Keeping it real … Real Ale
The very first time I went to Brussels I was overwhelmed with all the beers, sweet triples, rich dark dubbel’s and the holy Trappist beers! Then out of nowhere this beer smacks me in the face with a whole pack of hops! This low % (for Belgian beers anyways) bitter finish taste was the brilliant “Taras Boulba” by Brasserie De La Senne.
The next time I went to Brussels I’m in Poechenellekelder cafe with two friends and I order “Jambe de Bois” and again I’m very impressed with this amazing beer. So this time I went to Brussels (this past Summer gone… this is a very old post!) I thought a visit to their brewery was in order! After checking via email that people could just rock up to the brewery I found out that they had a tap room, perfect!
Brasserie De La Senne was founded when Yvan De Baets met Bernard Lebourq in 2002, it then took 8 years till they could officially say their beer was 100% brewed in Brussels. The brewery takes pride in being able to say they are a local brewery and their main goal is to provide Brussels with their beer first, then branch out into Belgium and then the very limited amount that is left is then exported to other countries. Bitterness is the key characteristic in their beers as they wanted to brew beers that was no longer easily found on the Belgian market.
The brewery does provide tours but it is only for a group of 9 people or the price of what 9 people would cost which between just me and the misses wouldn’t be possible!
It wasn’t too difficult to get to, a 15 minute slow paced walk from Osseghem metro station which is on the 2 & 6 line (towards Simonis if you are travelling straight from Brussels Midi metro). When you come out the station look right and you should see a Lidl store, keep walking down this road on the right hand side and it’s pretty much a straight line for 15 mins (slow walk), pass one of the oddest looking police stations I’ve seen, keep going till you come to a small industrial estate on your right, keep an eye out, its easy to miss but here is a sign at the entrance with all the different companies on the estate. Follow the building right round to the back on the on right hand side walking towards the back and you should see a door into brewery.
The tap room is a little like walking into London Fields tap room (when I first visited) as I cannot tell if they are going for the wooden room look or if it’s just work in progress. There are large windows looking into the brewery so even if you can’t get a group of 9 together you can have a good look at what goes on in the brewery from the tap room! There are a few tables, a bar and also an area with T shirts and other merchandise for sale.
I think the tap room is new, the draught beer wasn’t available as the taps wasn’t installed yet but their entire range of beers were available I’m bottles at €2.50 euros each. As well as some of their beers you might not be able to find in Brussels too easily.
The initial reaction to the first time I tried Brasserie De La Senne is the same reaction every time I have one of their beers, every different beer I have had of theirs is superb! Their brand is far more like our craft breweries in England and the brews from America than the typical traditional Belgian beers but De La Senne are holding the flag for Belgium and their new school brewers… Belgian craft beer!
I love their art work on all their bottles, slightly strange abstract cartoons usually are found on their beer labels and you can even buy the artwork for €5 euros, I would have loved to buy them all to be honest but we agreed that we both liked the “Jambre de Bois” the most so we bought one to bring back with us ready to be put in a frame to make some awesome artwork!
Hopefully their beers will be available on draught soon as that would be even better, but even without flowing beer it is still a great place to visit while in Brussels.
It is possible to get some of their beers in England, in the past I have found bottles on Ales by Mail website and Beer Merchants, however I haven’t seen any of their bottles in any of London’s Belgian bars which is a shame.
Without doubt I shall return to the brewery on my next visit to Brussels and I think any Brewhead would also love a trip there.