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Bier Circus

Not Rated.
Bier CircusBier Circus
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

61 Ratings
Ratings: 61
Reviews: 51
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 8.81%
Taps: 5
Bottles: 300
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

Rue de l'Enseignement 57
Brussels, 1000
Belgium
phone: +32 2 218 00 34

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 61 | Reviews: 51 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beerpirates
4/5  rDev -4.8%

beerpirates, Aug 31, 2014
Photo of joelambic
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

joelambic, Jun 18, 2014
Photo of erbu
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%

erbu, Jun 16, 2014
Photo of brandoman63
4/5  rDev -4.8%

brandoman63, Jun 02, 2014
Photo of hooliganlife
4/5  rDev -4.8%

hooliganlife, Apr 26, 2014
Photo of Heretic42
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Heretic42, Mar 28, 2014
Photo of Qdiver
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Qdiver, Feb 14, 2014
Photo of uturn
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

uturn, Jan 09, 2014
Photo of Sparky44
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Sparky44, Dec 16, 2013
Photo of phingdong
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

phingdong, Oct 18, 2013
Photo of snuffy
4.74/5  rDev +12.9%

I remember Bier Circus when its was just a small retail unit with a couple or bar stools and a table that required a degree in geography to locate. The educated and wide ranging beer list has always been the draw here but the days of spag bol or nothing (although it's great) are long gone.

Beer draws people in but the food is now making them stay. The cuisine has improved with every visit and the meatballs, meatloaf, fish stew and carbonnade are and look fantastic. (The crowning achievement has always been the Chimay Chocolate Mouse tho).

A Brussels institution and while it maintains its gravitas, the atmosphere still sometimes leaves something to be desired. Service, however, is impeccable, friendly and jovial.

The only down side is the limited opening hours but its worth the wait.

snuffy, May 13, 2013
Photo of FightingEntropy
3.79/5  rDev -9.8%

While trying to plan my first brewery tour to Bosteels on Friday, I accidentally ran across Le Bier Circus near the youth hostel Jacques Brel that I'm staying at a night this week. Decided to give it a try: I saw vegetarian lasagna on the menu, plus I had heard of the bar before. Maybe it's because it's a Thursday night, but I'm the only one in the restaurant plus a few sitting outside.

Lasagna looked better than it tasted, but I'm hot and running on two hours of sleep from the flight. Might not be a fair test. I don't see myself ordering it again, but it definitely hits the spot now.

With dinner I had a Keyte Dobbel-Triple, which is very good. What I can tell from the menu, the beer is from amateurs in Ostende. Unclear in translation, but the server clears it up that the beer is brewed by Brouwerij Strubbe but somehow created by the "club van bierliefhebbers" or homebrewers. An amazing collaboration: dark chestnut brown with a dirty brown head that falls in a perfect lace. Chestnut in the nose that reminds me of a Christmas beer I had in Italy once. Light spice in nose to balance that subdued by the full Dubbel-like malt, slight dark fruits and full nuttiness. Fun beer.

Near the end of the meal, a Euro cover of G L O R I A Gloria song is playing. Really odd and slightly surreal as I'm travelling alone for the week until my Gloria meets me in France. The music has been invasive in each place I've been and unsettling for some reason, but I can't seem to find the source of my discomfort. This is the longest trip that we've ever taken--a full month I'll be in Belgium and France, and--today--I feel a bit isolated and overwhelmed. Dinner and a unique beer find has been a nice respite to re-group from jet lag and a rocky start with the hostel, all of which worked out fine as I found my footing in Belgium for a truly magnificent week. If I lived in the neighborhood, I would most definitely be happy to be a regular at Le Bier Circus, but don't think it's the destination bar that it sounded like online.

Pictures at http://pintsizedrevelations.blogspot.com/2013/01/le-bier-circus-brussels-belgium.html.

FightingEntropy, Jan 19, 2013
Photo of Radome
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%

I saw this recommended both on BA and in the Good Beer Guide to Belgium, so I sought it out when in Brussels on business. I was not disappointed.

The bar was easy to find, and as noted by others, was located in a somewhat dull, bureaucratic office neighborhood. Still, it is an easy walk from major tourist sites like the Musee des Beaux Arts, Royal Palace, etc. and I was looking for excellent beer selection, not a rocking place to make new friends.

