DAY 2 – Brussels

Brussels 2

BOTD – Apart from the amazing coffee, my drink of the day has to go to the St Feuillien Green Flash Belgian Coast IPA.

I woke up in the hotel (Hotel Bloom!) feeling slightly jaded. Having not paid for breakfast, I went on the search for food to try and suppress any hint of a hangover that may have been lurking. I headed towards the centre of Brussels, trying to avoid any places which were ridiculously busy. Unfortunately, being a Saturday morning, such establishments were few and far between.

I stumbled upon a small deli/bakery place called Le Temps de Tartines, the smell of fresh bread and longish queue inside told me that this was probably a safe bet. I ordered one of the freshly prepared deluxe baguettes filled with bacon, cream cheese and tomatoes, as well as a pristinely tessellating apple tart. Food in hand, I nipped back out towards the main square and returned to a coffee take-out place I’d passed earlier, Coffee Top. It was essentially a craft beer bar for coffee lovers – 8 different coffee blends from countries all around the world: Tanzania, Columbia, Venzeuala etc. I opted for a double shot of the Kenyan, in a latte (the barista was baffled when I tried to explain what a flat white was). Hands down the most potent coffee I have ever had yet it wasn’t bitter whatsoever and left a completely clean finish as well as a buzz which lasted most of the afternoon. Sipping on a sumptuous coffee, scoffing bacon and cream cheese and an amazing apple tart while sitting in the Brussels sunshine, I started the plan my day.

Being so busy around all the tourist haunts gave me an excuse to avoid these at all costs. Instead I spent the afternoon wondering around the south side of the city which I had passed on my way from the station, yesterday. It had a very similar sort of bohemian feel to walking around the backstreets of Greenwich Village – lots of record shops, vintage clothing stores and old book shops. 72 records was an interesting find and possessed one of the most extensive offerings of 80s/90’s punk and hardcore I had ever seen and I ended up spending most of the afternoon hotfooting from record store to record store.

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I was due to be seeing Dead Ghosts at Madame Moustache in a few hours’ time, so I used this free period wisely and decided to go and find the REAL Delirium Village, as opposed to the café I had mistaken for the real thing the day before. Despite the ridiculous hoards of people I seemed to just glide through the Markt side streets and wind up standing outside the taphouse without really trying too hard.

The place is a sight to behold. Your eyes are immediately drawn towards the bar where there are taps and kegs littered around the place in a completely haphazard looking fashion. I think there were 25+ beers on when I went, ranging from the staple tipples of Barbar blonde and Chimay triple, to some obscurities written in chalk above the bar. Being in Delrium I felt obliged to sample one of their own, opting for a Nocturum.

The bar is a carnival of people and beer memorabilia, and your brain struggles to keep up with what your eyes are willing you to process. I’d already spotted the always curious site of the St Feuillien Green Flash Belgian Coast IPA as I walked in and having only sampled it from a bottle before I was keen to taste it on tap – this has changed significantly since my return, as a number of fine establishments in Birmingham have had the Belgian Coast on intermittently since. It’s a great beer and a combination of all things I love about Belgian IPAs, the freshness of a pale ale, complete with an overriding pithy, grapefruit bitterness but with the added depth of flavour and hints of sweet caramel from a Belgian triple. Time was getting on and Dead Ghosts were due on in less than an hour so I made my way across the city to find the venue.

After a ridiculous show I stopped off at a waffle shop on the way back to the hotel and sat somewhere just off the main square watching some guy in the street play with fire.

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