I (Alex) ended up in early December flying from the US back to the desert from Newark Airport in New Jersey. After passing through all the formalities, I noticed a new addition to the traditional eateries one usually finds in all US airports: the Belgian Beer Café. Yep, that’s what it is called. And on top of everything, this happened to be their opening night. I couldn’t pass such an opportunity and decided to check the place out.
On initial inspection, I was completely flabbergasted since I have never seen a selection of Belgian beers like this one outside of Brussels before. They had it all: Ambers, Dupples, Trappist and Abbey beers, even (unheard off!) Fruit Lambics. A beer lovers paradise in an Airport? These guys must be joking? Well, apparently they weren’t.
The owner, Jeffrey Daunt (Senior Operations Director for HMS Host), explained that since Newark was an international airport they felt that there was a niche to fill by offering high-end Belgian beers. I wondered where they find such a variety of beers. “Not easy, we have to buy from five distributors to fill the bar, but we hope that our customers will enjoy a beer or two before they fly.” Sure as hell, I did, a few to be exact (they had some excellent food as well).
If you are ever in Newark Airport and love beer as much as the other guy, don’t miss the Belgian Beer Café (operates in several countries), you will be reminiscing about it – thousands of feet in the air.
Alex discovered this place more than a decade ago. No wonder, knowing his love for beer. 1516 Brewing Company is an Irish pub/microbrewery/restaurant that is very difficult to beat. It is popular with locals and expats, and it is easy to understand why. 1516 serves excellent food (gourmet style at pub prices), offers their own beer, a fine selection of wines and the service is impeccable. The place is full 24/7 and on special occasions you get to listen to some groovy tunes live. On a lazy Saturday afternoon during the summer months you can sit outside, puffing on a Havana and sipping whatever you fancy: we doubt that they will not have it. Be it an exotic beer (how about a Russian Stout), a Spanish Rioja or a shot of vodka with some cool chaser. The Vienna diplomatic community loves the place, international personalities can be seen rubbing shoulders, and, to make a long story short, everybody seems to have a great time. This is definitely the in-place in Vienna, especially for those who enjoy long evenings in good company over a few beers. Alex no longer lives in Austria but whenever a member of the samandthedunes team passes through, this is the one place we never miss to stop by. Bottom line, if you are in Vienna, you must visit the 1516 Brewing Company. We promise – you will not be disappointed!