Bersalis: Bringing life to the brew

Bersalis label A while ago, I mentioned that one of of the restaurants near me is part of a ‘beer of the month’ scheme which allows me to steadily work my way through the range of Belgian beers without having to go too far.

This month, the beer of the month is Bersalis which is intended to help relaunch the Oud Beersel lambic brewery.

The beer itself is okay, if nothing special, but at 9.5% it’s strong. Almost too strong because, after a while, the alcohol was pretty much all I could taste.

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It's not as if my pile of unread books is too big already

So after finding a movie matching website, and then discovering a music discovery website, it was probably only a matter of time before I’d come across a book browsing website.

Enter a book you like and the site will analyse our database of real readers’ favourite books (over 20,000 and growing) to suggest what you could read next. It’s a bit like browsing the bookshelves of a (very) well read friend!

So I’m heading off to explore.

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Irish Coffee

So after the beer, we went on for dinner. And when you’re in a French restaurant in Antwerp, what better way to round off the meal than with an authentic Irish coffee.

The blue flash in front of the chef is the flame…

Irish coffee being made

And it was watching him pour the cream that convinced us to give it a go…

Irish coffee being made

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Keizer Karel

Another photo from Flickr
Keizer Karel
Originally uploaded by ExpatPaul.

We were in Antwerp yesterday and, on stopping at a rather nice bar across from a French restaurant to which we later went, I was rather impressed to be served a tankard of Keizer Karel in an authentic pot.

The story, in case you hadn’t heard it is as follows…

In Olen there was an inn famed for selling good beer. When Emperor Charles visited Olen on his annual hunting expeditions, he would never forget to partake of a tankard of that good beer. He would canter up to the front door on his horse, order, and wait for the woman to come outside with the foaming brew. But she always held the tankard by its handle, so that the Emperor could never get a good grip of it.
“Woman, by next year, get thee a beer tankard with two handles, for that will make it easier.”
“Yes, my lord,” replied the woman.
Next year came and again Emperor Charles stopped off at the inn. The woman had indeed bought a beer tankard with two handles, but she held the tankard with her two hands, so that again, the Emperor was unable to get a good grip of it.
“Woman, it is still not good. By next year, get thee a beer tankard with three handles, for that will make it easier.”
Next year came and again Emperor Charles stopped off at the inn. The woman had indeed bought a beer tankard with three handles, but she held the tankard with the third handle pointing towards her breast.
“Woman,” said the Emperor, “it would be still no easier than last year, were I not to know that a third handle there is.”
And so saying, he reached under the tankard and grasped the third handle firmly.
“Behold, a clever trick there is,” proclaimed he.
And the inn where this merry story happened all those years ago still exists in Olen. And the famous three-handled tankard is still preserved there too.

– From “Van stroppendragers en de pot van Olen” [Of Rope Wearers and the Tankard of Olen]

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Jeanneke Pis

Another photo from Flickr
jeanneke-pis-1
Originally uploaded by ExpatPaul.

Everyone’s heard om Manneken Pis, but did you know that Brussels also has a Jeanneke Pis?

It was made by Denis-Adrien Debouvrie and erected in the mid-1980s and endowed with its own instant legend, the better to amuse strollers. This half-metre-high statue of blue-grey limestone depicts a woman with her hair in bunches, squatting and urinating, apparently very contentedly. It is located on the east side of the Impasse de la Fidélité / Getrouwheidsgang (Faith Alley), a narrow dead-end street some 100 metres long leading northwards off the restaurant-packed Rue des Bouchers / Beenhouwersstraat (Butchers’ Street). The alley also hosts a café where around 2000 different kinds of beer are served.


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