I’ll be upfront: I consider De la Senne my favorite brewery in Belgium, and I consider Yvan De Baets the best brewer in Belgium. Taras Boulba and Taras Runa, Crushable Saison (and the new 3.2% version), as well as ongoing series of hoppy Belgian pale ales, De la Senne shines where few others go: low strength, dry to off-dry, intensely hoppy Belgian ales with immense depth.
The understated minimalist character of the Brasserie de la Senne tap room is a testament to letting the product speak for itself. Tucked down a narrow business driveway with little signage or promotion, this bare bones taproom seems to have come about in response to increasing beer tourism rather than seeking such.
Case in point, we were told that the famed Taras Boulba was not available that day due to allocations reserved for area stores and restaurants. Though our loss on that day, the growing popularity of Boulba is a welcome idea in a world where people drink more well-marketed dull beer than anything else. Not even XX Bitter has attained this near-cult status in it’s home country. Boulba seems to draw people in with both aesthetics and drinkability, and most who drink it do not seem to think they are drinking a dry beer, but rather a hoppy beer, which is all fair and fine. The point is, young drinkers in Belgium are excited about an artisanal 4.5% dry and hoppy beer, which is heartening as long as the popularity does not get to a point where the beer becomes impossible to find.
Thankfully, there are still enough places in Brussels to find De la Senne, but if you have any concern for freshness and state, you know the right move is to buy from the source. Rather than take our chances at Brussels beer shops and cafes, we drove out to the brewery in west Brussels before heading south to the day’s destination in Hainaut. Brasserie De la Senne is not walkable from central Brussels, it’s not in a sexy location like Moeder, instead this place is all about the beer.