Setting - 8 | Selection - 5 | Service - 7 | Food - | Value - 5 | Overall - 6
New ‘beer pub’ installed in the building where formerly café Barville was situated, a cocktail bar and nightclub I used to frequent in the wee small hours in weekends even if it was not a beer place (though they did have Boon Oude Geuze, Orval, Rochefort and so on). Anyway, after Barville closed down (the owner, a very friendly man of Eastern European descent, started a new pub in Mechelen), the MTM group – owner of several new bars in Ghent including Mòris next door (where formerly the Platte Beurs was) – saw an opportunity to rent the building, involved the Van Steenberge brewery and opened this new pub a week or two ago now. It looks nothing like the old Barville anymore, there is a new bar in a totally different position, thirty taps of only Van Steenberge beers (many of which are blends or even aliases, mind you), new futuristic toilets upstairs, rooms for events, and so on; the bottle list extends not too far beyond the Van Steenberge range but does include some Belgian staples and a few regional beers, as well as trappist ales and 3 Fonteinen Oude Gueuze. I asked for a Troubadour Imperial Stout but it was not available yet – a situation that reminded me a bit of my first visit to Bier Central near the belfry of Ghent – but otherwise things are clearly already running a lot more smooth here, with very quick, efficient and friendly service. The tables outdoors were in any case completely taken and I am sure this pub will draw enough attention, for its location alone in a street that has been dominated by nightlife for many, many years (even long before I first set foot in Ghent) and is now, perhaps more than it was before, a buzzing place for youths enjoying cocktails and industrial beers. They will now get a chance to explore Van Steenberge’s range in detail, but for an old ticker like me there is little to do here – though I may pop in again for the house beer, which I haven’t tasted yet (even if there is no doubt in my mind that it too is an alias of an existing Van Steenberge recipe – knowing how this brewery tends to work). In short: professionally set up and well-meaning, certainly good for tourists and young people already immersed in the nightlife atmosphere of Klein Turkije, but not a place for the true craft beer afficionado – comparably with indeed Bier Central in that respect; I just felt it should be at least mentioned on this site due to it profiling as a beer place (they also intend to serve beer cocktails and host beer tasting sessions). Unless, of course, you are really into traditional Belgian ales and want to catch up with Van Steenberge’s range – then visit this place on an afternoon and have a bunch of Van Steenberge ticks, there is hardly an existing beer from this brewery that you will not find here.
Setting - 8 | Selection - 7 | Service - 7 | Food - 7 | Value - 7 | Overall - 7
Visited in the summer of 2021, in search of decent craft beer in a region traditionally only known for good wine when it comes to alcoholic beverages. Spacious 'shed' with brewing installation at the back and a shop next door, plenty of tables and seats (also outdoors on the street) so finding a place to sit should never be an issue here. Very welcoming staff and owner (also the brewer), quick and friendly service and very British beers, as said owner is, indeed, an Englishman, who has apparently worked for Bass years ago but after his retirement, decided it was time for him to do what he had been dreaming of for a long time and open his own brewery with taproom. The food, though simple to French standards, was good enough, and the whole atmosphere was very relaxed, like the rater below me already mentioned. Lovely place, attracting tourists as well as locals apparently, in any case a must visit if you are in the Périgord region - I have no knowledge of anyhting comparable in the wider environment of Monpazier, a beautiful environment littered with atmospheric medieval towns and greenery. Just one recommendation perhaps: if you go all traditionally English in your recipes, then perhaps cask-conditioning them and installing a real English hand pump would certainly add to the experience.
Setting - 7 | Selection - 8 | Service - 8 | Food - | Value - 7 | Overall - 7
Relatively new self-declared beer destination in the Frisian town of Sneek; offers food and overnight stays as well. The beer list contains many Belgian and Dutch classics as expected, but interestingly focuses on Frisian beers as well – a new wave of them, since of all the active breweries in the province, only pioneer Us Heit predates the year 2000. Friesland now luckily has a lot more to offer – I would not call it a craft beer paradise as of today, but there are certainly a number of passionate and interesting microbreweries active now, which are little known elsewhere. The 3B café is a lovely place to spend a few hours: there is ample room outdoors on the terrace in summer, and the actual café itself is very spacious as well, with lots of lovely corners to sit in comfortable sofas, a beautiful interior and a huge wall with nothing but (empty) beer bottles to show off the assortment – I have seen beery decorations like that before, but never this big. Very friendly and welcoming staff as well. Has a ‘studied old-fashionedness’ to it but everything looks new – a modern execution of an old idea, I guess you could say. In any case the lovely city of Sneek now has an official beer destination which I am keen to revisit some day.
Setting - 7 | Selection - 6 | Service - 8 | Food - 7 | Value - 6 | Overall - 7
Pub on a corner in the city of Groningen, advertising itself as a beer pub but also a place to have something to eat; the menu is rather limited and even if the food itself is decent enough, I guess this kind of limited choice and small portions is more or less what you can expect in the Calvinist north of the Netherlands… The beer list has the same issue: decent enough for what it contains at least for the average beer drinker, but limited in terms of selection, so a seasoned ticker will probably not find this place very useful. Still, they do have a ‘secret’ beer menu, containing things like Boon Oude Geuze and NEIPAs by Dutch craft brewers. I did like the welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff, though, as well as the reasonable pricing; perhaps worth a short stop if you are on your way from De Koffer to Mout, or the other way around, but nothing to get too excited about.
Setting - 8 | Selection - 8 | Service - 8 | Food - | Value - 9 | Overall - 8
A new hotspot of craft brewing in Brussels, visited the first time a few years ago on a Thursday afternoon and a second time last summer on a - much more crowded - Saturday evening; it is located in a large indoors marketspace as part of a project dedicated to fairtrade and ecological durability (it is worth noting the second-hand clothing shop next door – but, more importantly from a beer perspective, that Fermenthings is also located in this ‘Be There’ market, as it is called). Spacey, but as said, on Saturday evenings the place can get very crowded. Quick and very friendly service, always new beers on tap of generally high quality and full-on ‘international craft style’, relaxed atmosphere: this is a must visit for any beer geek when in Brussels. On top of this, En Stoemelings, another craft brewery, is located just around the corner too, so ideal to combine. I want to get back to La Source as soon as possible, in any case…
Setting - 8 | Selection - 5 | Service - 6 | Food - | Value - 6 | Overall - 7
Visited on a Tuesday evening in August, in search for a pub with a decent beer selection in a region that is typically a bit underserved in this field, and this one apparently advertizes itself as a beer pub... The one beer on the list I never heard of, was out of stock at the moment we visited; the rest - about two dozen brands or so - was very mainstream, from the big German Weizen brands (Paulaner) and Belgian trappist ales to a few Dutch beers from well-established breweries (like Texelse). Service was rather formal and a bit stand-offish (this is Friesland, after all...) but correct and quick; we sat outside on the patio at the waterside and I can imagine spending a few hours here just to enjoy the environment, as Lemmer was an unexpectedly picturesque little town, at least along the edges of the canal in the centre. Otherwise: nothing worth making a detour for, and if you are looking for beer from the only local brewery in Lemmer, you will probably have more luck at Brasserie 14 on the other side of the canal, a few hundred yards further downtown - but other than that, Brasserie 14 only offers a very brief list of industrial beers (Amstel and the like) so in itself I reckon it does not deserve an entry on this site either...