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Beer / Beer Travel / Belgium / Belgium Travel / Brussels / Brussels Travel / Alcohol / Bars / Cafes / Drinking / Europe / Europe Travel / → All Tags
In honor of North Carolina declaring April "Beer Month" you should know about this itsy-bitsy authentic beer parlour that we found in the capital of beer -- Brussels.
Even if you’re not a huge fan of the brewskie, it would pretty much be sacrilege not to go to a beer tavern in Brussels, the place of pilgrimage for many a beer-lover. There are beer halls, taverns and cafés aplenty, but if you want to go to a quirky original populated by locals rather than tourists, La Fleur en Papier Doré is the place.
This small tavern and café, dating from the middle of the 1700s, was once a convent and we suspect that the good nuns who lived there took a nip or two of the stuff in their time. Later it became a haunt of the Surrealist artistes –- René Magritte’s crowd. This artistic group, and the other writers and artists who followed, apparently liked to indulge in more drink than they could afford. All you need to do when you’re at La Fleur en Papier Doré is look up at the drawings and paintings crowding the jam-packed walls to see how cash-strapped artists paid their overdue bills in kind. As a shout-out to its past, the tavern still hosts exhibitions and writer’s evenings.
We headed there on a sweltering hot August summer day to find a cool cave fronted by a super-friendly barmaid. We picked a table in the back and settled in for what was to be a lesson in the history of Belgian beers. (Pics of this little gem follow below!)
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All good things must come to an end, and such is the case with the bartending career of Angelo Cammarata. At 95 years young, he's the world's oldest bartender, but he plans to finally throw in the bar towel some time in the next couple of weeks. As an interesting AP story points out, Cammarata served his first drink - a bottle of Fort Pitt beer - at his father's grocery store just moments after Prohibition was repealed in 1933. He's been slinging the sauce ever since and only rarely indulges in alcohol himself, one of those secrets to a long life that we'd rather not hear on a Saturday.
Bastille Day may be behind us, but that doesn’t mean we’re ready to stop celebrating other countries’ independence. Fortunately, the next independence day on the agenda is for a country that loves beer and food just as much as the French (and Americans): Belgium. Tuesday, July 21 is the anniversary of the date when Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld took the oath as the first king of the Belgians in 1831. And yes, we’re using that as an excuse to party.
For reasons that remain unclear, DC seems to be the stateside locale most excited to get down for this holiday. First, acclaimed high-end resto Brasserie Beck is going buffet-style, celebrating with chef Robert Wiedmaier’s favorite selection of Belgian food and brew—both in unlimited quantities!
Meanwhile, chef Bart Vandaele of Capitol Hill’s Belga Café is hosting a beer dinner of his own Tuesday night at the Belgian Ambassador’s Residence. But that’s just the culmination of Belga’s week-long independence blow-out, which starts tonight with a “Blonds Have More Fun” party celebrating Belgium’s blond brews, kicks up with a street-side waffle cart Saturday afternoon, and ends with a DJ party and fireworks display at 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
[Photo: Kalense Kid]
New Jersey is famous for many things, especially wonderful foodstuffs like Taylor ham. The state also is well known, if not infamous, for its network of highways, turnpikes, tollbooths, and whatever those jughandle things are. That’s why it's no surprise that a brewery in Cherry Hill, Flying Fish Brewing Company, has named its new line of specialty craft beverages after exits on the NJ Turnpike.
The brewery has been around for a while and they’ve mastered English, Belgian, and American style ales, but it seems they’ve hit the big time with their “Exit Series.” Each 750 mL brew named after an exit tries to celebrate the spirit of the off-ramp. The Exit 11 Hoppy American Wheat evokes the crossroads of New Jersey by mixing a few different styles of beer.
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Remember back in the boom years, when you went out to drink and could spend good money on things like bottle service, private entertainment, and cover charges?
Well new NYC watering hole Superdive is the antithesis of all that—an over-the-top party spot for the recession era. The East Village tavern replaces bottle service with keg service—place an order in advance for a high-end beer like Chimay, or just ask them to roll a standard kegerator up to the table when you get there. If that’s not your style, you can jump behind the bar and mix up your own cocktails.
Everything else is pretty much DIY at this no-frills East Village bar—you can hook your own iPod up to the DJ station, or get a live show going by sitting down at the piano or grabbing any of the instruments just lying around, and while there are no private lounges, for ladies who don’t want to be bothered by pick-up artists, there is a secluded row tactfully named “the “f*ck off” seats.”
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Economic crisis time has brought us plenty, really: cheap airline tickets or staycations, just to name a couple. A surprising bonus out of the global recession is the fact that you can now abuse bar staff in a pub in Spain and get a free beer out of it.
The Casa Pocho bar in Cullera, near Valencia, offers free drinks for "original or hilarious abuse". The owner Bernard Mariusz figured that in these difficult times, people need an outlet for their frustrations and his bar was as good a place as any for it.
