Saturday, February 2, 2013

A la Mort Subite (Brussels, Belgium)

7/31/12, 8/1/12

Found myself near enough Mort Subite to stop in for lunch after a morning of Flemish art at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts. Amazing how looking at Breughel and Rubens can work up a thirst.

I must look American in enough that I was warned that the Mort Subite Gueuze was served warm and that it was sour. The color of an overripe peach, there's a slight film of an off white head on the beer. Yeasty nose that's focused in spite of spontaneous fermentation. Slightly sour and fruity on the tongue. Very good and goes well gouda cheese.

I came here for lunch, in part, because another BA mentioned cheese sandwiches; I ordered the Hollande sandwich: gouda cheese on a traditional bread, just like at A la Becasse. Mustard placed on the table ahead of the sandwich arrivingto my surprise, mustard on bread with gouda cheese is pretty darn good.  I may return for more lambic and to order the omelet because it looks very good at the next table.

The bar itself is a wonderful old place that makes the stop worthwhile in and of itself, especially compared to just buying a sandwich at a street shop or frites on the street.   In addition to the range of Mort Subite beers, there's a nice selection of abbey and Trappists ales in bottles and draft.

For dessert, I had a Mort Subite Kriek.  Barlely pink head is falling quickly on a Cool-Aid red beer. Light sour cherry and yeasty nose belies the stronger fruit flavor in the mouth that's barely counterpointed by the more mellow sour of Mort Subite's base lambic. Tastes a bit like cherry sour candy in liquid form. Body is light but the flavor more than compensates. This would be a great introduction to lambic and fruit beers. It reminds me a little of New Glarus Belgian Red, but not quite as good.

Decided to end the trip with a draft or two at Mort Subite because it's easy to find in the touristy district and I think I've spent enough time at Delirium for one trip. The quieter, period bar without the thumping techno seemed like the right way to go. I had a sample of the Mort Subite Framboise at the 2005 Festival of Beer in Toronto. It rated high then and doesn't disappoint now. Strong fruit flavor without being overly sweet as the sour lambic swells up underneath to meet the challenge.  An excellent framboise for beer geek and neophyte alike.

Omelette on second visit

I tried to finish with Orval, but they were out until the next day.  On the recommendation of a new tap by the waitress, I'm ending my stay in Belgium as I started: La Trappe Quadruple.  I could live here just for La Trappe this fresh. When I get home, the top of my brewing priority is to learn how to brew a clone of this beer.

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