ABS Drinks

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Type: Store

Vilvoordsebaan 29/1
Winksele, 3020

+32 (0)16 63 50 11 | map

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Added by Paddez on 08-06-2005

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Ratings: 9 |  Reviews: 8
Photo of YvesB
4.1/5  rDev -7.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of ManforallSaisons
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.75

"We're gonna need a bigger boat.” I think I heard myself mutter when I wandered in. To start, the numbers have grown to much more than previously reported here. The website lists something like 800 beers and, yes, that counts different sizes and a certain amount of dive-bar fodder, but also a fantastic breadth and range of stuff unlikely to be found elsewhere. At sub-grocery prices.

Some highlights: Girardin black label geuze 75cl 3 euros + deposit, everyone else’s gueuze <5, Moinette 75cls for 2.80-something (I may have paid more at the brewery), la Vermontoise (Blaugies-HF collaboration) 3.27, Pannepot Reserva 2.03, Orval 1.67.

The beer section is a bit of a jumble, and don’t leave your coat in the car, but that just gives it the serious feel of, say, an aluminum kitchen. Nothing was dusty and everything in reach. The considerable wine and booze section is a bit more boutique. Staff were helpful and anglophone but busy, not there for exploratory chag. And it has some sort of papal dispensation to be open, heavens above, on Sunday.

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Photo of lv_hakola
5/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Amazing selection of Trappist/hard-to-find beers.
Took a chance going here because I wasn't sure if it was still open. Definitely still open and hopefully it will stay that way until the end of time!
Found 750 cl bottles of Blanche de Namur for 2 euros a bottle. Great prices all around, with some of the smaller bottles going for under a euro.
Bought easily over a hundred euros worth on both of my visits here. Love this place.
Planning on going back very soon and filling multiple shopping carts. A MUST visit if you are anywhere near brussels/belgium/EUROPE.
Can't say enough about this place...The greatest place in the world. Disneyland for adults.

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Photo of gor62
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

ABS Drinks is the kind of place you only find in Belgium. Where else would you find a beverage store where beer entusiasts from London hunt for specialty beers from their spreadsheets while the locals get their crates of Stella and CocaCola for the weekend? High-end beer specialist and neighbourhood drink shop under one roof. Huge selection of the finest Belgian beers, very good prices, friendly atmosphere and competent staff. Definitely worth the drive from Brussels, or if you don't have a car, there is a train station nearby.

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Photo of bylerteck
4.44/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

I visited this place with weissbierdrinker in May 2011. He suggested it for their prices and selection and it surely lived up to it.

ABS is simply a warehouse for beer. And it is full. Cement floors and metal shelving are all that's here, but it's layed out well and the shelves are well stocked.

The selection is top notch with tons of lambic, gueuze, saisons, blondes, darks, etc. All major lambic blenders are represented as are the major players in Belgium and many upstarts. Rarities and limited editions are available, and a few Dutch brewers as well. Coming from Canada, where we rarely, if ever see authentic gueuze, I was floored.

The prices were quite cheap. I think the most I spent on a bottle was 8 euro for BA La Trappe Quad. The rest were in the 2-3 euro range. Excellent pricing.

My only interaction with staff was when paying but they were very friendly and seemed into what they were doing.

The best beer store I've seen so far in Belgium, and the prices justify the trip alone. Excellent.

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Photo of smcolw
4.65/5  rDev +5%

Perhaps the best beer place I have ever been to--a veritable candy store for the Belgian beer lover with hundreds of selections. But the best part of this is the price: many of the individual bottles are under a Euro!

I told my friend who took me here that it might be worth moving to Belgium and learning to speak Flemish. The help was very pleasant and helped me find the more bitter Belgian offerings. I bought twelve bottles of various beers that I have never seen before, but there were hundreds of others that fit this description. My dilemma was that I had limited luggage space for returning to the USA.

Make the trip if you are in the area. It's the perfect excuse to go back to Belgium.

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Photo of gyllstromk
5/5  rDev +12.9%

Just got back from this place. Originally I was concerned that it wasn't open anymore due to the infrequently updating website and the reviews from beeradvocate dating back years. I can confirm that today (June 8th 2010) it is open.

One note: I put "exceptional" for service but I actually had no interaction with the employees.

Selection is terrific. As good as or possibly better than Bier Tempel in Brussel/Brugge, and WAY cheaper (probably half the price or less). For example, a 75cl of Saison Dupont was under 2e and 37.5cl Gueuze Girardins at like 1.40e. I have never seen these prices anywhere.

Plenty of the stuff you can't usually find, including tons of lambics, saisons, and micros. Almost all Belgian.

