Often times on this blog, I suggest that it is what you drink and not where you drink it that is the all consuming issue. I mean face it, that is what a beer blog is all about and 99 times out of 100 that is going to be true. But there is that one time that the stars align and the place says as much about you as anything else. I was in such a place on Saturday night.
Saturday was a much a regular day as any other day. Running errands, taking care of chores (I am no longer the source of comic humor at Michael's!) and other such ilk. Just a regular Saturday. I had one chore in front of me, but this was going to be a good one to get done - I was going down to a local pub to check-in on a job that had popped up on the work front. So get on the Beltway, scooted off at I-95 and on the Fairfax County Parkway. Followed the directions from Siri a couple of more times, including a very narrow causeway under a railroad track, and I was there. Zounds! The place was closed. Shut. Fresh paint signs all over the newly refurbished drinking area.
So, I pulled out the iPhone and did a quick looked up on a place I had passed by earlier in the day. The Cock & Bowl is located in the small community of Occoquan, just over the line in Prince William County. The big draw was the Belgian line up of drink and cuisine. As compared to the Belga Cafe on 8th Street, NE in the District and its sizable line-up, this had taken the completely opposite approach to Belgian cuisine - the quaint little Mom and Pop style family inn. The write up on it had been pretty good, but one thing they had not commented on was the size. I would soon learn my lesson.
After a drive around Occoquan (this place is really a lot small than the map gives is credit), I parked and worked my way back to the restaurant. Once I had found it sticking out from an alley, I walked back and went in. Boom! You are right in the middle of the main dining room which is about as large as a small living room. Fortunately, the clerk spotted me, I asked for a table for one and we started the hike up to another dining room which was smaller than the first! Both rooms fit into a house just so, it took me a while to realize that they didn't waste on inch. She took me to a table that fitted perfectly in a corner and handed me a menu and a four page beer menu. Yep, I had landed in heaven.
First, the beer and then the food. I ordered a Kasteel Rouge by Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck in an 11.2 ounce size. The Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck recounts it this way: "Kasteel Rouge is a unique blend of Kasteel Donker and a sweet cherry liqueur. This fruity beer makes a great aperitif on a sunny terrace. It’s certainly a beer for lovers of sweet cherries with an overpowering aroma of the fruit. The cherries get the better of the malt in the Kasteel Donker mother beer, although it contributes touches of chocolate and pepper to remind you it’s there. It is surprisingly easily digestible for quite a strong beer."
Most of the other beers, I noticed, came in a 22 ounce size, which would have fit on the table but it would have been a tight fit once you got everything else on. Kasteel Rouge is a cherry flavored beer with a smooth flavor that you only wish to take small sips from at a given moment. I could have taken a pretty good mouthful, but that would have defeated the purpose of the beer. The beer was just made to be imbibed in small sips.
Next came the steak and fries, which were pretty good, though I have to admit there were way too many fries. You fry aficionado will probably disagree, but when you look at the plate, there were way too many. The last piece to arrive may have been the best piece to the whole meal, except for the beer. The waffle. Now most place put the weight on the French fries, but I am going to say that it is the waffle. This thing was delicious, served with butter and a fresh Vermont maple syrup. Perfect ending to the perfect meal.
So, there you have it. The next time you want to experience a good Belgian meal and you are not ready to give up your first born child to do it, the Cock & Bowl is just the ticket. Call ahead, just to make reservations.