L’Ultime Atome

caveoftrolls.jpg Andreea recommended this place which we checked out at lunchtime today. We had a few nibbles and tried three beers each, all of which were good, and a couple of which were great.

The photo is of Cuvee de Trolls — the 20th beer Andreea ever reviewed, back in February 2006. It looks great, and has a lovely glass (frosted, like the one Babar comes in). The beer itself was decent, if not mindblowing.

The highlight of the session was “Poperings Hommelbier”. Poperinge is the Belgian hop growing region, and “hommel” is the local word for hops. And how. Like the little guide to Belgian beer we picked up says, “this beer has about twice the bitterness of other Belgian beers”. The first thing we were reminded of was an English IPA.

  • Ale? Check.
  • Pale? Check.
  • Bitter? Check.
  • Strong? 7.5%.

For all that, though, it’s not quite in the same territory. For a start, there’s the distinct sugar taste and aroma which you get in a lot of Belgian beer. There’s also not much in the way of flowery hop aroma, which you’d expect in an IPA. Nonetheless, an interesting and refreshingly bitter beer which we’d recommend heartily.

We also tried Hoegaarden Grand Cru, Ara Bier and Moinette Blonde.

Had a slight hangover by 5pm. Urgh.

PS – Spotted some “bootleg” Westvleteren in one of the main touristy beer shops in the centre of town.  They weren’t making a big show of it but it wasn’t hidden either.  6.25EUR a bottle. Didn’t have the 12 though.

Notes

L’Ultime Atome is at 14 Rue Saint-Boniface, Brussels 1050. There are a number of interesting bars and restaurants in that area, including lots of African places. We may do a Google Map when we get back if we can be bothered.

Boak & Bailey's Belgian binge

We’re off to Brussels for a long weekend in a couple of days. We’ve been a couple of times before but this time we’ll be armed with laptop and camera for instant blogging.

We’re putting together some plans for what we’re going to try but wondered whether any of you had suggestions for how to navigate the enormous universe of Belgian beers. Are there any beers you think we should definitely “try before we die”? How about some themes for beer crawls (perhaps a geuze night, or a night on beers less than 5%…) Or are there some amazing beers you’ve never tried that you want us to attempt to track down and review? We like a challenge…

We’ve found that Belgian Beers is a useful place to start – as well as reviews of Belgian beers, one by one, Andreea lists breweries and bars. Nice photos too.

We’ll be based in Brussels but plan to do some day trips. We have three complete days, and possibly an extra night depending on how late we get in on Thursday.

Any ideas?