Posted by: travelrat | March 5, 2008

Belgian Beer and a Silly Sign

There are three good things to come out of Belgium. Chips, chocolate and waffles. And beer! … Oh, hell! Let’s start again. There are four good things to come out of Belgium … (with apologies to Monty Python)

As you probably know, Belgium brews some excellent beer. But, there are only a fraction of the breweries there used to be because, when the Germans invaded in World War Two, they took away a lot of the copper vats and pipes. They said they needed the copper for the war effort, but Belgians think they just didn’t like the idea of anyone brewing better beer than they did.

Nevertheless, there are still enough left to make Belgium not only a magnet for beer-o-philes, but also for collectors of ‘breweriana’ … that is, stuff associated with the brewing and selling of the stuff. Especially glasses; each brew has its own specially-crafted glass. For a barman to pour, for instance, Leffe Blond into a distinctive, hexagonal Hoegaarden glass is considered a blasphemy just short of serving it warm.

In Antwerp, the local De Konincke beer is served in a distinctive, goblet-like glass called a ‘bollecke’ … but, I’d advise English-speakers just to ask for ‘a glass of beer’!

In Antwerp also is a shop selling breweriana … glasses, T-shirts, bar towels … and beer! And, the street it stands in is … the subject of my ‘silly sign’ this week! (As far as I know, it doesn’t mean what it sounds like in English!)

Before we leave Belgium, I’m sure you’ve heard the ‘Three Famous Belgians’ joke … my picks are Jean-Claude Van Damme, Tin-tin and Stella Artois. Yours?



  1. You should do a book of all those signs. They are classics!

  2. Somebody beat me to it! There was a book dedicated to them published last year. I have’t seen the book itself, but there were some excerpts on a news website I sometimes look at … including three signs in my ‘collection’

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