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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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When it comes to food and travel they pretty much go hand in hand. That’s why we took a look at some citywide food festivals taking place this month, as checking out a new place with a side of delicious is always a good option. As the weather gets warmer it’s finally time to come out of hibernation, and here are three picks to do just that this April.
Pebble Beach Food and Wine
Just like the name indicates this food and wine event takes place over in Pebble Beach, California, as the chefs, cooks, and sommeliers are set to do their thing between April 4 and April 7. In total they’re offering up like 22 different wine tasting options, 8 different specialty dinners and lunches, and appearances from over 30 different chefs from around the globe.
As far as the events are concerned there are some pricier packages that include all kinds of different things, but if you are just looking to piece together your own options that’s fine too.
We found available wine and beer tasting events for as little as $100 per person, but if you’re looking for an interactive lunch or dinner—expect to shell out at least $200 per person. It might be a little bit of a splurge, but we say it’s worth it—maybe except for Guy Fieri Cooking Demonstration, as we’re pretty sure that’s available for free anytime you want over on Food Network.
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At least according to the calendar we’ve officially made it through the winter, and now that April is here it’s time to move the beer festivals outdoors. The lagers, ales, and everything in between have been rolled into parks, squares, and plazas across the country. So pick a festival and raise a glass to the season at these three beer festivals—cheers!
Los Angeles Beer Festival
Start figuring out what you and your friends are doing this weekend, as it’s already time for the Los Angeles Beer Festival. Things are scheduled to start flowing on April 6, and there are a couple sessions from which to choose. Stuff takes place at Paramount Studios, and it’s $40 per person for the afternoon session as well as the evening session—the latter runs between 5pm and 8pm.
Local and international beers will be on tap, there will be plenty of food from trucks, and there’s even music to keep you motivated as you work through unlimited samples and sips. Angel City Brewery, Lagunitas Brewing Company, and Lost Coast Brewery are just some of the breweries scheduled to be in attendance, so you know this is going to be a good time.
Upstate New York is becoming known as a wine aficionado’s dream and we've even reviewed some of the wineries ourselves. However, if you’re not a huge wine fan or simply want to bypass some of the bachelorette party groups in Hummer limos, there are two great spots worth checking out in the region:
No, this is definitely not an April Fools joke. North Carolina has declared that April will be "Beer Month" throughout the state. There are plenty of options for getting sloshed across all of NC, from a Beer Lover's Weekend at the O. Henry Hotel in Greensboro to a tour of the Front Street Brewery in Wilmington, to limited-edition beer flights in Blowing Rock.
The official NC Beer Month website has tons of event recommendations as well as a trip planner that focuses on specific regions (coast, mountains, piedmont).
Just make sure that you get some Bojangle's Chicken in between the beer runs.
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March has arrived, and believe it or not—the weather will get warmer. We already have spring on the brain, so what better way to celebrate then with some seasonal libations. Take some time out of your schedule, and raise a glass at a pair of spring beer festivals:
Spring Craft Beer Festival - Long Island, New York
Make your plans for the weekend now, as the Spring Craft Beer Festival is arriving on Long Island this weekend. The taps begin flowing on March 9 at the Nassau Coliseum, as local hop-heads look to toast to the warmer weather—and flavor—of springtime. The festival has been doing its thing for around the last seven years or so, and they promise that 2013 will be the best year yet.
In total there will be well over 100 different beers from which to choose, and they’ll be arriving from around 50 different breweries. There’s both an afternoon and an evening section, and tickets will set you back $45 if you order in advance online. Otherwise it’ll be $55 at the front door. With your ticket you’ll enjoy all-you-care-to-drink samples right out of your souvenir tasting glass, but we’d recommend bringing some extra cash for the food that’ll also be available. Just be sure to go slow and steady, as sips and samples from Montauk Brewing Company and Long Ireland Brewing Company shouldn’t be missed.