Atmosphere was neat, modern, friendly and informal. Very open and airy, not a typical wooden pub feel. I went for a late dinner and there were only a few other customers; a mix of beer geeks like me and a few groups of locals who didn't seem to realize how special the place was.

Food menu was limited, but what they had was original, fresh and delicious, and included several dishes made with fine beers. I had meatloaf (made with apples, raisins and Orval cheese) served with potato salad. It was very tasty and more than I could eat.

Service was excellent. The waiter was friendly, English-speaking and obviously a beer-lover himself. I ordered three bottled beers I'd never had before, De Dolle Arabier, De Ranke Guldenberg and De Dolle Oerbier Special Reserve. Prices were very reasonable and the entire evening cost me ~30 Euros.

I thought the beer selection was good but it did not blow me away. There were plenty of Belgians on the menu that are common in the US and not exciting, but a few were truly rare and outstanding.

Overall, I highly recommend this establishment based on location, service, selection and food. You can't go wrong.

Radome, Oct 26, 2012
Photo of sndrspk
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

This place has a very nice selection of beers, but it lacks atmosphere. It's a bit too 'clean', well lit, and doesn't have the typical Belgian bar vibe.

The biggest point of criticism however is that they sell Westvleteren against ridiculous prices. It might be considered a good opportunity for those wanting to try this beer, but clandestine reselling it, especially for 18 euros a bottle, is somewhat unethical.

Also, the bar is located in a part of town that is mostly frequented by the government clerks working there. Especially in the evenings, the neighborhood can be silent and dull.

On the plus side, the staff is friendly and seems knowledgeable.

sndrspk, Jul 13, 2012
Photo of Jbino34
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%

I'm in town on business and had a chance to visit the Bier Circus tonight; here are my thoughts..

The place is located in an interesting spot...a bit of a business district in the center of brussels. It was easy enough to get to off of the metro (get off the Madou stop on the No. 2 line). It was fine for me but I wouldn't recommend my girlfriend walking there on a cold winter evening.

Beer:

Fantastic selection; prices are reasonable - most beers are around 3 and 4 euros. There are some vintage beers that will run you 35.

I had the Trappist Achel and an Alpaide - the Achel was good...the Alpaide was great (and recommended by the bartender). I haven't seen either available in the US so they were both a treat.

Food:

Extremely limited, which brings down my rating. However, I had the Spaghetti Bolognaise made with the Chimay Red - it was fantastic.

Service:

Bartender's english was decent and he was very nice and accommodating..it may help that he was drinking a beer while tending.

I'd definitely recommend this place...

Jbino34, Jan 31, 2012
Photo of Chincino
4.14/5  rDev -1.4%

The Bier Circus was a good place to check out overall if you are in Brussels. I went mid-afternoon on a weekday so there wasn't much of a crowd. We pretty much had the place to ourselves.

The atmosphere was relaxed with a lot of neat beer signs and paraphenalia on the walls.

We were able to try some vintage geuzes (1999 and 2000). I also had a a chimay on tap.

This place had a decent beer selection (de dolle, de struisse, etc) and reasonable prices. It was a good choice for a relaxing place to try a couple good belgian beers if you're in Brussels.

Chincino, Mar 16, 2011
Photo of BlackHaddock
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%

My sixth time to Brussels, but my first visit to here: it not opening at weekends being the main reason. So it was a cold and windy Thursday evening in October 2010 I finally made it.

Nothing special about it to be honest, a basic bar with a few clown bits hanging around and on the windows. The place was half empty and we had no problems finding a table with two chairs to sit on.

On tap they had Bink Blond, La Chouffe Houblin and Chimay Tripel as their regular beers. The two guests being Nieuwhuys Alpaide and Saison de Cazeau, we tried them all (sharing) before having a 0.75cl bottle of Lupulus.

We ate a mixed cheese and cold meat platter with gurkins etc, just what we wanted to accompany the beers.

An agreeable sort of place and one I'd use again if in that area of the city. It is a fair walk from any other reconised beery bar in Brussels, but is just about worth the effort to get out too.

