03 July 2016

Antwerp - 1 - De Koninck

It was appropriate that my first beer on arrival in Antwerp should be a 'Bolleke De Koninck' (named after the shape of the glass).
The A.P.A. on the De Koninck label stands for Antwaarpse Pale Ale. The eponymous 5.2% ABV beer is brewed with pale barley malt, caramelised malt and Saaz-Saaz hops from the Czech Republic. Tasting notes from the brewery suggest 'Slightly malty with a note of caramel. Slightly hoppy and a hint of cinnamon'.
Dageraadplaats is a traffic free square lined with cafes and brasseries, the ideal place to stop for a beer after walking from Antwerpen-Berchem station towards Tryp hotel via Cogels Osylei in the Zurenborg district of the city with its stylish architecture.
Cogels Osylei, Zurenborg, Antwerp
De Koninck's Antwerp city brewery was established in 1833. It is located about a kilometer from Antwerpen-Berchem station and we would pass the side entrance of the brewery later in the weekend. The brewery is open for tour experiences from Tuesday to Sunday.
De Koninck - Antwerp City Brewery
We could have spent all Friday afternoon at cafes in Dageraadplaats but we were keen to check in and head for the Beer Passion Weekend, held annually in Groenplaats, Antwerp. 24 June 2016 was the first day of BierPassie Weekend XVII.
We headed off towards the hotel leaving Dageraadsplaats but we would return to the tree-lined square later in the evening!
Museum aan de Stroom
On Saturday morning we enjoyed a visit to the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) near the river Scheldt in the Eilandje district of Antwerp.
Panoramic views of Belgium's second largest city can be obtained from the roof terrace accessed by a series of escalators.
We passed Het Steen, Antwerp's oldest building, on the riverside and saw the statue of Lange Wapper, the giant, a Flemish folklore character, at the approach to the castle entrance.
We walked from here to Aura Brasserie at Hoogstraat 34, a pedestrian street between Groenplaats and the river.
For our first beer of the day we each ordered a draught 'Bolleke' of De Koninck which was served to our table near the window. We ordered omelettes for lunch which were served with slices of bread and individual salads encircled by a cucumber strip 'wall'.
Simon mentioned that in previous years the group would usually sit in the vine-covered patio area at the back of Brasserie Aura but with intermittent light rain this was not an option today.
As editor of Ullage, the West Berkshire CAMRA magazine, I took the opportunity to leave a copy with the proprietors of Aura Brasserie who had catered for our group so well. I look forward to revisiting the brasserie on my next visit to Antwerp.
Before heading to the Beer Passion Weekend festival in Groenplaats for the second time we would try another local beer recommended by the brasserie - Seef bier from Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie. This will be the subject of a separate blog post on BeerEurope. Roger Protz has already written about Seef after meeting Johan Van Dyck in 2012.

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