Updated: Feb 15
Not a beer drinker? Or you don't know what kind of beer you would like? Don't worry, the doctor will see you.
[Disclaimer: must be 18+ to drink, unless the country's law states otherwise]
I attended a free (tip-based) night tour by the Local Legends in Antwerp. They give day and night tours to people who would want to get to know more about how Antwerp came to be. They also tell fun facts to make it more exciting. The day tour is more based in the city, while on the more based in the city, while on the night tour you start in the city center then slowly head to het Eilandje. After the tour, and if you personally would want to, your group will head to Dr. Beer. Would you believe me, if I told you that a bar could give a cafe atmosphere? Well, this one does. Now let me tell you why I preferred to go to this bar in Antwerp over clubs or bars in the city.
Now a short introduction to how the bar was established. Who knows, this might inspire someone else to open a bar. Either way, let's start!
About 5 years ago, Jeroen Peters didn't really like his job back then and wanted to do something new. Just didn't know exactly what (can relate, right?). He organized parties and concerts at his place. And, beer was coming up all the time. Then he decided to invest his time to educate himself more about beer. He started taking up beer sommelier training [= sommelier ( = 'suh·meh·lee·ei'), also called a cicerone, is a trained professional, working in the hospitality and alcoholic beverage industry, who specializes in the service and knowledge of beer, Wikipedia.] Unfortunately, he got disappointed with the lack of depth in knowledge given. So, he did a lot of self-studying researching online, and reading books. Things about the beer he wanted and needed to know and try to do it as a full profession. Additionally, he also took evening classes to become a brewer and online classes to become a cicerone [= a little similar to beer sommelier, interested? Look it up]. Then as a side profession, he was bartending and did beer sommeliers with tasting; a five-course dinner with matching beers.
He eventually got his first level beer certificate of his cicerone classes, and around this time his side profession started to take over. Unfortunately, balancing both classes and attending to his job was not possible. So he had to quit his online classes. The highest level a person can go to is level four. According to Peters, there are only 17 people in the world that have ever reached that level. He hopes in the future to continue with those classes.
Now understanding how this place came to be, let's talk about the place. First, the atmosphere when you enter the bar, you get the idea that you're entering into someone's living room. To be clear, not the breaking-and-entering-kind, but more of a comfortable and chill place. The beautiful interior is designed by his girlfriend. They also try to match the music with the atmosphere of the bar. Occasionally, they do change their interior here and there to make it prettier, but also not to give the same repetitive style.
Secondly, is the personal touch. Now I usually see waiters helping guests out to choose a wine. But here they help you with beer; if you don't know what you want to drink, that's not a problem. Just state whatever you like to drink, for example, which flavor you prefer, and Peters will help you find that beer that suits you. And if you still aren't sure, he can let you taste it before he pours it for you. Some doctor, huh?
Third, they sell quality products. Concerning the beer, he only chooses the product if he knows the brewers who are behind it. The brewer is the one that chooses the product and not the marketing department. He only makes exceptions for one or two known Belgian beers, like Duvel. The rest are from local and international brewers. Even though Belgian beer is known to be one of the must-try's when you visit the country, Peters opinion is that the Belgium style to make beer isn't always good. "We're not that great in stout style and IPA styles," he says. There are brewers around the world that are better at that. And that there are some styles that are from that specific country. That's why he sells beers from around the world, to let people taste them. He wants to keep his range under 100 types of beers. So that there's a clear range to the ones that'll change and others that will stay at his bar. His current rage is 80 - 100. Additionally, all the food made for customers is from local producers, like the ham, cheeses, sausage and even the nuts served.
Lastly, they also have events at the bar that happens regularly:
Brew Talk on Tuesdays that are aimed at brewers. So if you have a brewing problem, then there's a brewer that's going to talk about a certain subject and may provide a solution for them. So kind of like a really short workshop for brewers, homebrewers, or micro-brewers. Free entrance for this.
Every first Tuesday of the month, they have Beer For Science. A scientist comes to the bar and exchange knowledge for beer. They talk about scientific topics for three minutes in a pleasant way as possible.
Every third Sunday of the month: Lindy hoppers pass by to dance at the bar. They remove all the chairs so people can swing dance at the bar.
Once per three months, they would have concerts. So besides selling beer, they provide the atmosphere with more activities.
I joined the Local Legends Night tour because it was a sub-assignment from my school. And
I'm glad I went, otherwise I would have never known this place. I would usually buy my beer at a Lidl or Albert Heijn because they were either on the way home from school or walking distance. The bar was close by bike or if I didn't mind walking (aka, not be lazy), it wasn't that far either. I have brought people over to this place because the atmosphere is really nice after a long day of exploring or going on mini-adventures. It looks like a cafe, but it's not. They also have board games, in case a friend wants to play. And of course, the owner is very hospitable and has educated me more on beer. When opening up the bar, he gave a mini-workshop to my friend and me. We got to taste different beers from brewers around the world, like Poppels, New England - India Pale Ale (Swedish brewer). After I left Antwerp to continue my study program, I came back occasionally to visit the city and went in for a beer. After a long day of walking, you would probably see me drinking a beer. And here is the place to be. Below you can find the address and their social media.
Adress: Adriaan Brouwerstraat 31, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium [Obligated to close at 23.00 o'clock]
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blogpost are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views of Phryme.