BlackHaddock, Nov 18, 2010
Photo of BucBasil
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%

Nice location on a little side street near the hostel I was staying in. About 10 minutes walk from the center. Atmosphere is OK if a little strange. Beer themed with some clown dolls around. Nice rotating beer list. Food selection was very limited. Ordered a spaghetti bolognese in Chimay Blue sauce. It was ok, but I couldn't taste any beer... could have been just any bolognese. Great beer selection. Music was good - indie rock and some classic rock. Not a lot of people eating in the joint but the bar was pretty crowded. I was one of 4 people in the dining room. The columns are decorated with various little bottle caps. The focus is definitely on the beer. Nice little place but a bit overrated.

Eat elsewhere and then come here for the beer later.

BucBasil, Nov 05, 2010
Photo of warmdog
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%

I arrived in Brussels quite late on a Friday evening. Was a toss up between delirium and bier circus. Hotel was right around the corner so opted for ciricus. Was too tired to hit delirium afterwards anyways.

was very quiet for a Friday night...8 people all up, friendly bar staff

the food was great, especially the mousse in the chimay glass! had a toasted cheese sandwich for my main.
beer was awesome. picked up a saison dupont on the way out, drank it in my hotel room

would def go again when in Brussels.

warmdog, Sep 21, 2010
Photo of Brabander
4.03/5  rDev -4%

I was at this place september the 4th together with the Alstrom bros, UncleJimbo and two non BA's. The day before Todd and Jason were knighted in Brussels.

There was only one waiter in the beginning and there were a bit too much people for him. Later a second waiter came and the service got better.

I can't say anything about the food because i had already eaten. The cheese was good although!

They have a lot of good beers and you see the most of them in a fridge.

We had some wonderfull beers together in a good ambiance.

Brabander, Sep 09, 2010
Photo of weissbierdrinker
4/5  rDev -4.8%

A very nice little bar/restaurant. Clean and has belgian beer deco all over. The food is very good and seemed fresh, but a bit on the pricey side and there isn't a a huge selection of things to eat. I found it odd that they wouldn't sell me just an order of fries, many places in Belgium do this, in fact there are whole road side stand that do just that, but hey whatever the beer list is good.

They had some vintage bottles although I don't recall anything super rare there were some interesting less distributed beers on the list. The service is pretty typical of Belgium don't be in a hurry to order and eat b/c it just won't happen. It hasn't been been crowded when I was there, but there were people in it having a good time which promoted a friendly easy going atmosphere. Overall I'd say I would go back, it's not a cheap bar but it's not outrageous either it's right inline with other bars.

weissbierdrinker, May 05, 2010
Photo of jgasparine
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%

Atmosphere-
This establishment seems more conducive to dining with beer, rather that loitering for drinks alone. The walls are covered with breweriana, clearly indicative (along with their name) their respect for beer. We were there on a Wednesday night, and it was a bit quiet, making it difficult to ascertain the atmosphere during peak times.

Quality-
Everything about this place screamed quality. The cleanliness, the order, the multi-lingual menu, the way the server always made sure that glassware was placed on the table with the logo facing the drinker. Impeccable.

Service-
Again, it was relatively quiet in there, which made it easy for good service to be rendered. I wonder what it would be like on a busy night? Anyway, our waiter was professional, courteous, and responsive. It took a little while for food to be brought to the table, which was the only major detractor on the Service rating.

Selection-
A very lovely selection of lambic, abbey, trappist, strong ales, flemish red/browns. Plenty of aged (vintage) brews. A fabulous selection that could keep you engaged for weeks on end.

Food-
The food was spectacular. I had a Red Mullet dish prepared with an Orval sauce, which was spectacular. I had it paired with a 2005 Orval, which made the experience almost religious. My wife had a massive piece of vegetable lasagna, which she enjoyed as well. I would definitely recommend their cuisine a la biere!

jgasparine, Mar 25, 2010
Photo of Phanatic
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

The bad: Not what I was expecting, atmosphere-wise. I figured on a dark local bar type place, but instead it's like what you'd get if you took an Applebees, replaced all the walnut veneer with white pine, and took all the crap off the walls. Very bright, very clean, very mainstream-looking.

The good: Pretty much everything else. I got a beef stew that was solid, if not remarkable. My buddy got the ham knuckle, which was perfect. Great beer selection. Decently responsive waiter. If you can get past the terrifying-clown motif, you need to go here for a meal. The beer selection is also excellent.

