Usually closed. Quintessentially Belgian, impenetrable, fuck-the-customer opening hours. HUGE BONUS POINT. With a cellar as studded with dust-encrusted jewels as this you are entitled to open once each leap year on Candlemas Eve if you can be so bothered to give a fuck. Virtually empty on my visit. Have not managed to gain entry since. Ambience diminished only by the other paying customers, a lobotomised clutch drooling over their first Westvleteren 3. Magnificently grumbling, lugubrious owner (?) who reluctantly excavated a 1978 Flemish brown from some long forgotten brewery for me before falling asleep behind the bar leaving the cat in charge. It tasted like cave-aged carp marinaded in canal water. The beer, not the cat. On awaking the owner furnished us with some cubes of cheese. At the time me and my now-Wife believed Chouffe and Karmeliet to be the best beers on Planet Earth so we had no right to expect our conversation to keep the owner awake. Would love to go back more than anywhere but having disgraced myself in Antwerp since (Karmeliet again) fear the locals would have me kneecapped and thrown into the Scheldt. Maybe next decade..
A relic of a place, cramped, cluttered and comfortable. The only pretence comes from some of the annoying customers. Looking for an old vintage or defunct brewery? This is the place. Also the only place I have seen in Belgium with a water station. Cash only, so bring plenty.
(Updated Sept 2016)
Far out - just catching up on my notes and realised how lucky I am to have spent an evening at Kulminator in late Sept. Smaller and more cramped than I remember from my first visit - a few tables and chairs had been sacrificed for a somewhat shambolic home office set-up...weird. Very peaceful and tranquil for a Tuesday. Like 10yrs ago pricing remains inappropriately insanely low. How about Chimay Blue from the 90s for 10 euro and many other Trappists with 8 to 10 years can be had for 5 or 6 euro. I do wonder to what extent the depth of the cellar has diminished over time as Kulminator’s profile has exploded. Certainly the sours list is not what I remember.
Retails its place at the top of the pile (with others) with a thoroughly globally unique obsession with providing deep verticals of historically important beers. Can the wine world provide a similar example?
(Original Review 2006)
Clearly has strong claims as the greatest beer bar on earth. What an amazing place! Much smaller and casual than what I expected and service was very good for a quite Thrusday night. Needless to say the beer list and vintage list are awesome. 12 beers on tap. An inspirational bar for the aspiring bar owner (I was on a ’research’ trip), my only issue being that the beers were too cheap. An excellent reason to come to Antwerp and sincerely a privilage to drink here.
Muy buen bar es lo que es, solo para tomar buenas cervezas , el lugar parece el living de la abuela, es unos de los pocos bares que encontraras cervezas de guarda con muchos años , ir temprano por hay poco lugar y nada
Weirded place i’ve seen in a long time! Stuff everywhere, beer-merch everywhere, dolls and stacks of paper. The selection on tap is small but well chosen. The bottle list is out of this world with old vintages of a shitton of more and less rare beers. Very cozy, small, prices are great, nice old people. And the woman sure knows how to pour a beer, haha!