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Taps: 8 / Bottles: 600
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
phone: +32 3 232 45 38
Known for their vast selection of cellared beers.
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 92 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$
As you all can see in this film:
,i had the luck that Dirk was in a very good mood last friday night. UncleJimbo and i were going to meet each other there. Jim considers this as his home base when he is in Antwerpen.
We found the place rather easy thanks to the nav system. In the street is not much parking space but i was dumped there by my daughter.
The place is really very old and a lot of memories of the good old days of Antwerpen can be seen in this bar.
As i came in Jim was not there but there was an old couple who lived nearby and go to the Kulminator almost very night. The were each sipping on a Wastmalle tripel. I got in a convestation with them, really nice to meet the locals there.
After 15 minutes Jim came in and in the way he was greeted by Dirk and his wife one could see that this would gonna be a wonderfull night. During the evening some other BA's sat at out table and we did a very nice vertical with vintage Dolle oerbier reserva.
Dirk is in love with the beers from the Struise. I had a few wonderfull sips from the aardmonnik Jim drank and i took a pannepeut myself because i like that style.
Beerpirates came in with a crate of Westy 12 which is meant for Digita (Don in Germany). Dirks eyes got bigger and bigger when he saw the crate and he wanted to buy it from me. He had westy's in the bar and there is a small westymenu you can ask for. Dirk still has some redcaps on the menu.
Don't go to the Kulminator for food. This is a beerbar in the extra categorie. You will be served well when Dirk is in a good mood.
11-28-2010 11:08:51 |
More by Brabander
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 1.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$$
I ventured to Antwerp to start my Belgium trip at the place with all the hype, sadly it lives up to very little of it...Located on a cute side street not far from the busy shopping streets of the city. I walk in and I'm instantly in awe, what a beautiful and quaint place. Its very old, nothing has been updated in probably 40 years, awesome old furniture, cool tables that have a bench feel to them with semi couches, unreal drunk bottles and old beer collectibles, and in the front an awesome amount of plants cover the windows. In the back a cool patio and there is a window view of the cellar allowing you to see most of what they have. Does make me wonder with aging they have going on, what's all that light doing to those 20+ year old beers??...An older woman and the owner were the only people in the store when we walked in. He didn't move a muscle from his paper she barely said anything. Eventually she came and took my order of the 2008 Rodenbach Grand Cru (on tap), and promptly brought it back in the correct glassware. While drinking my beer I searched through their beer menu and was instantly disappointed. They have all the staples and some rare ones but nothing that blew my socks off(they did have still nacht reserva 2005). The trappist verticals I was expecting just weren't there. A good selection of Chimay blue heading back to the early 80's but they were missing every couple years. No in depth R10, no westy's at all...The owner was basically a prick. We sat right next to him and his entered and left the store about 6 times he didn't say one word to us, let alone even look at our direction besides being the only people in the bar for over an hour...The woman, did not offer to help us at all!!! After waiting for over 30 minutes I finally had to go to her and order something new. She was too busy sitting on her ass behind the bar.
I hate to be a downer but this place doesn't even sniff the hype. An awesome atmosphere with a DECENT selection of beer. A few old trappist and random rarer De Dolle and De Struise but totally lacking on sours. Akkurat totally dominates this place and is clearly the top bar in the world.
If you're in Antwerp its worth a stop in, however, this is by no means a destination bar. Stay an extra day in Brugge or Brussels, or just take the extra 2 hour drive to Amsterdam.
11-23-2010 19:50:46 |
More by jrallen34
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2 | $$
The beer selection seems comparable with other pubs I've been at. Great beer, if the ability to purchase bottles is important. For most of the night, the kulminator was cheerful and appropriately buzzed.
The night ended poorly. A white haired figure, out of concern of losing a few hundred euros, freaked out and stood in front of the door and locked it. He threatened to call the police if any of the 20+ people in the bar left.
I was trying to bring home my tired fiancee, who didn't drink anything that night. We explained that we were guests and the hosts are paying. However the owner threatened to call the police on us for leaving and refused to let us go. I told him that I would tell this story to customers if he continued to hold us hostage and he said he didn't care.
