Just a few steps from Place Flagey and housed in one of Brussels’s modest flat-iron buildings on the corner of Malibran and Scarron, is a beer-lover’s paradise. Since opening in 2012, the Malting Pot has been offering customers over 200 different craft beers, all selected for flavour, originality and quality ingredients.
The premises manage to be cosy and airy at the same time. Stepping into the small establishment, you’ll see simple wooden shelves stocked with attractive bottles and cans of beer you’re unlikely to find anywhere else in Brussels. IPAs, sours, gueuzes, stouts, ales, bitters – these beers come from all over the world. The quirky labels catching your eye are just as artisanal as the beers themselves. Each beer is carefully chosen and the stock is reviewed regularly, meaning there are often new discoveries to be made before they hit the shelves anywhere else.
The counter has the feel of a pop-up bar. The owner, originally from Tehran, studied archaeology and wrote his thesis on the history of beer from Mesopotamia. He’d always dreamt of running a bar or beer store, and after two years working in an unrelated field, he’d saved enough to open a shop and share his passion with the buying public. If you’re unsure about committing to a bottle of the UK’s Buxton Trolltunga Gooseberry Sour, or you can’t read the Swedish information on the can of Poppel’s Fruit Ale, he will be delighted to give you the low-down on flavour profiles and production methods.
‘I was doubtful when I saw Strawberry Daiquiri on the label,’ he might say. ‘But when I tasted it, it was tangy and not overly sweet. They add real strawberry pulp.’
Need a recommendation of a stout for your carbonnade recipe? This is the place to come: ‘I’d try this Christmas Ale. It’s deep and a bit spiced, but not too sweet.’
With something for all tastes, it’s tempting to settle down, lean into that counter and make a session of it. ‘Maybe I’ll be able to open a bar in the future,’ says our host. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Meanwhile, don’t wait for Christmas to treat yourself.