Late on a Friday night and after a substantial meal at Au Lotus, we were persuaded to go out one more time to try a variety of one of Belgium’s finest exports – beer. At two very lively bars we worked our way through a selection of five different brews before finally calling it a night.
We stopped in first at Monk on Rue Sainte-Catherine. In the middle of this large, smoky, sweaty bar we perched beside a piano but were soon fortunate to find an empty table. En route to the toilets was another sizable room occupied by a private party. The large glass doors allowed non-invitees to peer through and know that they weren’t missing out on much.
We got a round of Jupiler, the same beer we had tried at Au Lotus Thai and probably my favourite of the trip. It is a smooth beer and obviously popular in its homeland. While I imagine Jupiler is a great beer to drink outside on a hot summer’s day, it went down equally well on a cold, drizzly November night.
Our second and final bar for the night was Café Kafka on Rue de la Vierge Noire, or Zwarte Lieverouwstraat depending on which road sign you’re reading. Here we sampled Duvel, Brugs, Chimay and Cristal (the beer – not, sadly, the champagne). My favourite of these was probably the Cristal, which was light like the Jupiler but not quite as smooth. The Brugs I found to be a lot like Hoegaarden. They are both white beers and have a similar fruity taste and are probably better enjoyed during the warmer months. The Duvel wasn’t bad but a bit too bubbly for me. The Chimay was ok but lacked the flavour and smoothness that I enjoyed from the Jupiler.
Both Kafka and Monk bars are great for an evening beer or three and both stayed busy well into the night. The crowds very much reminded me of a student union bar, although a little more sedate and older in Kafka at least where one group had brought their whippet dog swith them. There seemed to be plenty of good bars and restaurants around the Saint-Catherine area so if you’re interested in trying Belgian beers, it’s a fun area to bar, and beer, hop.
Rue de la Vierge Noire 6,
Rue Sainte-Catherine 42
1000 Brussel, Belgium
02 503 08 80