Discover the beer and breweries of Belgium.

On the beer trail in Mons with Dubuisson

Email  •  Print

Author: Erik Verdonck / Published: 2015-04-22 16:19:56 +0200 / Last Updated: about 5 years ago

Cuvée des Trolls at La Pompe Benoit, Mons Cuvée des Trolls at La Pompe Benoit, Mons

MONS - As joint European Capital of Culture for 2015, Mons is showing its best face to the world this year. This is the place where Vincent Van Gogh swapped the life of a preacher for that of a painter. Mons, Belfort Belfort of Mons

And the city, situated amongst the coal mines of the Borinage, has managed to preserve its historic character while introducing innovations.

Alongside the high-tech railway station designed by Spanish neofuturist architect Calatrava, and a brand new conference centre are the baroque belfry and the ancient Doudou festival – an annual battle to defeat a dragon – which are both listed by UNESCO for their contribution to world heritage.

Certainly if you happen to be in or around Mons at the beginning of June "Le Doudou" or Ducasse de Mons is a not-to-be-missed event. Harking back to the 14th century this colourful feast attracts thousands of visitors to Mons every year.

Today however, we are here on the trail of beer... On a fine spring day, the terraces on the central square are crowded. The gothic town hall, dating back to the times of the Dukes of Burgundy, sparkles in the sunshine. I take a chance and follow a local, pausing to stroke the head of the Bush, Dubuisson, Café A La Mer Café A La Mer
bronze monkey on the façade of the town hall.

I soon find myself in Café A La Mer, a beacon in this sea of terraces. A regular enjoys his Bush Triple.

The fresco beside him brings to life the spectacular “dragon rodeo” that each year sends shockwaves through the crowds that throng the square outside.

I have watched them pulling the hairs out of the dragon’s tail for good luck.

Around the corner, AmBushadeur La Lorgnette looks rather like a night club. Here they serve you a Bush Ambrée straight from the tap.

You can also order a Pêche Mel Bush beer cocktail, flambéed, for two, three or more people. It’s a convivial glass to share, once the flames have died down.

Bush, Dubuisson The Pêche Mel Bush beer cocktail


A small, winding road takes me to the Parc du Château, where the gothic belfry with its baroque clock tower rises high above the city. The view amply rewards the effort. Cuvee des trolls Le Sherlock Holmes

The nearby church of Saint Waltrude also impresses, with its 16th-century stained-glass windows, Renaissance sculptures, and its unique church treasure, the relics of Saint Waltrude and the historic Car d’Or carriage used to transport them in their annual procession.

The entire city is heaving on that day. The ‘golden’ carriage has to be pulled in one go, urged on by the cheering crowds, to the top of the steep road that leads to the church to ensure a year of good fortune.

Today, in contrast, the Excelsior café at the central square is a haven of quiet. In this landmark establishment you can enjoy a Belgian specialty beer in style.

A regular, never venturing far from the bar, knows exactly what he wants. He gestures and a Cuvée des Trolls makes its way towards him.

My next stop, Le Sherlock, promises a whodunit. This café has a very British look, with cask ale being pumped by hand. The famous detective, wearing his deerstalker hat and with his ubiquitous pipe in hand, gives me an enquiring gaze from the wall at the back. “Jean Dehan, the opera singer, painted the mural,” café manager Pascal Houssin tells me.

Pascal seems clouded in mystery too, or am I just dreaming? In no time at all, he conjures up a Cuvée des Trolls and the illusion is working - I find myself in a train carriage travelling through the London of Sherlock Holmes.

Dubuisson, Mons Le Sherlock

Regular customer

La Pompe Benoît, a local café with many loyal customers, dates back to the 1930s. This is one of the oldest cafés in the city, one of those places where everyone feels at home immediately. Bush Blonde, Dubuisson One for the road...

On its walls, a display of artefacts celebrates Belgian beer history. Café manager Eric Wegnez has a weakness for vintage serving trays and adds to his collection all the time.

I admire a kaleidoscope of faded colours and logos in which I recognise many beer brands, both past and current.

“I have 180 trays on display. Most of them with their original enamel glaze,” Eric tells me. “Where do I find them? Mainly at flea markets and through friends and acquaintances."

"But it is getting harder to collect them. The market for these collector’s items is open and my hobby is becoming ever more expensive.”

“Waiter, I’ll have a Bush please!” A customer places his order. It goes without saying that it has to be an Ambrée. A good café manager knows what his regulars want.

After an enjoyable day experiencing Mons' liquid culture it is time to start heading back to the station for a long but safe trip home, but not before we open a last bottle to celebrate this year's European cultural capital...

Recent Blog Posts

Brussels Beer Challenge 2019, and the winners are...
BRUSSELS/MONS - We’ve made our way down to the historic city of Mons (Bergen) for the eighth edition of the international Brussels Beer Challenge. A 90-strong jury is busy tasting; there are four morn ... [ read more ]
Brugge Tripel contributes to renovation of Burgundian chapel of worship
BRUGES - This city draws you back in time to the heydays of the Burgundian era. After years of renovation works the Gruuthusemuseum has re-opened its doors. This former city ... [ read more ]
Brewers of Europe Forum 2019: Craftsmanship on the old continent
ANTWERP - Brewers from 59 different countries flocked to attend the Brewers of Europe Forum 2019 in the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Hall, right next to the renowned Antwerp Central Station building. ... [ read more ]
Craftsmanship and balance at brewery Van Steenberge
ERTVELDE - To track down a brewer within his own domain is a high-ranking form of sports, or that’s the impression I get. After a bit of practice I spot Jef Versele, CEO of the Van Steenberge brewery, ... [ read more ]
Brussels Beer Challenge 2018 - The results!
MECHELEN - The historic city of Mechelen, halfway between Brussels and Antwerp, is truly a hidden gem. The presence of the Dukes of Burgundy, who ruled here in the late middle ages, still permeates th ... [ read more ]


You must be logged in to leave a comment



Brewery visits: The Brasserie Dubuisson tour

PIPAIX - Embark on the new visitor experience at Dubuisson. You can put your own group together for a tour of the Dubuisson brewery. Group visits require a minimum of 15 participants and are available ... [ more ]

On the Dubuisson beer trail in Tournai

TOURNAI/DOORNIK - Only a long stone’s throw away from Brasserie Dubuisson lies one of the oldest cities in Belgium. When I hear the name of Tournai (Doornik), colourful images from the history books ... [ more ]

From tank to tap: Dubuisson's Brasse-Temps

MONS / LOUVAIN-LA-NEUVE - In September 2000, Brasserie Dubuisson unveiled its Le Brasse-Temps café-brewery in the university city of Louvain-la-Neuve. Three years on, a second brewpub bearing the ... [ more ]


More Beer

This is a venerable brew, which has recently marked its 80th anniversary. 1933 was the year that the Bush Ambrée (Scaldis Ambrée) was first introduced, under the name of Bush Beer.... [ more ]

Beer Tourism Newsletter Signup

Enter your name and email address on the right and click "SignUp" to join.