Created in 2017 in St-Servais, the Craft Beer Market (Editor’s note: the Beer Market in its infancy) was taken over in 2018 by François-Xavier Pennincks. Since 2020, this store, which offers more than 600 different references in special beers, has established its quarters in Place d’Armes, in Namur. On May 19, after months of work, the Craft Beer Market will have its own bar. “It’s a combination of circumstances”, explains the boss François-Xavier Pennincks. “Below the store, there is a cellar in which I had already planned to hold small tasting evenings or zythology courses. But it turns out that the dry-cleaning shop next door was for sale. I didn’t want to miss the chance.”
The Craft Beer Market bar will be more of a tasting place, rather than a drinking establishment. “We will have a small living room with a sofa and small armchairs, wall shelves with high stools and a longer, traditional table with a bench seat and chairs. We will be able to accommodate between 30 and 35 people seated in a chill atmosphere”, specifies Thibaut Delchevallerie, employee at the CBM. The opening hours will also stick to this concept. Wednesday to Saturday, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
In the next few days, six beer pumps will be installed. A figure that can increase to twelve during major events. “We will offer between 50 and 60 beers to taste, only foreign beers. These are always a little more expensive, but the formats are also different: 44 or 50cl. So there is the possibility of taking one or two or have three to taste. On our side, we will cut back a little on our margin so that it remains accessible”continues Thibaut Delchevallerie. “We will also have some non-alcoholic drinks because there is a demand, some artisanal soft drinks, tea and cider. With some exceptions, there will be no pils.”
The objective of the bar is obviously to introduce unknown beers. “Here, we have English, French, Spanish, Latvian, Polish, American, Canadian beers, etc. They all come from good breweries, sometimes microbreweries, but which are recognized worldwide. We have a regular clientele at the store but often stay on what they know. Here, we will offer rarer things. You have to come with an open mind.”
With this bar, a link will also be made directly with the Craft Beer Market shop. “If someone has tasted a beer at the bar that they like, they can come and buy it directly. Conversely, someone who has bought a beer from us can go and sit at the bar to drink it.”
Pairings of cheeses and charcuterie, in collaboration with Maître Corbeaux and Les Salaisons du Lothier, are also part of the concept. “They know the styles of beer we sell and we already know what goes with what.” In summer and winter, other dishes (secret for now) will be offered to accompany these beers.
Le Bînome restaurant offers beer-pairing
Located on Avenue Jean Materne in Jambes since 2016, the Bînome restaurant combines each of its dishes (starters, main courses and desserts) with a beer. “We renew the menu every month and therefore the beer list as well. Since we moved to Jambes six years ago, we have already offered more than 400 beers”, says one of the restaurant’s two chefs, Christophe Pater. No fixed beer menu there. “This is not where you will find Leffe or Grinbergem, for example. We only offer Belgian because financially, it is not easy to highlight foreign beers. There are plenty of microphones or nanobreweries to find something a little out of the ordinary. We offer three starters, three main courses and three desserts, each time with beers that go with it.”
On the first weekend of June, a special beer menu will be concocted at Le Binôme, in collaboration with the Craft Beer Market. Belgian and foreign beers will be offered. “The choice of beers will be explained to the customer. The menu has not yet been established, neither will the choice of beers, but that will be soon.” 24 covers can be accommodated.