I had pre-trip researched a little on A La Becasse but it was a low priority; however, I decided to make a stop based on the recommendation of Werner from Oud Beersel and the Lambic Discovery Center. I'm glad that I had talked to him, otherwise I might not have approached the place. The nondescript front is just a door with a sign that leads to a long, ancient hallway until it emerges into a dark wood interior lined with tightly spaced rows of tables. Very quaint place that feels local in spite of being very close to the Grand Place, though some were clearly tourists because I can hear their excessively loud Texas accent-laden conversation across the room.
I started with the sweet lambic, Lambic Doux. It's Timmerman's lambic sweetened and served in a traditional lambic jar and glass. A light amber ale that shines in the glass, it has a subtle sourness and an earthy tone. Sweetness balances the sour, almost, and makes for a very pleasant thirst quencher, as it says on the menu.
Moved on to the Lambic Blanc, or white lambic. Initially a foamy white head built up and fell on top of a slightly hazy, light yellow beer. It's listed as a white wheat beer on the menu, and explained as a unique, traditional Lambic that was imbibed on the farms of Pajottenland. It also has a subtle wheaty nose with a faint sourness and sugar. Sweetened as well, the lemon, wheat tang and spiciness push over the sweetness that lingers in the back. Very refreshing and complex; I can see how this was the "lawnmower" beer of Flanders. When talking to Werner yesterday, I had trouble understanding how this was Belgian equivalent of Saison, a beer to drink on the farm but this white lambic makes it abundantly clear.
The waiter was very friendly and helped me to order a vegetarian dish, a traditional cheese sandwich. It was a very thin bread that was spread with a heavy layer of soft white cheese. Radishes and onions on the side added contrasting flavors to the creamy cheese funk. For me, the cheese became a bit much by the end, but an interesting meal of traditional cuisine that is hoped for element of any good vacation. And, I have room left for a waffle for dessert on the Grand Place (eat plain to look like a local--add too much chocolate and whip cream for the "tourist" waffle).
In the end, the only negative of my stop was the really loud American. Otherwise, once I settled in, it felt like a real place compared to the craziness of the Delirium Cafe, a respite from the touristy nature of many bars in this area; it lived up to Werner's billing in every way. For any beer geek that's serious about tasting lambic in its traditional manner, A la Becasse is a must stop when in Brussels.