Phanatic, Dec 08, 2009
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%

Visited: 8-20-08

Best Meal in Belgium Period. (and that includes several other meals at Michelen rated restaurants and a $400 Euro boondoggle dropped at the vomitously overrated tourist trap hell-hole that is Den Dyver in Bruges)

Sorry to vent. I'll get to Den Dyver, the worst restaurant I've ever been to later but for now we are talking about a wonderful establishment called Bier Circus. What a pleasure Bier Circus was. After a long day touring Namur, hiking around the Citadel, and drinking Wallonian ales Elaina and I returned to Brussels for a fine meal and exceptional beer at this famed establishment. We went late and were quickly seated in a half-booth along the wall. Prompt and professional service allowed us to rapidly order a bottle of the 1989 Cantillon Cuvee du Van, bottled solely for Bier Circus (a nearly perfect lambic) and our mutual favorite La Moneuse.

We were provided with hors d'oeuvres of rye bread topped with herbed cream cheese, sliced radishes, and cucumbers and then set about conversing with the French businessman at the next table. He had brought his own full baguette to enjoy with his meal, which initially made me nervous about the quality of this establishment but those anxieties would soon subside.
After enjoying our aperitif I ordered a steak au poivre only it wasn't a steak au poivre. It was a steak au Duvel. What I received was beyond belief. A choice and generously portioned tenderloin came medium rare, pan seared, and coated in crushed green peppercorns in a thick Duvel based pan sauce. My mouth still waters at the thought of it. Elaina ordered lamb dish cooked in Geuze with goat cheese that was nearly as good. Both were served with some of the best fries we had in Belgium.

Following dinner I drank a concoction based on La Chouffe, La Chouffe coffee liquor, and some other nonsense. Following this we retired to the bar where we enjoyed some other specialty beers made solely for Bier Circus and three fine offerings, including an outstanding stout, from Houfbrouwerijke. Service was excellent throughout our stay. The beer list was better than nearly any other place in Brussels but would have earned a visit based on the Cantillon alone.

Prices were higher than at most bars but beyond a doubt, Bier Circus was worth the extra dime. On the down side, Bier Circus really didn't have much going for it in the way of atmosphere. It was obviously popular with the tourists and expats and could count on a steady crowd so they packed em in and packed em out and let the beer and food, rather than the ambiance, keep em happy. I really couldn't complain.

DaPeculierDane, Nov 11, 2009
Photo of ultrasupergenius
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%

The beer selection here is good. If you are in Brussels and looking to try the Westvleteren 8 or 12... this is a great place to find them. They have always had them available when I have stopped by.

The bar area is small... bordering on cramped. It would be, if there were lots of people hanging about. I wouldn't suggest heading here if you are alone and keen to strike a conversation with fellow beer aficionados (Delerium Cafe is the place for that)... I would suggest Bier Circus if you have brought your own company with you. Meet up with a small group, and you will have a nice but small bar to enjoy, with attentive service and knowledgeable staff. Knowledgeable staff that truly love their beer. Take a walk from the bar to the restrooms (downstairs from the dining room, clean facilities), and you will notice that they have lined their walls with tiling made from beer caps. The walls are adorned with vintage beer signs.

The food is what I would consider hearty fare... great to bring your BAC back down after a couple of strong Belgian beers. Not a culinary powerhouse - just good food.

I can't ignore the 800 pound gorilla about this place... there are clowns painted on the windows. It has a clown/circus theme, especially when viewed from outside. I don't like clowns, and lots of people don't like clowns. If you walk around the side of Bier Circus, you can't really see any of the clowns from the bar area, which has its own entrance. It is worth it, if you are in the neighborhood. This is not your classic Brasserie or old wood themed pub. It is contemporary in style - with style being used loosely.

Bier Circus is a good, quiet smoke-free spot to have some great beer. I would consider it to be the opposite of Delerium Cafe in terms of noise, smoke, and overall number of drunken tourists... and while the beer selection is not as large - there are plenty of gems to enjoy.

Recommended.

ultrasupergenius, Nov 10, 2009
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Bier Circus in Brussels, Belgium
94 out of 100 based on 61 ratings.