We’ve just got back from a week away in Germany. On the way out, we spent a night in Brussels checking into our hotel not long before 10.30 pm on a rainy Tuesday night. That gave us just enough time to dash to our favourite pub, the Poechenellekelder, to try a few items from their very extensive Christmas beer menu.
Tsjeeses by Struise caught our eye because of the mysterious name which became less so once we said it aloud and saw the label, which features a cartoon of a very stoned Jesus with smoke curling from his mouth and ears. Tacky branding aside, it was a perfect Belgian blonde and absurdly drinkable at 10%. Not too sweet, not too bitter, definitely spicy but nothing you could pick out. Everything was in balance. It reminded us what we love about Belgian beer.
Palm Dubbel was less exciting, but certainly not unpleasant. It reminded us of Leffe Radieuse, with the same kind of fruit flavour which makes you wonder if cherries have been added somewhere along the way.
Zinnebier Xmas (Brasserie de la Senne) reminded us of Fuller’s London Porter but was much easier to swig — less intense and with a lighter body. Roasted grains mixed with sour-fruit aromas. Fabulous.
Forestinne Nordika from Brasserie Caracole was the last we could squeeze in as the bar emptied and bills were paid. Luckily, it was also a hit, with a powerful sweet orange-peel aroma and flavour that we loved. There was more fruit than spice and we guessed from the colour that it had been made with something like English pale ale malt as the base.
All in all, a successful start to our trip.
Still to come: we find a brewery making stout in Cologne; catch ourselves ticking mulled drinks; and find a surprising amount of decent beer in Northern Germany.