Sunday, September 16, 2012

Delirium Monasterium (Brussels, BE)

The "list" for the Delirium bars

On my third beer, I realized with the help of the bartender that I was in a smaller version of Delerium Cafe called the Delirium Monasterium that specializes in Trappist ales and vodkas. Hmmmm. Interesting. The sign out front of the former entrance to the  Delirium Cafe said "around the corner" for the Cafe, but I didn't go far enough.  It's two left hand turns to get to the actual entrance.  After the first left hand turn, I saw Delirium in the name and stopped for a beer before investigating further.

So, this was just some trappist pre-gaming. :)

The Monesterium is a small bar with ten taps by my count that faces directly to the busy seafood restaurant row known as Rue des Bouchers. The dark wood of a beat up bar has a monastery feel with some church like arches filling out the decor. Slow in the early afternoon, which was nice for chatting with the friendly punk bartender.  I noticed during the week of visits to the Delirium bars that the Monestarium is often quieter and less full than the other bars, which is one of the reasons that I took Gloria there instead of the main cafe when we returned to Brussels briefly for the flower carpet.

For my first visit, I stuck to the taps, a treat by itself for traveling to Belgium. Plus the famous list overwhelmed me initially. The Monasterium also doubles as a vodka bar, which doesn't make much sense until I saw the crowds of young folks later in the evening.  I started safe with a La Trappe Quad: one of the very freshest that I've ever had, full of life and body. Nearly as good as having it on site years ago.

Since it counted on the list, I ordered a Chimay Red for the second draft in spite of the bartender's warning: thin on taste and light bodied.  Perfectly adequate, but I wouldn't order it again.  My final draft of this visit was better: Val Dieu Tripel has a thick white head that falls to half in an instant and then lingers with a heavy lace. Shimmering orange beer that's beautiful in the glass. Big spicey nose that lessens on the tongue and is over shadowed a bit (not in a bad way) by the earthy base of the beer.

Overall, a great first stop at Delirium in spite of my confusion as to where I was actually drinking.  I corrected the error several times during the week by visiting each section separately.  Before taking off, I gave the copy of All About Beer magazine that I read on the plane to the bartender, which he seemed to appreciate.  The Monesterim is not the stop I expected but one I very much enjoyed.

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