Summary of the Oct 2010 BBV Belgium Beercation (Day 2)

Summary of the Oct 2010 Bon Beer Voyage Belgium Beercation (Day 2)

 Day 2 Sunday October 24th  (BRUGES)

Today after a nice leisurely breakfast on board the barge we all headed out to do a walking tour of Bruges.   Our local guide showed us the picturesque historic areas and gave us an insight to life in Bruges both past and present. 

Bruges canals

Grote Markt

Bruges

 Of course you couldn’t have a tour of Bruges without some beery sites, here are two; De Halve Mann Brewery and Gruuthuse.  

De Halve Mann Brewery

Gruuthuse

The Gruuthuse was owned by one of the richest families of Bruges during the medieval times.  The old Flemish word ‘gruut‘ was the main ingredient for beer brewing in the Middle Ages. The lords of Bruges had the monopoly on the sale of this very important product and taxed its use.  Since everyone was drinking beer, their monopoly made them very wealthy and powerful. (huse = house).

After the walking tour we had lunch on the barge and then were free to explore Bruges on our own until dinner at Den Dyver.

Here are some of the places my wife and I checked out waiting for dinner:

Bierbrasserie Cambrinus

 Bierbrasserie Cambrinus : They have a massive beer menu which is bound in a wooden cover.  They have about 400 bottled beers and 8 on tap, as well as a fantastic food menu with cuisine ala bière. 

Rochefort 10 & Urthel Saisonnière

We sampled the Urthel Saisonnière- a 6.0%abv Saison from De Leyerth Brouwerijen and

Rochefort 10- a Quadrupel with an abv of 11.30% and brewed at the Brasserie de Rochefort at the Abbaye de Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy.

I wanted to see the new bar which took over the location vacated by De Zolder, Comptoir des Arts, so we took a short walk just outside of the Grote Markt.  

Comptoir des Arts

 Comptoir des Arts is a cellar bar which was opened up recently by one of the former bartenders at  ‘t Brugs Beertje.  It is a jazz & blues bar with over 90 beers & I was excited to see what they had to offer, but we were out of luck, as they were not to open for another hour.

So we walked across the street to go to  ‘t Poatersgat, also a cellar bar which has over 100 bottled beers including a nice assortments of  Lambic & Gueuze. 

‘t Poatersgat

 We walked downstairs and the place was empty, as they just opened up for the day.  We wanted to be somewhere that was a little more crowded so we could be more social, so we left and headed to my old standby… Staminee De Garre 

 De Garre was packed but we were able to find a table to share with a nice couple from Belgium.  So here we got our chance to have a few good beers and enjoy conversation with a couple of locals. 

Hanssens Oude Gueuze

 We had the Hanssens Oude Gueuze a 6.0%abv Gueuze from Hanssens Artisanall bvba  &

Rochefort 10

 for the second time today the Rochefort 10, which my wife Ruth just can’t get enough of.   

 After finishing our beers, conversation and some cheese we had time to head to one more place before dinner.

 We went to the beer bar at the back of the massive beer bottle shop 2be, which is only a few steps from Den Dyver.   

2be's Wall of Beer

 On the way to the bar you pass 2be’s famous wall of Belgian Beers.  On this wall they have on display all 780 of the Belgian beers found in the book  All Belgium Beers, along with the appropriate glassware.  The wall is an amazing sight to see for both the beer geek and the novice.     

Belgoo Magus & ?

At the bar we had the Belgoo Magus a Belgian Pale Ale of 6.6% abv brewed by Brasserie La Binchoise  and a very unmemorable Belgian Dark Ale, which was apparently so forgetful that its name has slipped my mind.

Den Dyver

Cheers at Den Dyver

We all made it to Den Dyver  and were happy to be hungry, as we knew we were going to have a feast.  Den Dyver is well known for its cuisine a la bière.  They received the 2009 Gold Medal Beer & Gastronomy Award from Bierpassie, Ambiance Magazine & Maxwell Williams.  

