Dinant is the birthplace of Leffe beer and Adolph Sax. We visited long enough to stop at a restaurant to try the beer. Here's our review.
One of the first things we saw in Dinant was the Charles de Gaulle Bridge. It crosses the river Meuse and gives access to the main square of the city, at the foot of the Notre Dame de Dinant with the Dinant Citadel looming over it.
Sculptures of saxophones decorate the bridge; you can’t miss them. You’ll also see saxophones all over the city. Dinant is the birthplace of Adolph Sax, the inventor of the saxophone. Learn more at Dinant: Attractions.
Our guide said we had a little extra free time and should try a Leffe beer since it was brewed in Dinant. We found a little café across the street from the railway station.
Le Café Ardennais
I had heard of Leffe beer, because of the story of the monks. If you love Belgian beer, you might have heard of it. The monks loved their beer and brewed it in the abbey of Notre-Dame de Leffe, which was founded in 1152 in Dinant. They started brewing ale in 1240. Why did monks need to brew ale? The local water was often contaminated. And at the time, the black plague ravaged all of Europe.
Drinking beer or ale proved healthier as the brewing process killed unhealthy bacteria. I’m not sure what excuse beer drinkers can make today. “I need to drink beer to prevent disease!” I don’t think so.
The same brewery in Leuven where Stella Artois is produced brews Leffe beer now. The monks sold the rights to the recipe and receive a monthly paycheck for their abbey. Using the original recipe, Leffe is a brown ale that combines a hoppy taste together with a fruity and spicy clove aftertaste. This is not Bud Light nor your average ale, pilsner or lager.
Still, Madeline and I wanted to try it. After a taste, Madeline was not impressed. But I ordered one for myself and a pilsner for her. We enjoyed sharing a beer with the monks and made our way back to the bus for the next part of our tour.
We noticed that the restaurant had plenty of people eating and drinking. Peeking at the menu, we saw plenty of items to satisfy a traveler in need of some replenishment. Prost!