765) Hop Devil – The Belgian Room
Next door to the "other" Hop Devil and connected to it through a hallway is this separate bar that sells only Belgian and Belgian style beers. It has a separate entrance from the street and there is a store between the two sides so, in my book at least, it counts as a different bar.
It is smaller on this side and has the dark ambience of one of the old “brown” bars in Amsterdam. I was talking to the Steve, the manager, and he said that was the kind of feel they were aiming for. The dark wood bar is fairly small with plain wood barstools and just a narrow foot rest. The back bar is a combination of a curved set of shelves holding the various styles of glasses that one uses to serve the various beers. There are some carved statues of what I guess are Belgian elves on the upper shelves. This little section is the only really well-lit area in the bar and it is where Erin plies her trade.
Erin Posing, Not Plying
Actually, Erin was my bartender yesterday too, but she didn’t want me to take her picture then. I must be losing my touch; it took me two days to talk her into it. She is very nice though and fun to talk to when she isn't too busy. The owner was here too and he, along with the manager, were both very pleasant and conversational. We had quite a conversation about bars and beers.
Also behind the bar is a large cooler with glass doors where the bottled beers are kept.
Bare orange light bulbs hang from the ceiling by electrical cords and there are a few orange lights with somewhat of a nautical look to them hanging on the walls. There are a couple of round wood tables with chairs and booths along the wall opposite the bar. The other bright spot here is the flashy internet jukebox in a corner behind the booths. There is also a Big Buck Hunter machine in the back that looked a bit out of place.
The ambience was definitely old European and once my trek of a thousand bars is over I can see myself spending some serious time here. Belgian beers are a bit pricey, some over $25 a bottle, although we are talking a good sized bottle. I kind of view it like drinking a nice wine though, especially if you drink it with a nice bowl of mussels.
I had a bottle of Bink Bloesem and the Mysterious Chinese Woman had a glass of Peche Lambic. The Pech Lambic is a low alcohol, 2.5% , peach flavored beer, a bit too sweet for my tastes unless you had a glass after dinner as kind of a dessert. Mine was a bit more robust with a bit of a pear back flavor to it, but nothing overpowering. Steve then gave me a draft St. Bernardus ABT 12 to try and it was very good indeed. It is a quadruple and that means it is stronger and generally has more flavor than the other styles. And flavorful it was. It is very dark and has a nice creamy head. You wouldn’t want to just pound these down but a great beer. That is another thing about Belgian beers. Even though they are expensive they are also strong and so flavorful that you tend to drink them slowly. For the price of two or three rather, in my opinion, bland domestic beers you could get one really good Belgian beer that would last just as long (and have as much alcohol too).
Finished up my beers and headed down the street to Jules, a French bistro I had visited before. Had a nice bottle of wine, a good dinner, and listened to some great live jazz. It was kind of like I made a quick trip to Europe tonight.
Just one bar today bringing my total to 765 and leaving 235 to go.