Ready, set go, as Belgians head back to the bars today (8 May), with fresh kegs, clean pipes and glorious beer under cloud cover in most part of the country.
For bars with terraces and rain cover it’s a great relief, even if the weather is not kind today and perhaps tomorrow.
The Beer Idiots will be roaming around, trying to find and share a table, because we expect it will be crowded as the pent up expectations of being with your friends someplace that is not your home get released. Check out our calendar for some of the tap takeovers that have kicked off the reopening.
The Beer Idiots will however remain careful and follow the rules, and we hope everyone venturing out for a taster or two does as well. It is the idiots who think they are immune, and tempt fate who spoil it for the rest of us.
We do not want a third lockdown. It has already hurt the bars we love and the people who work there. We are just happy not to be drinking bad beer on the streets again!
From Brussels, Antwerp, Leuven, Namur, Charleroi, Spa, Liège, Charleroi, to other towns and villages, where bars and restaurants will be getting back on their feet and trying to stand again.
Lots are grateful for the crowdfunding support they received from fans.
Some will not get back up abandoning their trade. I will be visiting all the craft bars I love, just to see what’s going on, if I can find a table, but plan to stay close to home mainly: Python, Le Barboteur (our interview with Sébastien Albanese) and the like.
I will also take at least one beer at the tiny corner bar near me, though their offerings are the usual pinte, as a sign of support. I do like a fresh Stella now and then!
But hail to places like Dynamo, Gist, La Tana, BeerLovers Bar, Dr Beer, and Het Brouwateljee, to name but a few. You can feel that the bar owners who are lucky enough to have terraces and others are happy to see us back just from their Facebook posts (see the screenshots below). Many will be converting from being a beer store to a bar again. Some have even launched early tap takovers to kick off the season.
We also hail places like Billie’s and Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen, which have decided not to re-open as they believe it is too soon. Both took a vote with their staff.
3 Fonteinen, which kept its shop closed during the second lockdown, has announced that it would not reopen the shop or its bar this time out in a group decision with their team.
“Although the situation has improved slightly, the reality remains that the pressure on hospitals is very high,” the brewery stated. “As far as we are concerned, the decrease in the number of infections, hospital admissions and deaths is not yet visible enough. Moreover, the mass vaccinations are still not happening. All of this leads us to conclude that there remains a real risk of a relapse.”
Stéfan Cauwenbergs of Billie’s in Antwerp also did the same with his staff and came to the same conclusion after noting that Covid-19 infections and deaths are still very high, the healthcare system is overloaded and the vaccination strategy is still not at full speed.