The two hosts of the party fully intended to pay, and were actively assembling cash to quiet the guy. It took them some time get it together, but they did. There was never any doubt that they would, as this was a corporate sponsored event, not a bunch of party crashers.
Long story short is that it doesn't matter how nice your bottles are if you bully your customers and turn them into prisoners. I hate Kulminator for this treatment.
11-17-2010 08:49:10 |
More by memememee
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 5 | $$$
I was looking for Kulminator in Antwerpen for at least an hour and a half befor a actually found the damn place...My tip is...get yourself a good map !
I've heard this place had a good and heavy beer selection, I just wanted to figure that out by myself and when the waitresse brought me the list after I had disturbed her from her 3 o'clock group reading session, I understood very quiclky....I was in heaven. You know the expression when in Rome? Well that day, I told myself...when in Belgium ! The Kulminator specializes in vintaged Trappist ales. They keep an eventory of old trappist beers from the eighties going on to todays freshly out of the oven.
I just couldn't help myself... my girlfriend and I ordered Blue Chimay 1983 aside a 2005 and a 2010. It was a magical moment for me. The lady waitress couldn't care less about us and went back to her group reading session after I've had spent over 30 euros in 5 minutes, but in front of that 1983 Chimay, I was shaking. This is what good porto should taste like... It was like having sirupy Candied fruit and spicy tobaco juice with little carbonation left, the color was well degraded and left alot of sediments in the glass wich proves that beer is a living thing in a bottle. Having all three vintages one next to another was simply fantastic...I really understood the development of a beer troughout time that day.
The little terrase at the back of the bar is very cute and the beer chilling room is impressive in stock. Dont go there for the service but for the eventory of old beer. Its quite an experience.
11-11-2010 07:22:35 |
More by Glory
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
It is said that every beer geek must make a pilgrimidge to Kulminator at least once in their lifetime. My father and I made ours on a recent trip to Belgium.
Unlike many of the other bars we visited in Belgium, Kulminator's facade was cold and institutional looking. Once inside however, we felt as if we were transported back in time. It was obvious that we had arrived at a special place. Brewerania, knickknacks and various chotchkies filled the room. A dizzying assortment of glassware hung above the bar. To say that this place had a "lived-in" look and feel to it would certainly be an understatement. Miraculously, the bar owners managed to maintain a sense of organized chaos throughout.
Tables are few at Kulminator, so be forewarned that one should arrive early if you want to get a seat. We visited on a weekday afternoon and there were only a few patrons. In addition to the bar tables, there is a tiny outdoor seating area in the back. This would seem like a nice option during the months of better weather.
As for the beers... My o my. Where should I begin? Upon entering Kulminator we were handed a "beer Bible" containing hundreds upon hundreds of Belgian beer options. Nearly all of the beers were vintage selections, some of which were aged for only a few years while others went back decades. I remember seeing a number of 30+ year-old lambics from now defunct breweries. Chimay Blues went back to 1982. I tried a 1990 and my father had a 2003 Trappistes Rochefort 10. Both were served in their respective glassware. The Chimay was sublime and the Rochefort 10 was impressive as well.
Our interaction with Dirk and Leen, the owners who seem to do just about everything at Kulminator, was minimal. Leen was was our server and she seemed rather kind and soft spoken. When I asked if 1990 was a good year for Chimay Blue, she replied, "They are all good." Definitely do not go here for a quick drink, as the service can be a bit slow. Then again, who would want to go here for a quick drink?
All things considered, prices were reasonable. My 20-year-old Chimay Blue was 15 Euro and my father's 7-year-old Rochefort 10 was 7 Euro. Try getting a similarly aged wine for around these prices and you will be hard pressed.
My short visit to Kulminator provided me with an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. If you consider yourself a devotee of Belgian beers, it is imperative that you make a visit to this amazing beer mecca.