House Blonde Beer & appetizer plate

We all started off with the House Blonde Beer as an aperitif  along with an appetizer plate consisting of 3 items, including a delicious crispy duck!

For our 2nd plate, some chose to have the Artic Char with garden peas, hazelnuts and dill marinated with onion, tangerine oil and chili salt. 

Cuvée des Trolls & Char

This was paired with Cuvée des Trolls which is a 7.0% abv Belgium Strong Pale Ale from the Brasserie Dubuisson Frères. 

Wild Boar & Duchesse de Bourgogne

Others chose for the 2nd Plate, the trio of Salted Wild Boar smoked on Rodenbach wood, Wild Boar Sausage with apple and sage & Wild Boar Croquette with cranberries and black radish. 

Duchesse de Bourgogne

This was paired with Duchesse de Bourgogne which is a Flanders Red Ale of 6.2% abv brewed by Brouwerij Verhaeghe.

Bill & Randy at Den Dyver
Carol studies beer pouring before trying it herself during dinner at Den Dyver

Janet, Maria & Rob's 3 Beers at Den Dyver

Our 3rd course was a choice between the Red Snapper prepared with lime, garlic and lemon thyme, served with Bintjes potatoes roasted on pine wood blewit and beetroot or the Baked Pheasant served with Brussels sprouts and chorizo, turnip, onion and gingerbread ratte potatoes.   (this is from the menu, don’t ask me to explain what these strange words are! All I know is that it may read weird, but it all tasted amazing!)

Saint Feuillien Saison

The Snapper was paired with Saint Feuillien Saison- a Saison of 6.5% abv from Brasserie St. Feuillien.

Westmalle Dubbel

Baked Pheasant & Westmalle Dubbel

 The Pheasant was paired with the Westmalle Dubbel -a 7.00% abv Dubbel from the Brouwerij Westmalle at the Abdij Der Trappisten van Westmalle

Carol, Ruth and Mike enjoying Den Dyver with Westmalle & Saint Feuillien

 

Fantasy of Dark Chocolate & Urthel Samaranth

Urthel Samaranth

 For desert, we all had the Fantasy of Dark Chocolate with a citrus fruit plate, which was paired with Urthel Samaranth – an 11.0%abv Quadrupel from De Leyerth Brouwerijen

 

The Beer Guides Toast to a perfect meal at Den Dyver

 

Bruges at Night

Stay tuned for Day 3, when we leave Bruges and travel through the canals of Belgium on our Barge, the Iris, to Gent where we will spend 2 days before heading to Antwerp and Brussels.

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Summary of the Oct 2010 BBV Belgium Beercation (Day 1)

Summary of the Oct 2010 Bon Beer Voyage Belgium Beercation  

Boarding the Iris

 Day 1 Saturday October 23rd   (BRUGES) 

Bruges

welcome aboard beer toast

We started off this beercation with (what else?) a welcome aboard beer toast. We toasted with a Wieckse Witte a Witbier at 5.00% abv, brewed by the now defunct De Ridder Brewery

Wieckse Witte

This toast was followed with a gourmet lunch in which our chef used this beer to prepare both the appetizer and the main meal, which was spectacular.

 After we had our whistles wetted and our stomachs satisfied, we headed off to visit In de Vrede, the pub at the Abbey Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren

All signs point to Abdij Sint Sixtus

In de Vrede

While in the café we all had a chance to try the Westvleteren 12, 8 & the Blonde.

In de Vrede bliss

The 3 Westvleteren's (the 12 the Blonde & the 8)

 The 12 is a Quadrupel at 10.20% abv,

The 8 is a Dubbel at 8.00% abv and

The Blonde is a Belgian Pale Ale at 5.80% abv. 

Cheers from Westvleteren

After tasting these world class beers, some of the group visited the Claustrum, which is an exhibition room where you can get a feel about a monk’s life in the abbey.   

We left In de Vrede and walked across the street to the Abbey. We found out that our timing was amazing, since that day, for the 1st time they would be selling 3 packs (one 12, one 8 & one Blonde) to the general public in the area where the cars usually pick up their crates of Westvleteren beer.   

