Ever since discovering this place, The Belgium Beer Caféhas become my new drinking home. Located at the base of the world's tallest residential building, Belgium Beer Café Eureka instantly transports you from Melbourne to Belgium as soon as you enter its large wooden doors.
The wooden interior is something that strongly reminds me of my travels in Brussels. The layout distinctly feels 'European' as each interior furnishing and furniture apparently being imported from Belgium. Two Belgian painters were even hired to add the finishing touches on the walls and ceilings.
The ambience of the Belgium Beer Café is an aspect that I really love. This is a bar where I can actually have a conversation with someone. Most bars in Melbourne usually force me to scream over the unnecessarily loud music, but the subdued electronic funk music played over the speakers creates a very chilled out and relaxed vibe; perfect for enjoying a brew and the company of friends.
Although they don't make the fries exactly the same way in Belgium, the Belgium Beer Café does certainly cook up some pretty decent traditional Belgian dishes. Sample the Belgian national dish,moules frites, mussels typically cooked with sauces and served in a pot with a side of fries. For a finishing desert, sample Liege Waffle – a caramelized Belgium waffle that is richer, denser and sweeter in taste than a normal waffle.
Personally, the food menu is insignificant compared to their beer selection. Not many people know much about Belgium, but one essential fact you should learn is that Belgians are the true masters of beer brewing. Belgium has a long rich history in beer brewing that stretches far back into the medieval times. Through the years, Belgium has developed many delicious varieties of the magic drink. I have made it a personal mission to sample all 66 varieties of beer in stock at the Belgium Beer Café.
Listed below, I have written a brief explanation on the varieties of beer the Belgium Beer Café offers.
Witbier Witbier, translated as White beer, are typically drunk with a slice of lemon inside and are perfect on a hot summer's day. It's a pale and cloudy coloured beer that is traditionally made with coriander, bitter orange peel and other herbs.
For an introduction to Witbier, try a glass of Hoegarden with a slice of lemon.
A common hoppy pale golden coloured beer with a subtle bitterness and a fragrance of spice and flora. A standard Pale Lager to start with is the world renowned Stella Artois.
Blonde ale Another standard Belgium beer that is similar to Pale Lager, but with a more golden colour. It has a clear crisp freshness to it, and usually low to medium level bitterness. It has an aroma of pils hops and a subtle sweetness of malt.
For a good high in alcohol Blonde ale, try Duvel.
Amber Ale is similar to the British pale ale. It is a refreshing brew that is less hoppy than the British counterpart and best after a hard day's work.
A tasty amber ale to start with is a glass of Kwak.
A similar taste to strong pale ale with a pale golden colour. It has a very complex taste, blending spices, citric fruits and hops. For an introduction on Tripel beer, sample a brew of Leffe Tripel.
Although it is no Guinness, Belgian dark ales are just as smooth, creamy and flavourful. The Dark Ales have a roasted aroma and a subtle sweet taste.
For a starter, try the Leffe Brown on tap.
Trappist beers are increasingly becoming a rare brew. The name is given to the beers made in a monastery by monks. It's a name that is protected by International Law as the beer must meet stringent rules:
1) The brewery must be in a monastery.
2) The monks must play a role in its production and policies; and
3) The profits are to be to support the monastery.
A good beer to start with is Orval, a classic Trappist beer.
Farmhouse brews, or Saison beer, are a refreshing pale ale beer, typically low in alcohol but high in taste. It is a brew traditionally made seasonally in small farmhouses in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium. With farmhouse beers, you can actually taste the love and passion that is used to make the beer.
Try a Saison Dupont, voted the world's best beer in 2008 by Men's Journal.
Lambic Beers are wheat beers that have been fermented in a particular way to expose the wild yeast and bacteria. It is then aged for a certain amount of time, ranging from six months to two or three years. This creates a dry beer with a slight sour aftertaste.
These sour beers are then classified into different subclasses: Gueze, Faro and Fruit Lambic.
Gueze uses old and young mixtures to create a second fermentation process, and then aged for several more years. It is often referred to as Champagne Beer: fizzy, sour and dry.
Faros are made by adding sugar or caramel to the limbic brew to create another fermentation process.
Fruit beers add fruit or fruit concentrate to the limbic brew, creating a very sweet and tasty beer. My personal favourite fruit beer would have to be Bellevue Kriek, a sweet cherry tasting beer perfect after drinking too many bitter brews.