During my recent visit to Brussels I was able to stop at two establishments I first became aware of a dozen years ago: A La Mort Subite and Delirium Cafe. My gateway to Belgium beer was the Canadian brewer Unibroue. After having my eyes opened to see beyond American craft beer by beers like La Fin du Monde and Trois Pistoles, my natural progression was to Belgian beers. After all, they did pretty much invent the styles, although Unibroue has a their own flair and are top shelf beers.
So just by luck I had a weekend near Belgium, and my sister was traveling there on business, so that set the wheels in motion for this experience to happen. A Friday night, and here I was sitting in A La Mort Subite enjoying Classic Belgian beers at their origins. Mort Subite Blanche Lambic was as my waiter friend Massimo in Napoli would say “an esperiance”. It was so good I had to go back the following day for more.
As I was savoring both the beer and the food, I became aware of the great fortune I have. I’m not wealthy in a monetary sense, but my work has enabled me to have a wealth of experiences. Here I was in Brussels, at a bar I had heard of but never imagined I would ever see. It wasn’t a dream; it was not my goal of this trip or even remotely related to why I was in Europe, but fate found me here. Surrounded by people from different countries at every table, A La Mort Subite is a virtual United Nations of beer. Aussies, Brits, Irishmen, Japanese, Chinese, French, German, Belgian, and American all united in beer. Families, groups of men and women, and some of us solo but definitely not alone.
Discussions of politics one side and selfies with an 18″ slice of bread on the other. All of us so different in some ways, but sitting around tables and around radiators that look like they date back to 1910 when Theophile Vossen first opened the doors. At this moment, we had much more in common than we had differences; oh, if only we as a global society could come to this realization every day. How small would the world’s problems be then?
They say A La Mort Subite was named after a dice game “Sudden Death”, which was played at the cafe in its early days. People started to meet “at the sudden death”, so Mr. Vossen changed the name in 1928. It seemed a very odd name to me, at least until I spent an evening there. This is the place where differences come to die. A La Mort Subite; take time to embrace the good and let the bad in life fade away for a while.