Good afternoon! Yesterday, I shared with you the storybook wonder that is the historical village of Monschau, Germany, which we drove through on our way to Brussels. Today, I want to share with you a hidden gem that SB somehow managed to discover.
I'm not entirely sure how, but SB dove through the inter webs and came up with the Cantillon Brewery just outside of Brussels-proper. It was a bit of a walk from where we were staying, but as the entire city of Brussels is definitely walkable, our journey wasn't too long. We made a quick stop for waffles and another stop at Le Mannequin Pis (which I will show you on another day) and ended up at the wonderful Brasserie Cantillon.
We nearly missed the entrance. It looks like a warehouse door. However, there was a helpful little sign on the door and we entered the building, along with another couple, into a darkly lit space... the smell of hops floating on the air. We paid 7 Euros a piece and were handed a booklet about the particulars of brewing lambic beer. After a quick chat with a guide, we were turned loose to explore the brewery at our leisure. I always love being turned loose in a space... especially when the space is over 100 years old!
We were up in attics, down in basements and generally all over the building. We learned that lambic beer is the only beer that is brewed through the process of spontaneous fermentation. The fermentation of about 99% of the beers that are regularly brewed today is helped along by the introduction of chemicals and machinery so it's got a more bubbly taste to it. On the flip side, lambic beer has no carbonation and is left with a bit of a sour aftertaste.
When we were done wandering the building, we got to taste a small quantity of genuine lambic beer. It was just a small taste, as spontaneous fermentation can take up to 3 years to brew! This leads to small batches. We were also able to try a "gueze" beer (a blend of 1-year old, 2-year old and 3-year old lambics) and a "kreik" beer which is infused with sour cherries.
All in all, it was a great experience. I've never tasted a beer quite like any that we were served here. I'm a huge fan of the gueze! If you're ever in Brussels, I'd highly recommend making a stop at the Brasserie Cantillon!