All images courtesy of Belga
Foodies and cocktail aficionados: you’re going to get hoppy for the new brasserie that’s landed in San Francisco! Belga, the Belgian-inspired concept by Adriano Paganini and team, staked its claim in the former space of Cafe Des Amis and is already becoming the Cow Hollow neighborhood hub.
Emerging from the same restaurant group that was behind Beretta, Delarosa, Starbelly, Lolinda and Super Duper, Belga has named Freedom Rains, who previously cooked for Boulevard, Flour+Water and Inanto, as Executive Chef, while Nora Furst and bar manager and Certified Cicerone Ryan Murphy manage the cocktail program.
One can guess that casual comfort paired with elevated libations is the name of the game. Think wood-fired sausages, moules-frites, and beer-infused broths – all designed to be shared. The bar program is heavily focused on Belgian-style craft brews, with beers and ciders from both northern Europe and the US. While it is still taking shape, the bar menu offers a little inventive something for everyone, from beer to cocktails to everything in between. Cocktails include specialties like the Rue du Moulin, a French twist on the Negroni using armagnac in place of gin; and the Oude Cobbler using aged genever, lemon, sugar, berries, and sherry.
With independence day just around the corner, libations are on the horizon. Ryan Murphy strives to broaden our understanding of beer in a way that allows us to communicate preferences and tastes. As he says, “Education leads to appreciation— and it’s also a lot of fun.” So let’s all try the Belgian Beer Float, Ryan Murphy-style.
Belga Beer Float Flight
3 small-stemmed glasses
Belgian Stout and Coffee Ice Cream
(Allagash Black) // ((Humphry Slocombe)
Flanders Red & Vanilla Ice Cream
(Rodenbach Grand Cru) // ((Humphry Slocombe)
Belgian Wit & Strawberry Ice Cream
(St. Archer White Ale) // ((Humphry Slocombe)
In each glass, add one small scoop (approx. 1.5 oz.) of ice cream. Pour 2 oz. of beer on top. Serve with a small spoon and 3 butter cookies
Notes from the Cicerone:
Using small-stemmed glasses prevents the float from heating up too fast (gripping a glass directly hastens the melting process).
Belgian Stout and Coffee have a natural synergy. Stouts tend to have espresso and coffee notes, and the higher ABV matches the sweetness of the ice cream.
Flanders Reds have a nice balance of sour and sweetness, with hints of balsamic. They are aged in oak barrels, which the vanilla ice cream provides balance.
Belgian Wits traditionally incorporate coriander and orange peel. The strawberry ice cream matches the brightness and the orange and strawberry create a harmony of flavors.