Ratings: 69 | Reviews: 61 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by belgianjunkie:
4.6/5 rDev +6.7%
quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$$
De Bier Tempel is THE place in downtown Brussels for beer paraphernalia. Only one block away from Grote Markt (Grand Place) on Marche-aux-Herbes, but unfortunately for the pricing it's on one of the more touristy streets, so prices are higher than usual for some of their selection. The trick is to be selective in your purchases, buying only the paraphernalia and beers you can't find in local markets, bars, or night shops to get the most for your buck.
It's the ideal place for a beer paraphernalia collector like myself to get those harder-to-find goblets, beer mats, etc. Want some Leffe Brune and a goblet? Go to a local GB (Belgian supermarket) to get a six-pack and goblet for a fraction of what Bier Tempel sells them for. BUT... you want the Trappist Westvleteren gift box with goblet, or a Delirium beer towel, or a Lindeman's Renee Cuvee mirror-style display plate (all three of which I bought there on my last trip)? THIS is the place to go. I'm guessing they have more than one hundred different beer mats and goblets/glasses/mugs that you can't find collected all in one place elsewhere. Magnum bottles, t-shirts, posters, magnets, etc. Tough-to-find beers like Faro, Cantillion Lou Pepe, Caves, Das, all Trappists including every Westvleteren variation (which are notoriously hard to get in Belgium alone, nevermind worldwide), and so many other fine but rarely-seen beers that your eyes boggle trying to take it all in. I'm having trouble just picking others to name under the weight of everything they carry, so suffice it to say that if it's Belgian and you want it, there's a 90% chance it's there. But again, you do have to pay for this centralized (and touristy) convenience.
It might surprise you, after reading about their massive selection, to hear it's a small place- basically a wide hallway with a circular path at the end around display stands. But they pack every inch of the place with stuff they're selling. It's the kind of place that a 30-something who was a hyper kid gets a bit nervous walking into. Just don't make any sudden moves and if possible, don't carry any backpacks or large bags through the place to be safe. It's further cramped by all the people coming in and out. I've never been in there alone- there've been from two to maybe fifteen other customers in there every time I visited, and more are English-speaking tourists (like me) than not.
This is a major contribution to the five points I gave to their service: they speak almost every major language. If you don't speak Flemish or French, you don't have to sweat it. And they're not at all shy about sizing you up as an American (as Belgians are good at doing) and greeting you with an I-know-English-so-don't-worry "Hello". Obviously they're also fluent in Flemish and French, and I've also heard at least one of them speak Spanish and Italian when necessary. They're forthcoming if you're looking for help with the goblets (most of which are behind the counter), and happy to offer suggestions to novices looking for beer suggestions, but not pushy.
Continuing with service, they've carefully wrapped every single goblet/glass I've ever purchased there in bubble-wrap to ensure no breakage. I've packed them (very securely) in my luggage as Bier Tempel had wrapped them for the long trip back to the states and none have broken so far. They also "wrap" individual beer bottles in a flexible styrofoam-like mesh if you have more than one in the same bag for protection as well.
I gave them four points for quality mainly because the first Rene Cuvee display plate I selected was pretty scratched up and I had to search for another. I've also had them put back more than one goblet they handed me for minor chips or scratched paint. But this is par for the course in a store that sells so many glass items. And other items, like some of their magnets or t-shirts that you can get in most tourist shops in Brussels aren't high quality to begin with.
All in all, the Bier Tempel is a little pricey, but the best one-stop-shop I know of in downtown Brussels for all of the beer-stuffs you need and plenty of others you DIDN'T know you needed 'til you saw them. If you're in Belgium for weeks, shop around first and hit Bier Tempel at the end for your couldn't-find-it-elsewhere cleanup purchases. If you're only in Belgium for a day or four, go there for a quick and convenient splurge. Bonus: They're the only business I know of that give out a beer mat as their business card. Pick one up for free while making your purchase (though I won't actually put a beer bottle on mine)...
08-12-2005 14:32:16 | More by belgianjunkie
More User Reviews:
4.64/5 rDev +7.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$$
Enjoyed shopping here. The selection was great. I think almost all beers from Belgium were represented, even ones I'd not heard of before. I didn't ask for help, and the reason was that it was so busy and packed with tourist. The staff simply stayed behind the counter, which was ok for me. The hard part was deciding how much money I could afford to spend. I knew about the other stores around town, but this place was so central and easy to reach, that the few hours I had in the tourist area had to spent well.
They really could do with one of two sales people roaming the aisle and dispensing info, but for someone not into exotic beers and looking for a simple present from the mass produced beers, they leave all that up near the front by the cashiers.
What impressed me most was how careful they were in packing each bottle, testing the plastic bag repeatedly to make sure none of the glass of a bottle was touching or clinking. They packed every bottle separately in it's plastic wrap, and made sure the glassware I bought was equally safely stored before they let me leave their presence. Such an eye for detail made my day.
05-05-2014 21:16:20 | More by boddhitree
De Biertempel in Brussels, Belgium
95 out of 100 based on 69 ratings.