Sunday, January 23, 2011

Moeder Lambic Fontainas: Brussels great beer cafe

(Photo, above: Nassim Dessicy (left) and Andy Mengal
(right) behind the bar at Moeder Lambic Fontainas.)

(Photo, above: Jean Hummler in the cellar of
Moeder Lambic, Ixelles.)

When Nassim Dessicy and Jean Hummler purchased the
original location of Chez Moeder Lambic in 2006, they
wanted to transform it into a top class beer cafe, where
the staff were always knowledgeable, friendly and helpful.

(Photo, above: Chez Moeder Lambic, Ixelles.)

They also decided to offer over 400 well-chosen Belgian brews
by the bottle, and five on draft. Chez Moeder Lambic, in the
Ixelles neighborhood of Brussels, was regarded as one of the city's
top beer cafes within just a couple of years. For more on the
history of this Brussels icon, see: Moeder Lambic Ixelles

Wanting to follow their great success in Ixelles, the pair, along with
partner Andy Mengal, opened Moeder Lambic Fontainas
on October 30, 2009.

The new location, at Place Fontainas #8, is a ten minute walk
from Brussels' famous Grand Place. It is in a much larger space than
the original, hence many more beer lovers can be accommodated.

(Photo, above: the beer board.)

Nassim, Jean and Andy also wanted something else to distinguish
themselves from the EU capital's other specialist beer bars. So,
rather than following the usual Belgian model of huge bottled beer
lists, the trio decided on having a large draft list (for Belgium) of
40 taps and six cask beer engines, of very special brews.
There is no crap on tap here.

The new formula has met with fabulous success, as Moeder Lambic
is known as the place to taste many rare and not-often-seen-on-tap
beers in "The Beer Country."

(Photo, above: Dupont's Cervesia is one of the bottled brews
available at Moeder Lambic Fontainas.)

"We do have about 50 Belgian beers in 75 cl bottles, as these are
great for people to share," Andy told me during a visit in December

(Photo, above: beers in the cellar at Moeder Lambic.)

The only beer available in a small bottle: Orval.

(Photo, above: Tim Webb, author of "The Good Beer Guide
to Belgium" trying his hand at pulling a lambic from a cask.)

Here's a really special draw of Moeder Lambic, especially for
fans of sour beer (such the six cask beer engines
almost always have lambic or kriekenlambics on. Want a
Cantillon straight lambic or faro? You can get it at the brewery
or either location of Moeder Lambic, and nowhere else.
3 Fonteinen is another favorite, as is De Cam, when

"About our draft lines," Andy told me, as we toured the keg
cooler. "They are only about 4 meters (about 13 feet) long,
whereas the lines at many bars are 20 to 30 meters long.
The short length makes them very easy to clean. Also, we
change them quite regularly. Cleanliness is of utmost
importance, so the beers we offer will taste as fresh as possible."

(Photo, above: Andy Mengal in the keg cooler.)

He added: "The temperature in the cooler is about 5 degrees

C (41 F.) We like to serve our draft beers around 7 to 9 C (45 to 48 F.)"

The vintage beers as well as the handpumped brews are served
at 12-14 degrees Celsius (54-57 Fahrenheit.)

Due to their years in the beer business and contacts throughout the
Belgian beer world, Moeder Lambic's 40 taps always have many
interesting choices. You can find beers from respected breweries like
Brussels own De la Senne, as well as Jandrain-Jandrenouille,
De Ranke, La Rulles, Blaugies, Cazeau, Contreras, De Ryck, Dupont,
and many more.

Moeder Lambic also offers brews from other countries, such as Italy,
Spain, Germany and Denmark from time to time, and seasonal beers
are popular as well. 11 Christmas and winter brews were on draft
during my visit in December 2009.

(Photo, above: these beer lovers are all smiles at
Moeder Lambic.)

While not a restaurant, Moeder Lambic is not lacking for sustenance.
The plate of delicious local cheeses, meats and bread really hits the spot.

I think I'll have one when I visit again in March. Along with a few bieres.

A votre sante.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Brasserie de la Senne brews first batch in Brussels

(Photo, above: Yvan de Baets at the brewkettle,
Brasserie de la Senne.

I just got the following word from Yvan de Baets of Brasserie
de la Senne yesterday:

"We made the first test batch in the new brewery on December
22! A success so far... A new recipe to calculate the yield of the
brewhouse, but very close to Taras boulba (a bit stronger, and
with Hallertaü Hersbrucker hops for the aroma). We will bottle
it at the end of January. From March or April, we'll have all our
range available all the time..."

