Saturday, May 19, 2012
Belgium Day 2: Drie Fonteinen
With our first day and some of the jet lag behind us, we planned to take a train ride to the little town of Beersel in order to visit the 3 Fonteinen restaurant. In early April we found out that the tasting room was closing but I was ass ured by some people that the restaurant was still totally worth visiting and boy were they right. Our trip started with an easy thirty minute train ride. I had read that on weekdays it was pretty easy to get out to Beersel and that turned out to be true. Just one switch in a town called Halle got us right there. When you get off the train the first thing Jo and I noticed is that we weren't in a large town anymore. Off in front of us was just a large empty field and off to the side were a bunch of horses that kept looking at us as if we didn't belong there. After doing a tour of the very cool Kasteel de Beersel, we made our way up a large hill to the restaurant. It was actually very easy to find as we could just follow the signs for the Centrum Hotel. Never did find the hotel, but the signs led us right to 3 Fonteinen so lucky us. We we still a few minutes early as the restaurant didn't open until noon so we went around back and popped into the store first. And, wow, I had never ever seen so many bottles of 3 Fonteinen in one place. I'm talking about crates and crates of it. Just amazing. The shop itself was a smallish room with fantastic prices for everything. I'm talking about 3 euro geuze, 11 euro for the kriek with the fancy cherries which goes for $40 in the US, things like that. Pretty awesome. But it was time to head into the restaurant for lunch so I'll come back to the shop later.. The restaurant is a couple rooms with about ten tables in each plus an outside area which is probably very nice when the weather is good. After sitting, I flipped through the menu to find their lambic section and after scanning through it my eyes immediately focused on the bottle of Hommage they offered. So glad we decided to come here! And what's even funnier is that the couple that sat next to us was also from the Philly area! Small world! We had a fun time talking beer with them and exchanging stories. However I didn't want to start out with something that rare so got a glass of the cask lambic. Funky, buttery nose. No hint of the bitterness like in the Cantillon yesterday. Delicious first sip, light tartness followed by some buttery oak flavor and some funk. Vanilla appeared as I drank more too. Just a delicious start. Next we decided to order the bottle of Hommage, a raspberry Lambic from 2007. Smelled strongly of fermented raspberries. Really interesting nose. Jo didn't think it made you want to drink it but I thought it was inviting. I'm odd though. After the complex first sip, the nose is all but forgotten. The fermented raspberry still exists, but there's a tasty tartness and funkiness that came with it. This bottle may have been expensive but it was totally worth it and just amazing. Apparently there aren't that many bottles left of it either. My last beer was something called faro which is Lambic mixed with like candi sugar. Very interesting though Jo didn't like it. I thought it was cool to try though. With lunch done we went back into the shop for a bit and I chatted with Lijde and Thomas, two of the employees for a while about different things which was super fun. I bought a few bottle and then Jo and I came back to Brussels. An awesome trip and some awesome beer. Definitely a place to go if you're ever here.