By Sebastiaan Frankes
So, once upon a time you may have thought to yourself: “let’s not go to Elliott tonight”, seeing as someone might have puked all over the stairs again, or simply because you just want a quiet and relaxed night out. Luckily, there are places all over Middelburg for this, if you know where to look. This week I will be reviewing ‘’Le Penseur’’, a bar that opened up just last semester at Varkensmarkt 15, right across the road from Koestraat. The owner, Gideon Muller (pictured below) aims to bring in more students, and gives us a 10 percent discount and a big cheap snacks menu.
When walking in, you will notice the extensive amount of decoration Gideon has put in – the walls are literally covered with posters, old theme calendars, and much else besides. In the back, there’s a custom made piano, still very much playable (of that I can assure you).
Le Penseur’s main focus, however, lays with the plethora of specialty beers it offers, boasting around 50 varieties, a number that Gideon is constantly increasing. Most notably, he has the only place in Middleburg I know of that sells every kind of Leffe.
Leffe is a Belgian specialty beer brewed by the monks of the Abbey of Leffe, and among its variants I count some of my favourites beers. My personal preference for blond beer often leads me to Leffe Blond. It is quite smooth, with a subtle flavour that makes it go down easy, while leaving an aftertaste that you don’t as much taste as smell. For a specialty beer, it is quite cheap too, only €2.7 at Le Penseur. A step from this is Leffe Rituele 9, which although a tad more expensive, is something I would recommend to people. While it maintains the same basic taste of Leffe blond it is significantly darker, adding a rather distinct taste of spices.
Apart from these fine choices, the Goosse IPA and the Goosse 312 would also prove interesting for those that might want to enjoy more than just another Heineken. The Goosse 312 is reminiscent of the ‘’Mug Bitter’’ being well, bitter, yet also far more refreshing and somewhat lighter.
What has proven to be a favourite however is the ‘’big bottle deal’’ where you can buy a 1 litre bottle of beer to share with three people for €10. You can share one with your friends, or let it go around the table to share a unique taste that you found.
Apart from the myriad of drinks on offer, Gideon also cooks some excellent bagels, and there is even a vegan option for those interested.
Gideon has acquired quite a significant collection of vinyl over the years, something which many at UCR will certainly appreciate. Most of the time he will agree to changing the song if you ask him to. Luckily, people who are a little more with the times can simply ask to plug in an aux cord. Additionally, for those that are interested in performing, Gideon has planned an open mic night, so be on the lookout for that. The venue itself is fairly small, Gideon specifically wanted to keep things cosy and quiet. If you come to Le Penseur you come to have a nice relaxed drink. If you want a slightly louder drink however, you go to bar American. But I’ll tell you all about that next time.
Sebastiaan Frankes, Class of 2018, is a Music major from Den Haag, the Netherlands.