On Oct. 18, Barrel of Monks Brewing in Boca Raton will raise a Belgian ale to the “Muscles From Brussels”: cheesy action star Jean-Claude Van Damme.
To salute the roundhouse-kicking actor’s 57th birthday on Wednesday, Oct. 18, Barrel of Monks will host Van Damme Day, a beer-fueled appreciation of Belgium’s most muscular export.
But what’s a fitting toast for the martial artist and onetime bodybuilder who karate-kicked his way through “Bloodsport”? Who paired up with Dennis Rodman in the gloriously bad “Double Team”? Who knocked out Dolph Lundgren in the cringeworthy “Universal Soldier” and still made time for a cameo in “Kung Fu Panda 2”? Remember Van Damme’s epic 2013 commercial, in which he flexed his thigh muscles and slid into a perfect split between two trucks?
Van Damme Day needed to be perfect, realized Kevin Abbott, a Barrel of Monks co-owner and longtime fan in charge of the birthday appreciation. It needed a lifesize cardboard cutout of Van Damme.
“He’s in this ready-to-fight pose. It’s so ridiculous,” Abbott says. “We do a lot of high-end Belgian beers, so even when you have the thinnest of connections with the Muscles From Brussels, you do something about it.”
On Van Damme Day, beer drinkers can pose for photos with the battle-ready Van Damme cutout while his most popular films, including “Bloodsport” and “Kickboxer,” screen inside the taproom. For Abbott, these films were no-brainers: They showcase Van Damme’s over-the-top acting but also those glorious legs.
“Any time that Van Damme goes into the splits is always my favorite scene, because there’s no practical reason for him to do it,” Abbott says. “He does it between two chairs. He does it in the kickboxing ring. It’s like Tom Cruise running in every movie. It doesn’t need to be there.”
The Boca Raton brewery, which specializes in Belgian-style beers, will rename two of its beers for the occasion: Its Blood Orange Gose, a sour wheat beer with sea salt and coriander, will become Bloodsport Gose. Its Lemongrass Single, a bold Belgian ale, will become the Kumite Single, a cheeky reference to “Kickboxer.”
Tucker Duke’s restaurant in Boca Raton will also offer a Jean-Claude-themed menu. It will include a Van Damme Burger topped with Swiss, cranberry chutney and horseradish aioli. Also on the menu, fittingly, are crispy Brussels sprouts (with bacon and sriracha honey) and Mussels Legionnaire (served in white wine, basil, tomato and garlic).
Van Damme Day will take place 5-10 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, at Barrel of Monks Brewing, 1141 S. Rogers Circle, Suite 5, in Boca Raton. Admission is free. Call 561-510-1253 or go to BarrelofMonks.com and the Facebook event page.
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