I made it to Belgium, and 3 Fonteinen was right at the top of my list.
The atmosphere in the restaurant is fantastic. Quaint and serene, spacious and inviting. Service with a smile.
I spoke with Armand for a few hours about the brewery, lambic, etc. while enjoying a 1997 Oude Gueze (and a few others as well). The Kriek, lambic, kriekenlambik, faro are all must tries if you are fortunate enough to make it here.
Passion, tradition, quality, it’s all here. My experience was so amazing here that I returned for another lengthy visit in lieu of visiting some of Belgium’s best breweries. That will have to wait for a subsequent visit. Overall, this was simply mind blowing. A bucket list kind of experience for me.
When I arrived I was informed that they were not currently serving cooked food, dinner started at 6pm. I decided to grab a snack and a couple beers then head back to the hotel for a quick snooze before grabbing some dinner. The first beer that I wanted was their Gueuze. After I had ordered it the waitress went to the bar and requested a Gueuze. The barkeep then pulled out the traditional bottle of Lambic lying at a 15-degree angle in a wicker basket. The bottle was carefully opened and poured without disturbing the yeast. This was definitely the best Gueuze I had ever had. For my next beer I decided to try the draft Kriek. It was quite good as well. At this point I went back to the hotel for that exciting nap. Had to recoup for the night ya’know.p
I arrived back at Drie Fonteinen around 7pm. The place was a lot more lively than it had been earlier with many a person enjoying the various interpretations of Lambic. The first beer that I decided to try was the Bottled Kriek. It uses the same type of cherries as the draft version (Schaerbeek). The next beer that I tried was the Lambic, it was again far mellower than I was expecting, but was very good.
I started out with a shrimp salad accompanied by a Kriek beer vinaigrette. The salad had some surprisingly tasty sprouts that were small, thin and had a great almost aggressive onion flavor to them.
I decided to go for broke on the next beer that I ordered, so I ordered the vintage 1995 bottling of the Gueuze, which means that the majority of the beer contained therein was at least 8 years old, if not more. The waitress whisked off to the bar (after making sure that I actually wanted a beer that only came in 750 ml bottles) to request the beer from the bartender. The bartender promptly disappeared down into the cellar. He appeared again a few minutes later reverently holding the bottle at the proper angle (again about 15-degrees). The bottle was carefully put in a basket that maintained the angle properly and brought to me. At this point I was getting giddy with excitement, or was that full day of beer consumption. Either way I was anticipating the sampling of this one. As an accompaniment to the meal that I had (a wonderful salmon filet) it was quite nice, with a hint of an alcoholic finish to it that was brought out by the fish.
I ended the night with some chocolate mousse that was a surprisingly good companion to the Gueuze.
(1997) We stopped in for a few drafts during their "family/crew meal" - the owner rousted us and dragged us around the brewery for an impromptu tour - awesome!
Bought several dusty bottles of Gueze to go. Really nice experience.
I had an absolutely great time here. We enjoyed an awesome traditional Belgian meal accompanied by a ’98 Vintage Geuze. Afterwards, an impromptu brewery tour and trip to the bottle shop really finished off the experience. It was one of the highlights of my trip to Belgium, and definitely worth the effort it took to get out there.
This place is great, hanging at the restaurant for a while drinking Armand’s great gueuze amongst other offerings. Food was fantastic, prices were very good. Went up to the store and hung with Armand himself. He was extremely kind and very open to discussing his beer and beer in general. Got a quick tour of the barrel room and met his wife as well. Great spot!
A few things have changed since I first visited 3F in 2006. This one-place entry in ratebeer used to be for the bottle shop and the restaurant. Starting late 2009 there is now three separate places at the 3 Fonteinen location.
- Bottle Shop + Brewery: Cavernous bottle shop with the brewery in the back where you can buy beer usually directly from Armand. If Armand is not too busy and he realizes you’re a beer lover he will give you the tour in the back. That’s what he did with me. We drank lambic from the barrels together. I also bought a few Millenium Gueuze from him in spring 2010 but don’t count on any still available by now.
- Restaurant: A restaurant where you can eat quality local food. The restaurant has a true mom-and-pop restaurant feeling. And of course 3 Fonteinen lambik on tap and in bottles.
- Pub: The Lambik O Droom (that’s what it is really called) opened late 2009. It is a nice little countryside pub right next to the bottle shop. It is mostly a week-end thing but while he runs the bottle shop Armand will let you in and serve you some tap lambic (Faro, and lambics). A very friendly place.
Conclusion: Each place is worth the trip by itself. They all have different opening hours and you visit each for a different reasons. We should really think about creating three separate entries for these.
MrChopin (100) Baltimore, Maryland | November 6, 2011| Updated July 28, 2012
Easily the best of the lambic spots we visited. Arriving right before the end of the lunch hours (they don’t serve after 2 or 3p), we enjoyed draft lambic, then the ’97 bottle. Service is typical European, allowing us to enjoy the patio out back which is unfortunately squared in and thus affords no views of the countryside. The food is stellar (the salmon is a must).
Then we walked over to the tasting room to meet with Armand, soft-spoken and open, sharing stories and hopes for lambic and future brewing. One hour, then two roll by as we open bottles
Then he accompanies us to the shop as we buy lambic, glasses, shirts to go. A fantastic visit, never rushed but perfectly accommodated. I look forward to years of visiting the master.
This review will stand for both the shop and restaurant, since the brewery was unavailable for tour. We stayed only for a brief late morning visit, enough to enjoy a single bottle of a geuze in the restaurants gorgeous garden, and to purchase some gifts for ourselves and others in the shop. Lydie was overwhelmingly kind as she offered us tastings of the excellent spirit
d’armand and offered another perspective on what to do in Belgium. A lengthier visit is in store next time.