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Tuesday, 3 January 2012

'And the rain, it raineth every day' time for a Belgian beer.

It’s been raining on and off today with 60 mile an hour gales so most of my day off has been spent indoors doing a bit of clothes washing, a bit of cleaning and a quick puddle dodging, falling branch evading, nip out to the local Co-Op to get something for tea and other bathroom related shopping – alright – bog rolls. Oooh, you have to lower the tone!

I also purchased a couple of wheat beers which led me to remembering a delightful weekend away in May 2010 when I went to Norwich for a much needed holiday from signing on and job seeking back then. It rained a lot that weekend too but it didn’t spoil my fun. The Adam and Eve pub and the Belgian Monk were two pubs I found as I trudged around the wet cobbled streets in search of adventures, beer, sustenance and photo opportunities, in places with quirky names like, Tombland.

Sunday lunch at the Adam and Eve
How can you fail to like a city that has an area called Tombland?  I found the Adam and Eve pub near the delightful river walk and had a wonderful Sunday dinner of steak and kidney pudding and Spotted Dick there, but the most memorable pub visit was to the Belgian Monk. Like the song New York New York, it was so good I went twice.
Amongst lots of delightful things in the characterful city of Norwich, I discovered this pub in which, should I ever want to move there, I think I would become a very regular visitor. As I said, this pub was called The Belgian Monk and it serves a fantastic array of Belgian beers. According to the beer menu the owners 'go to great lengths to ensure that a varied amount of Belgian beers are available by travelling to Belgium three times a month and enjoy exclusivity from four smaller regional Belgian breweries thus offering beers that are not available anywhere else in the UK.'
I spent two happy evenings in this packed but tiny pub enjoying some fruit beers and Belgian Pilsner and watched, with enormous envy as some student regulars wolfed down big cones of frites (Frieten) and steaming plies of freshly cooked mussels (Mosselen) in their shells. At the time of my visit I was unemployed so I had to watch the pennies, big time. What a shame, as the food looked fab.

The main beers that they sell are Grimbergen Abbey Beer, Belgian Pilsner, Belgian regional specialities, Fruit beers (eighteen at the last count), Guest beers and Low Alcohol beers.  They range between 2.6% and 12% abv and I love their names, mostly Belgian and some French.

The very look and sound of the beer names appeal to me never mind how they taste. Some examples would include: Maes Pils, Sparta Pils, Cuvee de Ciney Bruin, Judas, Ter Dolen Blond. But, to me, the fruit beers have the most exotic sounding names.

Fruit beers: Mort Subite Gueuze, Mort Subite Framboise Extreme, Lindemans Appel, St Louis Peche, Bosbier, Ter Dolen Kriek, Cherish Frambozen, Klokke Rolland, Celis White, Piraat, Gulden Draak, Zwyntje, Monks Café Flemish sour ale, Augustijn, Mea Culpa Blond, Spitfire.

Guest beers: Omer, Hopus, La Chouffe,  McChouffe, Tripel Karmelite, Kwak, Delerium Tremens, Palm, Rochefort, Orval, Bush Blond, Bush Amber, Cuvee de Trolls, DeKoninck.

Apparently, again, according to the beer menu, if you ask for a bollekje, they won’t be offended and they offer a variety of tasty blondes, some stronger than others. Well!! When's the next train?

part of the interior of the Belgian Monk pub
Each of the beers is brewed without pasteurisation and is second fermented in either the bottle or keg. They are ‘living’ beers, strong and easily drinkable. The establishment also does a variety of red, rose, white and sparkling wines and very scrummy food.
Today, I went on their website,, to see what food items they offer and was going to list a few with descriptions for your delectation. However, for a real taste of what this fantastic pub offers you need to check it out yourself by clicking on the link, then the second link for food. It’s like being abroad – except you can understand the menu – and it looks very affordable and mouth wateringly good, and Belgian!

Norwich Cathedral
I may have to go back to Norwich one day (perhaps Delia Smith will invite me) and enjoy this wonderful pub in the heart of Norfolk and maybe, just maybe, another Sunday lunch at the Adam and Eve as well as some Belgian fare at the Belgian Monk.

Adam and Eve pub. Norwich. UK.

Back at the time of my visit I wrote a professional  review for Simonseeks travel website. I would certainly recommend the guest house I stayed in and the lovely city itself.


David said...

Fantastic to see a review of my favourite Belgian pub this side of the North Sea on your blog. I live in Nottingham but visit Norwich 2 or 3 times a year simply so myself and my wife can have Moules Frites and lots of Belgian Beers. I,ll be their again at the end of February and can't wait.

Cheers, David

Gailsman said...

Yes, it has been a grim day today. I got a bit wet cycling to work. Dried out during the morning and then got wet again at lunchtime during an unexpected rainstorm. Alas not a day for photography either.

We must meet up for a beer sometime. I'm a real ale fan, and Wetherspoons do a reasonable range.

Here's a question for you, what was the name of the TV quiz show that was made in Norwich?

lubica said...

hi Phil, trying to leave this recipe somewhere but we have been staring at the computer not knowing where to squeeze it haha x
lubica a and james , customers from regural visits to the supermarket ;-)

just made it yesterday and it s the best bread i ve ever tried ...
just a little warnig if you have a gas oven it might take less than 40 min to cook but opening the oven door isn't very good either as you probably know anyway, so here it is

------oranoponice soda bread -----

in a big bowl goes :
3 1/2 cups wholemeal bread flour
1 cup plain white flour
1/2 cup oats
1 heaped teaspoon bicarb of soda
500ml yogurt ( warm )

now in a sep. cup put 2 tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon sea salt and top it up to the top with warm milk
fold the warm milk mix into the flour mix and give it a good but gentle mix by spatula or whatever handy, i just use hands anyway...
the consistency should be gloopy like a glue but not too runny...
put the mix into the bread tin and sprinkle with what you fancy poppy seeds, sesami seeds etc, also you can add some chopped chives,sundried tomatoes, olives or dill or whatever you fancy...
leave in the oven on 200/gas mark 6 for about 40-50 min will smell when it s ready , it hit my nose!
and voila! scrumtious piece of good staff!
let me know if you read this or even tried it :-)lu and james

Phil Lowe said...

David, great that you frequent this wonderful pub so often with your wife.

Phil Lowe said...

Gailsman: sounds like fun. Erm.... could it be Quiz of The Week?

Phil Lowe said...

Lubica and James! Hi... thanks for leaving a message. The bread sounds fabulous. Will try it sometime. See you soon. x x