This is great news from one of Belgium's great brewing teams,
Yvan and partner Bernard Leboucq.

They had been brewing at Brouwerij de Ranke in Dottignies
for several years, while looking for a suitable place for a brewery
in Brussels, which they found in late 2009.

The space: a former warehouse in the Molenbeek section of
Brussels, not so far from Brasserie Cantillon.

The huge space (for a small brewery) will allow them to grow
for many years....30 to be exact! That's the length of their lease.

They have a barrel-aging room nearly ready, the bottling line
is in place, as are plans for a tasting room right inside the
brewery, where visitors will be able to watch the pair work
their magic...and taste a few beers!

Me? I'm really looking forward to more Saisons brewed with
Cantillon lambic. And so many other beers. Yum. Seriously.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chimay Red/Premiere on draft: an experiment from Bieres de Chimay

(Photo, above: This is part of the daily quality
control tasting at Chimay. This was in September

My good (Belgian) friend Danny Van Tricht broke the news
on his blog two days ago that Bieres de Chimay has begun
offering Chimay Red/Premiere on draft.

(Photo, above: entrance to Abbaye Notre Dame de Scourmont.)

(Photo, above: the church at Abbaye Notre Dame de Scourmont.)

(Photo, above: inside the church at Chimay.)

Chimay's beers, of course, are brewed at l' Abbaye Notre Dame
de Scourmont in Forges, Hainaut Province. They are one of the
six Trappist Abbeys in Belgium that brew beer.

(Photo, above: a brewkettle at Chimay.)

(Photo, above: brewing vessels at Chimay.)

His blog is in Dutch, so I will translate: The experiment is being
conducted at a few cafes near the brewery, namely: L'Auberge de
in Bourlers; La Ferme des 4 Saisons in Bourlers;
du Casino in Chimay; Cafe des Touristes in Virelles;
and Le Grand Café in Chimay.

Chimay has been offering the White/Tripel (9% abv) on
draft for several years, and it does make sense that the
7% abv Premiere would be a good draft choice, IMHO.

(Photo, above: the Auberge de Poteaupre cafe/restaurant.)

(Photo, above: a meal with Chimay Doree/Gold,
the monk's table beer at Auberge de Poteaupre.)

(Photo, above: Philippe Henroz,
Marketing & Communication
Manager at Bières de Chimay

If the experiment is a success, chances are high that Premiere on
draft will be
commercialized in the near future.

I visited the brewery and abbey in 2004 and 2006, and quite enjoyed
visits at L'Auberge de Poteaupre. I look forward to tasting the
Premiere on draft.

(Photo, above: me in the tasting room inside the
brewery at Chimay.)

(Photo, above: Philippe Henroz with spent grain
in the brewhouse at Chimay.)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Rochefort Trappist brewery, church, library survive fire

(Photo, above: Brother Pierre, monk in charge of overseeing

the brewery, at brewkettle one.)

L’ Abbaye Notre Dame de St-Remy, best known for their dark, strong, world-classic Rochefort 6, 8 and 10 beers, suffered a very serious fire on the evening of December 30, 2010. Several of the oldest buildings in the Abbey complex were gutted by fire, which started in a building housing several generators.

(Photo, above: one of the old brewery buildings hit by the fure.)

(Photo, above: an old entrance to the Abbey complex.)

These generators were being used to power the Abbey and brewery as cold, snowy whether led to electrical delivery problems in the area. Fortunately, the fire was contained. Rochefort Brewmaster Gumer Santos told me at press time: “There are no critical damages to the brewery, community, library or church. Also, the monk’s sleeping quarters were spared as well.”

(Photo, above: the brewery as seen from the outside. It is in the

building behind the trees in the center of the image.)

(Photo, above: brewkettle one in action.)

(Photo, above: the emblem/symbol of the brewery, dating

to 1664.)

Additionally, despite preliminary reports stating that over 27,000 liters of beer was destroyed in the fire, no beer was lost. Saving the library, which is full of priceless old books, as well as the brewery and church, were priorities of the several fire brigades that fought the blaze.

(Photo, above: one of the Abbey buildings.)

I have visited the brewery and abbey three times, in 2003, 2005 and 2008. It’s certainly a blessing that, while it was a terrible fire, it could have been much worse.

(Photo, above: the church at Abbaye Notre Dame de St-Remy.)

(Photo, above: an old book in the library.)