Friday, September 21, 2007

Beer Shop - Noel Cuvelier's, Poperinge

After some emails back and forth, we came to the conclusion this site misses a 'beer shops' section. People drinking beer, mostly like buying beer as well. And with specialized beer shops all over Belgium, why not share your (and my) finds?
Again, a section open to anyone who would like to contribute. First one to start it off and the originator of the beer shops idea, Michael.
Text and photo: Michael
Website/ blog:



I would expect that most people from the UK who visit Belgium in their own cars like to stock up on their favourite Belgian Beers. I would also guess that the majority returning to the UK would do so via either Calais or Dunkirk, and would probably tend to go to one of the many beer warehouses in and around Calais.
The problems I have found with these warehouses are that they can be a bit pricey, are often full of tourist coaches, but moreover, they tend to concentrate on the mainstream Belgian Beers and therefore lack choice.
The only half decent warehouse I have come across so far, is right on the French side of the border, at a place that I think is called Callicannes – situated behind a petrol station yards from the old Border control.
About a mile or so on the Belgian side though is Noel Cuvelier’s Beer Shop.
Heading out of Poperinge, into the beautiful Flanders countryside, and towards the French Border, set about 200 yards from the main road , is what looks like a farm on the right hand side. (Left hand side if you’re travelling towards Poperinge!).
A small sign at the side of the road, suggests Beer is for sale. Driving up towards the buildings, one would be forgiven for thinking that that this small place in the middle of nowhere was going to be anything special, particularly when you are told that the building you are heading for (with all the crates outside) is for wholesale only, and you are redirected to what, one assumes to be the farmhouse.

Step inside, and you ‘re in a grocers shop – look to the right, and you see your first hint that perhaps this place does sell beer – walk a few yards down the aisle and you will think you are in Beer Heaven. It is an Aladdin’s cave of Belgian Beer. Way to many for me to write down, but the card suggests in excess of 300 different types of beer for sale.

Grab a trolley and raid the shelves – you will very quickly realise that the only problem with visiting this shop is that you don’t have enough room in your car to get everything you want.
Once you’ve filled your trolley, take it to the cash desk, but don’t start putting the bottles on the counter. They don’t scan each bottle in, they simply tell you to get an empty trolley and decant from one trolley to the other, and count the bottles as you decant.
Puzzled? I was too, though when I looked at the till receipt at the end, I could see why – almost all bottles were €1.00 regardless of brand, with only the odd one at either €1.10 or €1.20. (Note though, as with all bottled beer in Belgium, there is a €0.10 refundable bottle charge to add on at the end).
Noel Cuvalier’s Beer shop is certainly on my hit list for my next trip – if you’re passing Dunkirk on the way back, it is well worth the small detour. I don’t remember his exact opening times, but it’s something like 8.30 till 12, and 14.00 till 19.30 every day, except Monday when it is closed.
Andreea (again): do you have a favorite beer shop in Belgium? Any tips / write ups on it you could share with us?

8 comments:

Ray Challoner said...

This place really is beer nirvana. Went with friends before Christmas, with only one intending to buy anything. The other had 15c change left in cash after he'd changed his mind...!!

Went back in March 2008 and some prices have risen to €1.20, many still @ €1.00 though.

Good news is they will definately accept credit cards as long as they're "chip and pin".

Anonymous said...

Trappist beer could be 1.80 for a few. Beer still 1.30. Some 1 Euro like Duvel. Linderman's Kriek there. Chimay HUGE there. A lot of good beer dificult to find and Christmas editions. I did not visit the wharehouse. The shop is on the main road to Poperinge. I recommend travelling from Dunkirk and taking the road to Poperinge as that's the most direct. Then drive out of Poperinge and head north. That is the quickest for Saint Sixtus abbey.

Gareth said...

Thanks so much for this post. I have been trying to research where to buy beer when I am in belgium for a weekend with my own car, and this looks to be just the ticket.

Looks to be a brilliant selection, I will definitely be stopping there on my way back to the UK.

For info - they are open on a Sunday until 7PM, closed from 12-2pm during the day.

Thanks!!

Spry said...

This place is ridiculous. I bought a cart full of mostly rare beer and it was only 25 euro.

By far the best beer store I've been to.

home beer making said...

That is so close to my house. I will get a beer from there.

Bob Oliver said...

Been calling on Noel now since 1998, it never fails to amaze me the huge variety of superb belgian bottled beer's he stocks.Yes,I think 300 different types is quite feasable.I would strongly recommend serious drinkers of quality beer & ale to take the trouble & travel the extra few miles & find "NOEL CUVELIER'S FARM SHOP" BOB OLIVER swineshead boston lincs.

David M said...

November 2011
Just back from Belgium and thought this would be worth looking up. What a gem of a place! Excellent range of beers etc and a really jovial owner to chat to. Beers still mostly in the 1 to 1.5 euro price range. I will be back for more next time.
A word of advice though. From next January 2012, the shop will be closed on both Mondays and Tuesdays as the owner "is getting on" in years. Also he does close for lunch from about 12:00 to 13:00.

David M

Adam Stivala said...

Besides Sint Sixtus for Westvleteren 12, this was the spot to hit in Belgium! I was able to buy 2 double magnums (gulden draak and Queue de Charrue) which I had never seen in the states. The owner, I'm assuming Noel, was super nice. This is a must stop if you are in the area, don't waste your time searching at other shops!