If that weren't enough, they also have a nice wine and liquor section, including a wall of Jenever (a Belgian liquor) as well as what appears to be a homebrewed Jenever.

This place is definitely off the beaten path, in a very small town between Leuven and Brussel.

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Photo of Bierschenker
4.2/5  rDev -5.2%

I was scrolling through the BA website one night when I stumbled upon this review by Paddez. The store was unknown to me. It did take me a while to get there, but it was more then worth it. Leuven is not really a city that can lure a beer aficionado. So you can understand I was more then pleasantly surprised when I discovered this little gem. Especially because it was so close and at the same time so far. In actual distance it isn’t that far. But Winksele is a rural residential village. You don’t go there unless you live there. And you certainly don’t look for a big beer shop there.

The store is easily reachable by car, bus and train. Just watch out you don’t miss it, because it’s a bit back from the street and closed in by houses. When you come in you are hailed by a very annoying ringing sound. This makes the vender in front of you welcome you to his shop. The counter is right in front of the door. To your right you will find three products. A selection of regional product: food, beer, spirits. Secondly there is a small selection of wine. And thirdly, liquor and spirits in general. This makes up for about a quarter of the shop. Because if you turn left you see what it’s really about: beer. Shelves and shelves of beer. On the top shelve, bottles are placed next to each other. But they are arranged in a strange way. Not a lot of logic there. The underlying shelves are filled with crates of beer. Filled with the showed brands on top. No nagging here because you only buy one bottle.

There website says they haven’t been opened for a very long time. But I sincerely hope they will be here for a long time to come. Because Paddez asked the right question: How they can keep up this selection in a simple village.

I normally go to the regional products store in Grimbergen to buy my Geuze, Kriek, Lambic and Faro bottles, but this selection is just as strong. One other thing I noticed, they have less well known beers, but a lot of regional beers and brews from small breweries.

At first I didn’t know what to expect from this place. But now I am a believer. Thanks to Paddez for this great tip.

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Photo of Paddez
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Ironicly; this store is only 10 minutes from my place, but I didn't know about it until I visited the Coop wereldcafe in Leuven just yesterday. It said somewhere that they got all their beers from ABS Drinks in Winksele. Half expecting this to be a wholesale bussiness, I decided to go there and see what it was, and I wasn't dissapointed.

The store itself is located in Winksele, just outside the center of the village. Winksele is a small and quite dull village close to Leuven, it was certainly the last place in Belgium I'd expect to have a beershop. How they manage run enough turnover to stay up and running is a mystery to me; but there must be a lot of local people that know of it or it wouldn't be there anymore.

The place itself is fairly big. It has something of a medium sized grocery store with its shelves and shopping carts. Besides beers they also wines and also some liquors if I'm not mistaking.
The beers are all neatly arranged on shelves although they're grouped in a rather strange way. The fact that there were no dusty or overdue bottles more then makes up for this though. All the bottles looked fresh to me and for many of the beers there are crates available if you would wish to buy more than a few bottles.

I was stunned by the selection. I think there were around 300 beers but I'm bad at estimating so it could as well be more or less. Everything I was hoping to find was there; everything from De Landtsheer (including Malheur all the Brûts); Hannsens, Drie Fonteinen, Westvleteren, Girardin; Het Anker; De Ranke; Dupont; Oud Beersel. Incredibly varied and well composed. A pity they didn't have any non-belgians though.

Prices were very reasonable. Not more expensive than your average supermarket and cheaper even than some other Drink Centers I've been to. Only the prices of some of the more rare; bigger bottles (Cuvee van de Keizer, Malheur Brût Noir) were a bit steep, but then again: those are real treats so they're allowed to be a bit more expensive.

I'm very pleased to have found this store. I had to constrain myself not to buy everything off the shelves. Then again, now I've got something to come back for. If you're in Leuven and have some means of transportation; don't waste your time looking for something special in the various supermarkets but give this place a visit. You won't be dissapointed!

EDIT: having been to some other beerstores now I've grown to appreciate this place even more. Their selection is simply outstanding. (Especially lambic, gueuze & kriek enthusiasts will love this place. They really have it all) It's incredibly cheap. People are friendly and they often add new products to their already more than impressive selection. If you ever visit Leuven or even Brussels this place really is a must. It's at walking distance (5 minutes) from the the railway station 'Veltem' (take a CR-train towards 'Geraardsbergen' from Leuven or one towards Leuven from Brussel Noord, Centraal or Zuid) and there is a busstop at 2 minutes. (you can take the 352 'Kraainem Metro' in Leuven).
Worth the effort of getting there. Especially if you're planning on buying more than a few beers.

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ABS Drinks in Winksele, Belgium
4.43 out of 5 based on 9 ratings.
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