07-23-2010 13:39:28 |
More by Damian
vibe: 2 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | $
Fourth and last visit. The puritans will be delighted to learn that the Kulminator is now smoke free. And locals free. And atmosphere free.
If you want to meet a loud and annoying band of American and British tourists in Antwerp there's now no need to go to an Irish pub in the centre, you can do this in the Kulminator. Or in Brugse Beertje in Bruges. What you won't meet is regulars.
Shame. It was a unique place that appeared to exist out of time.
Happily, you can do much better in Antwerp and within 5 minutes stroll.
05-09-2010 23:58:40 |
More by finemind
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
Whats to say but you have to visit this place. If you go to Belgium and you don't visit here you missed out. Sure the old man is grumpy at times, but you be too when you get old and have to work and serve all these tourists. The place has not changed in years, well minus a cat or two. The beer list in bottles is great and even the draft though small is good stuff most of the time. Its like an old brown cafe in Netherlands. get here early and make sure you check the times they are open, in fact I call first on Mondays they might not open till 8pm. Service is NOT slow its European, for all you yanks it means they don;t rush you or ask you for a new beer as soon as your done, which means if you want another beer ask for 1, me I just order two, or a 750 or 2, they know i am here for awhile, smart folks know what they want before you go in and they love that.
last visit was march 2010: times been here 15.
05-08-2010 19:04:47 |
More by azorie
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Visited this place on 25/3 and 26/3 2010.
Very laidback atmosphere and quite a small place. They had a nice bunch of christmasbeers on draught and the bush noel was especially tasty. Glad i got to try it on draught.
The beerlist is very impressive but can be a bit overwhelming. Some of our must-try-beers included Stille Nacht Reserva 2005 and Struise Earthmonk. The owner seemed a bit off at first but after we talked to him a bit and explained our interest in belgian beer he warmed up quite a bit and let us try alot of interesting brews. The vintage beers are quite affordable and it was fun trying a 20,10 and 0 years old blue chimay side by side.
Food consists of sausages and cheese but is adequate for a place like this and the servings are very generous.
Service can be a bit slow and the owner is an odd fellow but his wife is an angel and very friendly. This place is a must for any beerlover. Just hope you catch the owner on a good day and you'll be in for a rare treat.
04-05-2010 21:18:32 |
More by baggio
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | $$
We were in Antwerp for a few days during our honeymoon, so we stopped here for an evening. We walked in and sat at the bar, and when the keeps didn't approach us for 10 minutes, we finally called them over. They were nice enough to speak to us in English.
We were starving and inquired about food, but they said they didn't serve food. Looking around, there were two other customers eating cheese and sausages, so we asked about that. They caved and brought over a huge plate of cheese and sausage which ended up costing something like 2 euros. Score. But why did we have to point out that other people were eating before they would give us some food?
Spent about 10 minutes looking through the menu. Inquired about a few beers but they were out of several. We ended up getting a more recent vintage of the beer we wanted, but we were charged for the older one that I ordered. Oh well, the food was cheap.
Amazing menu, but like I mentioned, several of the things we ordered were out.
This is a nice place, but the service was really pretty poor. If all you care about is a big beer list, go here. But we had a lot better time at other beer bars throughout Belgium. The lists elsewhere might not be as big as Kulminator's, but many of them are still amazing...and a lot more fun.
03-23-2010 18:21:38 |
More by jeremyn
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $
I wish I'd had more than 2 hours in the Kulminator. True to the reviews I read before going, they literally had a phone book of beers to choose from. I am a huge fan of Belgian lambics and they had 3 pages of them to choose from! The woman behind the bar was very knowledgable and helped me choose, since the menu was a bit overwhelming. What a selection.
The atmosphere was fantastic and very cozy. I really loved that they had a window into the beer storage room so I could appreciate the selection. The food selection was really good too and a great value. I would recommend getting one of their olive or cheese plates if you are stopping in for a beer sampling. It really compliments the beer!
02-13-2010 18:00:29 |
More by BourbonStreet
Kulminator in Antwerpen, Belgium
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