Sunday, July 15

Infused: Restaurant Review: Cafe Benelux

Cuvee des Trolls                                   Image/Musgrave
Milwaukee, with its brewing roots strongly in German soil, has been invaded by the Belgians and Dutch. And the local residents don’t seem to mind.

Where are the Belgian biers holed up? Those daring, bold invaders can be found hiding right out in the open. The open rooftop, that is.

Café Benelux, 346 N. Broadway, offers a rooftop advantage of views overlooking the ultra cool, revitalized neighborhood of the Historic Third Ward. Warehouses, built in the 1800s, are now filled with an eclectic array of pubs, fashion shops, spas, theaters and more, including Milwaukee Public Market and Riverwalk.Within steps of Lake Michigan, Benelux landed in a scenic spot to woo German-origin residents and visitors alike away from their traditional stein-filled liquids.

Named for the Lowland European region of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, Café Benelux features a 41-page Bier Book and it is taking no prisoners.
Bier, which has been hand-picked from the nooks and crannies of the favored European Lowland region in its breweries and monastaries, include a diverse, but well-focused menu of draughts, Saisons and Farm ales, Lambics and more. Gluten-free options are not just an afterthought with an entire page of 5.3% a.c. to 7 % a.c. options.

Pannenkoeken                      Image/EJMusgrave
On the extensive list, dark ales include Gulden Draak at 10.5% a.c. to the Tilburgs Dutch Brown Ale at a, comparably low, 5% a.c.  Sours, Amber Reds and IPAs are all on the frontline to take over the Lake Michigan-city’s taste buds.

Bitterballen         Image/EJMusgrave 

Cuvee des Trolls might just be worthy of the status of starred general with its blond malts and dried orange peel scents. Bitter, sour and occasionally sweet, this officer for the Brasserrie Debuisoon in Leuze-Pipaix, Belgium commands respect from all.
Glassware, which is considered an important piece of equipment and not just a decorative chalice, is paired properly with regard to each bier. Palettes come in four 120 ml. pours selected from 30 biers while the Lowland Meter gives you 10 selections to share with pals. The Kwak Carousel offers four beaker-like glasses of the amber liquid and the Kwak Liter has a two-handed beaker for your pleasure.

Kwak Carousel                              Image/Benelux
Pairings are equally taken seriously when it comes to the food selection. Taking the server’s expert suggestion, the pannenkoeken (a Dutch crepe/pancake, pancetta, egg and combination) frites and bitterballen (a Dutch meatball-type snack common in pubs) all hooked up well with the Cuvee des Trolls.

Bottom Line: With a passion so devoted to the culture and bier of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, Café Benelux makes the Lowlands proud and Milwaukeans content.

Directions, full menu and bier information can be found at

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her newest column, Infused at and and as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on,, in M magazine and these newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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