Belgium brussels at the beginning of january

Discussion in 'Europe' started by tinypyramids, Oct 12, 2012.

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  1. tinypyramids

    tinypyramids Initiate (0) Jul 19, 2012 Illinois

    hey all,

    the wife and i may be going to brussels at the beginning of january, arriving on the 2nd and departing on the 4th (we'd be coming from the uk via the usa so that's why the duration is short). while it's not technically a beer-centric trip, i've got lambic on the brain and i basically want to spend my trip doing these things:

    1) drinking a shitload of beer i can't get over in the states
    2) eating mussels
    3) visiting cantillon
    4) eating chocolate (not so much for me as for the wife - she likes lambic but not anywhere near as much as me)

    i've got a couple random questions that i couldn't figure out from reading wikitravel among a couple other sites:

    1) i know cantillon does take away, but how are their take away prices? do they regularly have stuff that you can't get in stores?
    2) can you do take-away from bars? like if i walked into moeder lambic and splurged on a bottle of zwanze 2010, could i take it home with me rather than drink it there?
    3) speaking of which, how much would a special-type 750ml of cantillon run me at moeder lambic?
    4) i won't have a chance to make it out of brussels on this trip - given that, is there any way to get my hands on even a single bottle of westvleteren 12 (preferably for takeaway), overpriced or not?
    5) do i have a chance at tasting fou foune on my trip (even paying bar prices)?

    money is not really an object for this trip so i'd like to try some special stuff, but i do have my limits. thanks in advance.

    edit: also, when i went to paris i had a little bit of a culture shock when i found out that a lot of things were closed on sunday and monday - guess which was two out of the three days i was there? sigh. are there any similar concerns i should be aware of being in brussels on wednesday-friday?

    sorry if i sound like an american ignoramus, which i definitely am. just want to make the most of my time is all.
  2. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,097) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    1) Yes you can buy beer at the brewery and the prices are quite good. What you find will probably also in stores. After the tour you get one glass of beer free, but there may be 6-7 others available by the glass.
    2) Pass
    3) Pass
    4) Beer Planet may or may not have some in stock. i made one visit in which they had the 12, the 8 and the Blonde all in stock. I'd get at least one of each.
    5) Pass

    Re Edit: Wed-Fri things should be open.
  3. Brabander

    Brabander Initiate (0) Oct 10, 2009 Netherlands

    About your question number 4; BM me when the time comes and i will provide you with some Westvleteren for a very decent price.

    For all you other questions the main important thing to do is.......bring loads of good stuff from the States for in person trading. Buying bottles in Brussels (the biggest tourist trap of Belgium) will cost you a fortune!

    Have a nice time there and try to go to the Kulminator in Antwerps for at least one time! With the train a 30 minutes ride...

    tinypyramids and drtth like this.
  4. nharres

    nharres Initiate (0) Feb 8, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    De Bier Temple seemed to have as much Westy as your heart may desire (All 3). I was in Brussels last week and couldn't bring anything to trade so I splurged. Very expensive and touristy I know but for something I had never tried and probably wouldn't have found anywhere else, it was worth it to me.

    If it is not out on the shelf they will have some in the cabinet next to the checkout counter. Again, pricey but it should be a fallback.
  5. tinypyramids

    tinypyramids Initiate (0) Jul 19, 2012 Illinois

    unfortunately i don't think i'll be able to bring too many bottles for trade - i'll be going all over england before we wind up in belgium. and i'm fully prepared to have to pay a lot of money for special stuff being in brussels, but how much are we talking here? i'm from chicago, so i'm used to being gouged occasionally on special releases...

    also, i didn't know brussels to antwerp was only a 30 minute train ride - it sounds like it's worth a day trip if it's not too expensive.
  6. Brabander

    Brabander Initiate (0) Oct 10, 2009 Netherlands

    The trainride is not expensive at all. Your wife can do some shopping while you are drinking some beers at the Kulminator. Check this
  7. beerpirates

    beerpirates Defender (676) May 4, 2010 Belgium
    Beer Trader

    Don't forget that kulminator is open from 4 pm tell midnight
    Closed on sunday
  8. nharres

    nharres Initiate (0) Feb 8, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    I think the prices for the Westy were 12, 10, 9 Euros respectively. Pricey but I guess you'd pay the same or more per ounce for other mediocre import beers here (looking at you Mikkeller...). I am sure some of the local BA's would have more info on better places but this is just another lowly tourist's experience.

    The prices at Cantillon are simply ridiculous. Coming from someone that paid $30 for a St. Lamvinus a few months back in Chicago, buying bottles of FouFoune for 11 Euros was very refreshing. Don't forget the Struise stuff either, I actually enjoyed it the most of any beers I had on my trip and it is at least twice the price back in the US and most don't even make it over here.

  9. cbeer88

    cbeer88 Crusader (719) Sep 5, 2007 Massachusetts

    Current releases are reasonable, vintages are going to be all over the place. You'll probably end up paying about what you'd expect to pay (expensive), not some crazy awesome discount on a 5 year old rare bottle. Also, the streets of Brussels are not exactly paved with rarities - you're going to wade through tons of Orval, Classic Gueuze, etc - so my suggestion is to just enjoy what comes to you and relax in all the wonderful bars.

    As for take away - some bars will do it, but I've heard a couple of times now that they are getting sick of Americans coming over and buying up all their rarities, so YMMV.
  10. DougOLis

    DougOLis Initiate (185) Aug 15, 2008 California

    Regarding prices at Moeder Lambic; I bought a bottle of Armand'4 Oude Gueze Lente the other day and it was 100 Euros and I think the most expensive bottle (the other Armand'4 beers were the same price too). I think the Cantillons were a little less. Maybe 60?

    Not take-away, but if you want a Westy 12 for cheap in Brussels you should go to La Villette for dinner. Great food and Westy 12 was only Euro 4.60. A great deal and way cheaper than pretty much anywhere else (about the same as In De Vrede for that matter).
  11. tinypyramids

    tinypyramids Initiate (0) Jul 19, 2012 Illinois

    back from my trip. thanks to everyone for the advice - i had an awesome time. i hit both moeder lambics, cantillon (trip highlight for sure), and various beer shops and bars scattered about.

    for those looking for more info, cantillon currently has fou foune, LP gueuze, LP kriek, iris, regular gueuze, kriek, and rose (and maybe another bottle or two i'm forgetting) for take away. drink in, iirc they had all of the above plus faro, vigneronne, mamouche, and zwanze 2012.
  12. andrejes

    andrejes Initiate (185) Jun 10, 2011 Netherlands
    Beer Trader

    Thanxs, good to know i go next week!!! Hope they still have zwanze 2012!!!
  13. tinypyramids

    tinypyramids Initiate (0) Jul 19, 2012 Illinois

    after seeing their cellars (which you will as part of the tour), you will be in no danger of them not having it. zwanze 2012 was 14 eur for a 750 (drink in only). worth every cent.

    edit: the only thing i wasn't able to find on my trip that i was searching for was portsmouth/struise kabert, but it wasn't world ending to not be able to get it.
  14. Brabander

    Brabander Initiate (0) Oct 10, 2009 Netherlands

    I had some for you! Kabert was on hell of a collaboration!

  15. tinypyramids

    tinypyramids Initiate (0) Jul 19, 2012 Illinois


    sorry i didn't get in contact with any of ya about hangs in brussels; not having a working phone made meeting up (or even finding my way around) fairly difficult and the wife and i already had a bit of a packed schedule. will have to save that for the next trip.
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