Mariusz also says that the Spanish language is full of fantastic abusive phrases, so the challenge to come up with drink-worthy slander shouldn't be too hard. Our limited Spanish doesn't yet extend to too much abuse, but for a free drink, we'll learn anything.
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The tolerance of Amsterdam residents is legendary, but the beer bike may have stretched it to the breaking point. For those who don't know, the beer bike is a self-propelled, ten- to twenty-person contraption that pedals around town while all but its driver quaff beers. Popular with stag and hen parties (what we Yanks call bachelor and bachelorette parties), the bikes are a fixture in the city center, with revelers howling and singing as they enjoy the booze-soaked ride. But according to Reuters, two accidents involving the bikes since April have caused the city councilor responsible for transport to reconsider how many beer bikes ought to be allowed in the city at any one time, and what measures can be taken to ensure their safety. Could this spell the end of the beer bike?
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Seattle is famous for their weather and their coffee, but they've slowly been making their way onto the beer scene as well. After all, they aren't too far away from Portland, a city that has more breweries than anywhere else in the country. To celebrate this new beer fame, they’re welcoming one and all to the Seattle International Beer Festival.
On July 3-5, hop heads and beer bellies from around the country will gather at the Seattle Center Mural Amphitheatre to test out the latest and greatest from the world of beer. There will be over 150 varieties on tap and in bottles just waiting for you to sample them. We just hope there aren’t too many coffee-flavored porters hanging around, because those are less than tasty.
Tickets are $20, a price that includes admission, tasting glass, live music and ten beer tickets. Unfortunately unlimited samples aren’t available here, so you’ll need to buy more tickets for $1 each if you’re still thirsty. Also, depending on the “swank factor”—their words not ours—your sample can cost between one and four tickets. For those early risers, there’s a Happy Hour between noon and 1:00 pm where you’ll get five extra beer tickets.
Once you’ve paid for your ticket, you are welcome to visit all three days of the festival; there’s no re-entry fees. So feel free to bring your dog the next daythey’re welcome inside so you have someone to gripe to about your hangover.
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Now this is our kind of gap year! A California couple spent the entirety of 2008 traveling the globe with their itinerary fully dictated by one thing: Beer.
Chris Nelson and Merideth Canham-Nelson, the sudsy minds behind thebeergeek.com, declared 2008 "The Year in Beer," and spent $30,000 exploring beer festivals and local craft brewers from Anchorage to Erlangen. Their entire trip is documented with photos and videos on their website, now a comprehensive resource for where to find the best brews in just about every beer-centric locale throughout North America and Europe.
The duo also shared their best bets with the Silicon Valley Mercury News. For a domestic trip, they recommend the Oregon Brewers Festival in Portland (coming up July 23-26). Abroad, they were taken with Cologne's Kölsch bars, where guests are served in 7-ounce glasses that are constantly refilled until you signal you're done by placing a beer mat over the glass. Sounds like a dangerous system to us, but we'd certainly be willing to try.
Well we're thirsty now! And most definitely ready for a Year in Beer of our own, if we only had an extra $30,000 lying around (hint, hint to any potential sponsors).
It’s pretty clear that the folks in St. Louis take their beer pretty seriously. After all, this is the proud home of Budweiser, as long as you just forget about that whole InBev buyout thing. That’s why it’s a pretty safe bet to predict that the 2009 St. Louis Brewers Heritage Festival is one of the must-do drinking fests of the year.
There’s three different schedules over the weekend of June 5 and 6 that all take place within Forest Park, but unless you’re hardcore we’d only recommend throwing down for one of them. Tickets start at $30 and cost $35 on the day of the event. It’s a pretty good deal as it grants you access to unlimited sampling of over 60 different beer styles, live music, and a commemorative glass.
Brewmasters will be on hand from some of the nation’s most well known breweries, as well as some smaller ones. We’d head straight to the Trailhead Brewing Company booth, in hopes of downing a few samples of a hoppy ale. Just remember to bring a couple bucks in case you get the beer munchies, as there’ll be quite an assortment of food vendors as well.
America is in the throes of the worst recession that any of us have ever seen. Times are tough. We're all giving up luxuries and cutting back on expenses.
Enter this weekend's Los Angeles Beer Festival, offering you the opportunity to replace your yuppie oenophilia and with an afternoon of grain-based bliss. The weather will be a crisp 65 degrees, the sky will be a cloudless blue, and people will be stumbling from booth to booth in a state of blurry delirium.
Happy St. Patrick's Day! That is, if you can still manage to read the computer screen straight. Although sadly most of us will have to work a full day before setting out on an equally fully night, St. Patrick's Day at least guarantees a riotous (sometimes literally) good time will be had by all.
This goes not only for Chicago with its green river, New York with its sober parade, or Dublin where it's almost like any other day, but the Irish spirit can even be found healthy and happy in Shanghai, China.