Made a visit to the classic Brussels beer bar Poechenellekelder last weekend with some friends. Despite the fact that it is a short stone’s throw from Brussels’ most famous (or infamous or kitsch, depending on who you ask) monument, Mannekin Pis, What’s unique about Poechenellekelder is that it’s the rare combination of a “must-visit” for tourists, but still largely full of locals.
The interior is decked out with puppets and costumes for Mannekin Pis (Poechenellekelder is Dutch for puppet cellar) and a seemingly infinite set of beer paraphenalia, posters and accoutrements. The bar staff is knowledgeable, friendly and multi-lingual, even willing to assist those who would mistake a La Chouffe for La Trappe.
After all, it’s the beer list that keeps the locals coming back. They have an excellent cast of regulars with more than a few seasonal or beers of the month to choose from. On that visit, I enjoyed an Ara Bier, from De Dolle brewers, makers of the better-known Oerbier and Stille Nacht. I love Ara Bier! It is a dry, foamy-headed Belgian strong blonde with a memorable, salty-dry finish that leaves you wanting more. It’s a must try.