ABBEY NO. 8 IS AN INTERESTING BEER BOTTLESHOP ACROSS FROM ANTWERP CATHEDRAL:
It was 10:00 am and the Church of our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal) was yet to open. Our apologetic guide said that whenever there is a large event on, they may open later, but there was no notice on the door to give us a hint as to when that might be.
As we waited for Antwerp’s highlight attraction to open, we looked around at the shops in Handschoenmarkt. One shop that caught our attention was Abbey No. 8, the Belgian Beers and Brews bottleshop across from Antwerp cathedral.
Abbey No. 8 – Beer Lovers’ Heaven!
What was eye-catching about this beer store was its wooden shelves laden with rows and rows of neatly stacked bottles of different Belgian beers – in fact 100 of the best Belgian beers, according to its owner.
As we’re interested in Belgian beers, and not to mention that Tony likes drinking them, we walked into the shop to check out the huge variety of beers that this small bottleshop carries. We weren’t disappointed…
What’s interesting about Belgian beers is the requirement that each beer must have its own specific beer glass and this shop had all the requisite beer glasses. What a beer photo opportunity!
The shop’s owner was busy with his work and I was hoping that he’d be too preoccupied with his work to notice me taking snaps of the different beers – you know how some shopkeepers don’t like you taking pictures of their goods. That didn’t last very long and he soon came over to us. But rather than being annoyed, Jan was very friendly and asked us if we wanted to taste some beers.
A Friendly Chat about Strong Beer10 am was a bit early for beer tasting but we stayed and chatted to Jan about his shop and the beers that he stocked. Tony also took the opportunity to ask him what his strongest beers were and he showed us the Malheur 12, which won the 2013 World’s Best Dark Beer award and the Bush – both of these are ABV 12% which is stronger than a 750 ml bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.
Being a devoted fan of Guinness, Tony was not convinced about Malheur 12 being the world’s best dark beer … and so the discussion went on about the differences between Malheur 12 and Guinness. A less controversial comment was in regard to De Koninck being the most popular Antwerp beer. Antwerp is home to the De Koninck brewery and their beer can be found on draught in most pubs.
Although we would have liked to chat on further with Jan about Belgian beers, we had limited time in this town and had to leave.
Abbey No. 8 has beer tasting sessions and they also sell gift packs of beers, beer glasses and some liqueurs. I was quite tempted to buy the beer glasses, but knew that they wouldn’t survive the rest of our long trip.
If you find yourself locked out of the Antwerp cathedral, take a stroll across to Abbey No. 8 where you’ll find spirits of a different kind. These guys are open 7/7 from 09:30 – 17:00.
Do you have a favourite Belgian beer? Did you find something interesting in Jan’s shop?
Abbey No. 8