Have you ever wondered why you can get fine Belgian abbey beer Corsendonk at Balthazar? As we found out Wednesday night, there is but one answer: Brooke Shields. We were hovering near Shields at the U.S. Launch of BlackBerry Tour for Sprint at the Thompson LES when we noticed a draft beer in her hands. It turned out to be a Duvel. If Shields is on Broadway, the restaurants she frequents after curtain call start stocking more Belgian beers. "They know I’m going to go there all the time and ask for it," she explains. Balthazar carries her beer, as do theater district mainstays Marseille and Angus McIndoe.
"When she was doing Wonderful Town, she would come into Marseille one to two nights a week and sit at the bar or one of the tables by the bar and enjoy a big bottle of Duvel," says Todd Cederholm, former assistant manager of Marseille. (He’s now the GM at Five Napkin Burger.) "I always made sure we had it in stock for her. Some nights we would open up a bunch of bottles of Belgian beer and do a tasting. She knew the different styles and how to describe it, whether something had a lot of hops or more malt. She got into it. When she left the show, I even gave her a whole case of Duvel glasses."
Shields says she’ll cart Belgian beer on trains with her, and would take it on planes if she could. "I can’t drink wine anymore if I’m going to sing or do anything, so beer does the trick — and it’s like having a meal!" she says. "My favorites are Duvel, just because it’s crisper, and if I’m sort of hungry, then I drink Chimay Blue. I like it better than the Red and I don’t like the White at all." She also likes La Fin Du Monde, which is brewed in Québec, but who’s keeping track? "I didn’t start seriously drinking until I was breast-feeding," says Shields. "I know Guinness was what they used to give moms who were breast-feeding. So I started off with Guinness and then refined my taste. It’s the barley and the malt and the hops, so there’s justification for it. Plus it made me happy. Just one a day isn’t going to hurt you. But now," she cackled, "One’s not the limit!"