If I could be for just one little hour…
June 10, 2008

Some days I dream of escaping London for a bit. Lately I’ve been dreaming of Brussels, a place I have yet to visit. I bought a bottle of Chimay Blue weeks ago and have been saving it for a day like today. (OK, beer pedants– I know Chimay is not brewed in Brussels, but it is Belgian.)

London doesn’t do well in the summer– its broad, grey shoulders look blanched in the sun and can only really seduce when rain-wet. Air conditioning is almost non-existent here, and the city floods with tourists, making it hotter, slower, uglier. What’s a native to do but dream of invading someone else’s city?

(Not to mention I had a miserable day dealing with arrogant, Apple/Mac-cultists at the Regent Street “genius” bar– whoever thought labeling customer service reps “geniuses” was an idiot, but I find myself in one of those I need a drink moments.)

I’ve always shied away from Belgian beers– seeing them as the yuppie choice here in London. So many lovely pubs here eschew British real ale for Belgian brews for which they can charge dearly. I tried Leffe and it left me cold, and Hoegaarden couldn’t charm me either– maybe I needed to pair the right food with it? I lost patience with the precious endeavor. That is until today.

I decided today was a good day to dream with my Trappist aid. The 9% seems to say: GOD(ess) WANTS US TO BE HAPPY. I’d found a Chimay-ready chalice at a charity shop a few days before, and it looked grand in it– amber and cloudy with an optimistic, beige head. It tasted of a dark mysterious fruit, the juice of something Edenic and forbidden. The dominant flavour was alcohol, or maybe that is what I most needed to taste at that moment. Prunes with a sour taste that’s unlike citrus- it is it’s own flavour and it’s delightful. I wished I had a some frieten— comfort food! But as the heady 9% hit me I decided it was time to book that Eurostar ticket.

Eats: yeast pate on seeded bread

While listening to: Jaques Brel– Jackie