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February doesn’t have too much going on, so it’s a great month to head somewhere warm to escape the winter weather. We realize that might not be in the cards, so that’s why we’re suggesting the old standby—drinking—to get you through this month. Here’s three beer festivals where you can toast to February:
San Diego Winter Beer Festival
It doesn’t get quite that chilly during the winter over in San Diego, but the city still has plans for their very own winter beer festival. This year’s events are scheduled to do their thing on Friday, February 8, so if you don’t have plans for this weekend—you do now. Brewers in attendance include Ballast Point, Black Market Brewing Company, and Mission Brewery.
Tickets will set you back $40 in advance, but it’s going to be around $10 more if you’re getting them at the door. Things run between 7pm and 10pm, and it all takes place over at the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier. Live music from bands like Three Fiths Sober, 22 Kings, and YOVEE round out the event, so cheers to that.
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Because of its large population of Mormons who don’t drink alcohol, Utah gets the reputation for being a dry state. However, we’re happy to report that that’s not the case. There are a couple of spots in the Salt Lake City/Park City area worth their weight in liquid gold.
SQUATTER’S (Salt Lake City)
This homegrown beer brewery and restaurant is a must-visit on your Utah itinerary, and it's adorably close to the huge LDS Temple. Most of the beers are named after places nearby, including Provo Girl, Big Cottonwood, and Utah Crimson. We highly recommend their latest addition, the French Connection, made from a special hybrid kind of hops that you can only get in this very establishment. Good news for people stranded in SLC Airport because of inclement weather: there’s a Squatters there, too, and they have an alcohol license.
The NYC Craft Beer Festival Spring Seasonals returns to the Lexington Armory on March 30th, 213 with more than 100 American craft beers which will be paired with gourmet food samplings. Tickets are now on sale for the next installment of this NYC Craft Beer Festival series.
The Connoisseur Ticket Package, which includes extra advance hour of tastings, access to the Connoisseur's Lounge, ultra rare beer tastings in the Connoisseur's Lounge, a souvenir tasting glass, complimentary hors d'oeuvres, access to seminars, and more, are available more for $100 (early bird special). Once those tickets are sold, the advance ticket prices will go up to $125 or $135 at the door.
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Of course the majority of the holidays have come and gone, but that just means we need something new to entertain us until the spring and summer warmth returns. There's still plenty of special winter beers and brews to sample, so here’s our picks for three festivals from which to take a sip or two this January.
Columbus Winter Beerfest – Columbus, Ohio
It’s January 11-12 for this year’s edition of the Columbus Winter Beerfest over at the Columbus Convention Center. Two nights mean even more beers, as organizers are promising over 60 breweries, more than 300 craft beers, and 10,000 hop heads enjoying each and every sip and sample.
Regular admission sets you back $35 per person, and that’ll get you a sampling cup and a generous allotment of tasting tickets—25 to be specific. The list of beers is still a work in process, but we’d expect some local options like Barley’s, Columbus Brewing Company, and Four Strings Brewing to make an appearance.
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You know we love us a good beer festival, but sometimes we could use a little more entertainment than just the ales and lagers. That’s why we were excited to hear about some of these more unique options going down this month, so let’s raise our glasses to three November beer festivals that offer up a little extra.
Auto and Ales – Hershey, Pennsylvania
Everyone knows it’s not a good idea to mix drinking with driving, but as long as you keep the automobiles and alcohol separate it’s totally fine. That’s what is scheduled for this Friday—November 9—over in Hershey, Pennsylvania at the Antique Automobile Club of America. It’s what they’re calling Auto and Ales, and it’s ready to do its thing between 6pm and 10pm.
It’s the third year of the festival, as organizers promise to bring together some of the area’s best craft brewers and best classic cars. There’s no getting behind the wheel at this event, but you are encouraged to savor a few sips while enjoying the view. Appalachian Brewing Company, Lancaster Brewing Company, and Snitz Creek Brewery are just a few of those scheduled to be in attendance, and the sips and samples can be yours for just $40.
During this time we slowly fell deeper and deeper in love with the airport, Franz-Josef Strauss International (MUC). Not only did it have an awesome visitor park (which will get its own story soon), but the two terminals are gorgeous and more than happy to have you drink your fill of beer before departing. In fact, even the coaster napkins make a case for pre-flight boozing, as you can see from ours, pictured above.
Only in Munich!