Hemelvaart Bier Café seeks to bring to a wider audience the wonderful range of tastes and experiences available in Belgian beers and in beers produced worldwide, which have been influenced by Belgian beer styles. It is difficult to pin down the exact number of beers available at any one time, as some are seasonal or special limited edition beers, but the café usually stocks between 120 and 140 bottled beers with a few on draught.
The emphasis is on quality beers, generally from smaller, independent brewers, and eschewing the products of the large global conglomerates. This means that there are some rare and interesting beers on the menu difficult to find elsewhere.
A select wine menu is also available, supplied by Corks & Cases in Masham, and the local theme is continued with the gin and tonics made using Mason’s Dry Yorkshire Gin distilled across the road in premises in the station yard.
As a continental style café, Hemelvaart prides itself on supplying quality non-alcoholic hot drinks and a range of soft drinks. Taylors of Harrogate provide Yorkshire tea, and Beechers from Catterick provide high quality coffee. The café is well-known for its ‘deluxe Belgian hot chocolate’, beloved by adults as much as children.
Food has a somewhat continental flavour with classics like ‘moules et frites’ and ‘croque monsieur’, as well as English staples such as cooked breakfasts and a range of burgers. Quality meats, including dry-cured bacon and a range of exotic sausages, are provided by Dave Hodgson from Brompton-on-Swale.
Snack-type meals are catered for with the café’s signature dish of ‘chorizo in Flemish Red beer’ and a ‘Burgundian Bord’ (a mixture of salami and cheese cubes). Rosebud Preserves provide the tasty accompaniments, such as the newly developed ‘Ampleforth Fruit Chutney’ made with the Abbey beer. Food is available all the hours the café is open.
The café has frequent themed events, such as the ‘Alternative Burns Night’ (with beer tastings of Scottish beers) and the ‘Australia Weekend’ (with the obligatory ‘barbie’ and more extravagant ‘surfing simulator’. The café has had live music at the Bedale acoustic music festival, BAMfest , and plans further performances. Comedy nights with some well-known names as well as upcoming talent are also on the agenda.