20 Nov 2011

Dupont Bons Voeux and Moeder Lambic Fontainas

The beer

Originally given as a gift to their best clients, Dupont’s Bons Voeux is a beer designed to be drunk as you welcome in the New Year.

However, there is nothing stopping you from enjoying it all year round.

From keg to glass it emerges as a swirl of sumptuous, clouded copper-orange liquid and voluminous white lather.

A gentle carbonation strokes the side of the branded glass.

Hold it under your nose and you’re greeted with orange zest and carrot peel, as if you’ve just ordered a freshly-blended juice from the bar.

Less fresh – but no less appealing – are the wet hay and damp wood aromas.

There’s an immediate sharp, tangerine-like sweetness as you begin to drink, which is swiftly followed up by dustings of black pepper and coriander.

The finish feels like a Dupont signature move: dry, sour and distinctly Belgian.

The bar

Moeder Lambic Fontainas is the most recently opened and larger of the two Moeder Lambic bars in Brussels.

Enter and you’re greeted with exposed brickwork, wood, steel and low-level lighting. It oozes pure, modern European style.

Forty-plus taps run the length of the bar and an exclusive selection of Cantillon cask beers nestles between the well-stocked fridges.

The match

After leaving A La Bécasse, I head straight to Moeder Lambic Fontinas.

The vibe in here is completely different.

It’s a much younger, trendy crowd and the ambience reflects that. However, it’s still laid back, chilled and instantly inviting.

I take my place at the bar. This will be my spot for the next couple of hours.

The bar itself is at a bit of an odd height in relation to the stool and I’m not immediately comfortable. A quick glance along a bar full of awkward positioning confirms that it’s not just me.

The beer list, somewhat unusually for Belgium, has a decent representation of hard-to-find international beers.

But I’m not here for that.

I’m here for beers like Bons Voeux. On draught. An experience I’m unlikely to have in any other country.

I don’t have to scrutinise the menu any further at this stage. Bang.

As my eyes look up from the page, a barman, sensing the strength of desire for the beer I’m about to order, appears in front of me.

And within a few minutes of entering Moeder Lambic Fontinas I’m drinking one of my favourite beers of all time as fresh as it could possibly be.

A few beers – Cantillon Lambic (cask), De Ranke Saison de Dottignies and Noir de Dottignies (both keg) – and a generous helping of warm bread and pâté later, and I’m thinking about how much I love Belgium (yes, probably in a ‘your my beshtest mate and I fahcking loooove you’ way).

This in the country I’ve spent the most time in outside of the UK.

First it was music that brought me here repeatedly. Now it’s beer. It’s where I got engaged.

My life forever intertwined with this place.

The beer culture in particular blows me away every time and I get a bit depressed when the time to leave it behind approaches.

The knowledge that I’ve got two days of pure, unadulterated Belgian beer indulgence ahead of me fills me with a sense of well-being as I head for the exit.

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