to Moeder Lambic is a must on any visit to Brussels but this Saturday trip was extra special as it turns out.

First, Moeder Lambic having a mini-Cantillon festival with 12 of their beers on tap which is just unheard of but not for a bar that is about 2 miles from the brewery. In addition to several rare beer you usually only get in the U.S. in bottles (Iris, Saint Lamvinus, Fou Foune, Vigneronne) we were also lucky enough to try Zwanze 2008 with rhubarb and Zwanze 2009 with elderflowers. Both beers were wonderful on tap...in fact all the beers were wonderful on tap but the Zwanze 2009 really stuck out to me.

After being there for a good hour or more, the Cantillon family arrived as the guests of honor for the night. It actually seemed to be a bit of a beer industry party as Rob Tod from Allagash was there, Tom Peters from Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia was there and several other Americans that looked familiar but I did not know were there. We had a great night of Cantillon's, fantastic cheese and we even had a bit more conversation with Jean from Cantillon.

All in all it was a great night and a great cap to a beery weekend in Belgium that was also a sort of beer bachelor party for Keith!

Check out our fun.

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