Belgian tourism is rather compact, which means that if you leave in the middle of the country, there is never more than 1.5 hours’ drive in one direction. Then, we reach Germany, France, Holland or Luxemburg. Therefore, the effort is really minimal. On top, there is a special thing about Belgium: starting from September, you can go every weekend to a different city and there is a beer festival. Visit and get beer on top. Is there anything that could beat this type of tourism?
Of course not.
Today, this type of visit brought me to Mons. Based on information found in Wikipedia the first signs of activity in the region of Mons are found dating from the Neolithic period. Then there a lot of settlement and activities were going in the region because of Caesar and the roman empire. There was a Monastery build here in the early 8th century and one of the locals Saint Waltrude was canonized in 1039. Even if the historical center of the town is rather compact, it will provide you with a variety of buildings dater from XI century and finalizing with the XV century The collegiate church of Sainte-Waltrude. Honestly, the whole walk takes maybe 2 hours with kids, but it is really worth the time invested.
After seeing the town, we head north to Lotto Mons Expo halls, which were heading the small beer festival. It seems that this is the first time that Mons-Beer was held. Thanks to David from Beer-City (La Louviere).
Honestly, I have to admit that a venue is pretty strange, so far I was used to events held (at least) partially under the sky, therefore the view of the humongous hall, with a little beer stands at the bottom is quite funny. At the moment we have arrived, there were not too many people inside, and I really appreciate it. But no worries – the moment we were leaving it was already loud and crowded.
- The organizers did think about food stands and the scene probably meant for the band was freely accessible for the kids, so no worries about anybody betting bored (and yes, it is normal here to take kids to a beer festival).
- Big advantage of the closed exhibition hall is that the smokers had to go out. I will keep on emphasizing it – you cannot mix smoking and beer tasting. Smoking kills the taste. Point.
- What I didn’t like is the fact, that some of the breweries didn’t have a possibility to wash your glass in between. This is a must. You cannot seriously pour your beer to a glass still contain the leftovers of previous beer. Not only you change the taste. You also act like the AMATEUR.
- Second thing – since the area was closed there was no way to discreetly throw the beer you don’t like. However, I understand that this one is hard to get in the exhibition venue.
Now, how about some beer tasting:
BRASSERIE LA MONTOISE - BLONDE
I have to be honest, this was not the good start of the beer festival. This blonde is nothing special. Very typical taste and aroma of malt and Belgian yeast. Nothing to kill you, but certainly nothing to rock my world.
DE LA PLEINE LUNE - LUNETTE
I know, that I am complaining a lot about the blonde/blanche beers being a boredom of the local craft scene. Why do I keep trying – exactly for the moments like that one. Magical effects of adding Japanese aroma hops (Sorachi Ace) to a classical style. You may like it or not, but there is no doubt that it is original and bring a new wind in the old tradition. Personally, one of the best beers in Mons.
LA BOUQUINE BACK IN BLACK PORTER
Another surprise from France. Rich, dark porter with the aroma of dark chocolate and some malt. Very delicate hops in aftertaste. Medium carbonation. I was seriously impressed by this brew. Great job in interpretation of the traditional beer style. On top, I have to admit that I love the optymistic hop logo of the brewery. La Bouquine, we will meet again.
PART 2 is coming soon...