Terrific Belgian Meal and Great Beers

The other night we went to the Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Cafe with good friends Roland and Heather. It was our first time there, and we’ll definitely be going back. One thing I like is they’re local local. Just three locations in the area.

Roland and I have had more than one Belgian beer night at my house over the years. I had won a silent auction a few years ago that contained probably 25 different Belgian beers. I had Roland over and we sampled many of them over an evening of smoked rib eye steaks and brew.

What an impeccable night. We got to Cheeky Monk a few minutes early, so I (Marty) started with a draught St. Bernardus ABT 12. I wanted to start with higher alcohol content so I could taper off the alcohol content as the evening went on.

The St. Bernadus is a 10% alcohol and has a fruity, creamy, smooth and bold flavor. It’s what they call a quadruple, Belgian beers are very low on the  “hoppy” bitterness like many European beers (German and Britain come to mind). I do like hoppy beers, but this was very pleasant. They served it to me in a glass like the one on the left in the picture.

“Inspired by the Trappist brewers of Belgium, a Quadrupel is a Belgian style ale of great strength with bolder flavor compared to its Dubbel and Tripel sister styles. Typically a dark creation that ranges within the deep red, brown and garnet hues. Full bodied with a rich malty palate. Phenols are usually at a moderate level. Sweet with a low bitterness yet a well perceived alcohol.” Courtesy Beer Advocate.

Deana ordered a lighter fare, as she’s not so fond of heavy or bolder ales. She ordered their Blanche de Bruxelles, a citrusy, smooth, mellow, light, wheat beer. She loved it and stuck with that all evening.

calamariNext we ordered our appetizers: Their Calamari was, well, OK, not perfect but still very good. We liked the bruschetta they serve on the sides of the plate.

As you can see, it also has some nice olives in there and the breading is very tasty.

We also ordered their Monk Salad. Deana and I weren’t so sure about that, but it was surprisingly delicious. It has a mixture of spring greens with roasted apples, walnuts and gorgonzola crumbles tossed in a warm vinaigrette. Very light, and nice little flavor boosts with every bite. It wasn’t over-dressing’d like many salads. We all shared the appetizers and enjoyed catching up and laughing about old times.

My next Belgian beer choice was their Kwak, a light banana and licorice flavor. Then I ordered a Koningshoeven Quadruple, but they were apparently out of that and they gave me something else – I didn’t catch what that was, but it was excellent. Update: Duh, its the same as La Trappe Quadrupel.  They go by the name of the brewer “Koningshoeven” or the brand of the beer “La Trappe”.

Meanwhile we had gotten our main dish served. We all ordered mussels. Let me tell you, they have four great choices for steamed mussels. The Belgian way is Moules-Frites and mussels and fries combo. The frites come with aioli, a garlicy mayo. Mmmm.

Three of us ordered the Bacon Gorgonzola Moules-Frites, apparently a signature dish:  Bacon, gorgonzola, garlic, shallots, white wine & cream. Wow! That was a locavore’s taste sensation. Deana and I both thought is was a tad rich, not overwhelmed with the Gorgonzola, just overall rich. However, we finished all the mussels and dipped all our bread to finish up the soup. Deana did bring home the rest of her “soup” that she couldn’t finish at the bottom of her dutch mussel pot.

bacon Gorgonzola mussels

Deana will order the mushroom and leek Moules-Frites for an entree next time. That’s what Heather ordered and it was not so heavy and we liked that one better. I’ll order the beer and mustard Moules-Frites, which sounded really good, too.

We got there after 7 PM and noticed the happy hour prices ended a 7PM. but then Deana noticed another happy hour started at 8PM (this was a Thursday). So our tab was quite less than we thought it would be, given the beers range for $4 to $13 per glass. Well worth it if you treat beer like many wine aficionados do.

self serve bar beer foodies coloradoOh, and as we were leaving, I noticed a table that had it’s own taps. They just measure how much you drink and you pay based on that when you tab out. That table had about 8 people at it the whole night we were there.

Cheeky Monk does not have their own brewery, and they carry a huge selection of bottles and draughts. I can’t wait to go back! See you there next time!