Belgo mixes up some strange brews

Restaurant's beer cocktails include unlikely ingredients

May 1, 1999 - British-based Belgo has announced that its latest bar venture, Bierodrome (just opened in Islington and due to open in other locations), will be serving a range of drinks mixing Belgium's finest ales with other equally punchy ingredients.


"A lot of Belgian brewers are going to kill me for doing this," said Marc Stroobandt, the man behind these creations. He admits his countrymen would never consider bastardising their brews in this way. "But all we are trying to do is change people's perceptions of what beer is about."

The concoctions include offerings such as Monk's Head (Mandarin Napoleon, mandarin genever, orange juice and a fruit beer called Belle Vue Kriek). It doesn't look, taste or burp like beer.

This isn't the first time the Belgo Group has dabbled with beer cocktails. When the Schnoegaarden (a shot of fruit genever with Hoegaarden beer) was introduced at its first London branch a few years ago, not only did the drink achieve cult status but so did the miniature Hoegaarden glasses it was served in.

People have been mixing things with their beer for years. In Germany, Berliner Weisse wheat beer is often laced with schnapps, and in some bars you can still order a Traffic Light. This is a series of three beers, with herbal essence (woodruff) and raspberry syrup providing the green and red ends of the spectrum. The Berlin-based brewery Kindl has even published a book on mixed drinks based on Weissbier. Suggestions include wheat beer with orange juice (a sort of poor man's Buck's Fizz). In Canada, braver souls soothe sore heads with a Calgary Red Iron - an avoidable mix of lager, tomato juice and raw egg.

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