Westvleteren 8 crates

Westvleteren price list

Normally you can only buy this beer either by the 6 pack at In de Vrede, if available, (and not on a Saturday, when we were there) or by the crate at the Abbey by making a reservation in advance by phone only.  So, to our delight we were able to purchase a few 3 packs from the monks along with some Westvleteren infused chocolates!

The Westvleteren 3 packs which were for sale

Westvleteren chocolate and beer to go!

(De Dolle Brouwers)

Our next stop was to the family owned brewery De Dolle Brouwers.   

Here we were 1st given a tour of the facilities and a history of the brewery by Mous, the 93 year old mother of the brewers.  

Mous giving a tour of De Dolle Brouwers

Mous tells us the story of the De Dolle beers

De Dolle Brouwers tour

After this very informative tour we got a chance to sample some of the beers.   

Else, the wife of Kris Herteleer, one of the 2 brother brewers, poured us a tasting of Oerbier and Arabier from the tap.  

Else describing how the Oerbier is made and how it should taste

Else shows us how to properly pour the beer

Else coaches Ruth on the proper pour

 

Else & Ruth toast to a successful pour of Oerbier & Arabier

 Oerbier is their flagship beer which is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 9.5% abv.  

Arabier is a Belgian Strong Pale Ale at 7.0% abv.   

Bill enjoying his Oerbier

Bill & brewer Kris Herteleer discussing brewing techniques

De Dolle Tasting Room

Else & Maria model the proper “bar wear”

After tasting those 2 beers, we had a couple of surprises.  The 1st surprise was a chance to taste the Lichtervelds Blond.

 

Lichtervelds Blond

 Lichtervelds Blond is a Tripel at 9.0% abv and is made almost exclusively for the town of Lichtervelds. 

Else explained that 80% of their production of this brew, which is made once per year, is given to the town of Lichtervelds for a festival, with the other 20% kept at the brewery to be sold only for consumption onsite.

Our 2nd surprise came after discussing Christmas beers and questioning when the 2010 Stille Nacht would be available.   To our astonishment, Else pulled out of the refrigerator a bottle from their 1st bottling of this year’s version, which was bottled only 3 days prior.  She confessed that she and her husband Kris hadn’t even tasted this year’s batch.  They were going to save that bottle to taste that evening, but fortunately for us, they were kind enough to share it with us!  

The 2010 Stille Nacht- bottled on Oct 20th 2010

Stille Nacht is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 12.0% abv.  

Bill showing off the bottle of this year’s Stille Nacht

 

Else tasting the 2010 Stille Nacht

This year’s batch is fantastic and was less sweet then the past few years, which made this one extremely drinkable.  I would suggest finding this brew to drink now and to save a few to age.

By the way, Kris is not only a fantastic brewer, but a fabulous artist.  Throughout the brewery and bar area you can see his artwork.

Art work by De Dolle brewer Kris Herteleer

Kris showing Ruth some of his art work and his sketchbook of Brugge

After dinner on the barge, which was as good as you would find in a 3 star Michelin restaurant, some of us went on a beer hunting expedition to ‘t Brugs Beertje .  

‘t Brugs Beertje

At Brugs Beertje we sat down and shared a few brews and great beery conversation with my friend Filip Geerts, who produces the Belgian Beer Board website, his wife Katrien, and Regnier,who runs the Bruges bottle shop De Bier Tempel .

Friends sharing a few beers at ‘t Brugs Beertje

Before we got a chance to look of the beer menu, Filip & I exchanged early Christmas gifts.  I got him the  Cigar City Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout from Cigar City Brewing and he got me the Bush Ambrée Triple. This Belgian Strong Pale Ale has a 12.0% abv and comes from Brasserie Dubuisson Frères.  This beer was made for the 75th anniversary of Bush.

Here is a list of beers we sampled at Brugs Beertje:

 

Guido

 Guido -a Belgian Strong Dark Ale of 8.0%abv which is no longer being brewed by Brouwerij Smisje. Filip, in addition to keeping up the Belgian Beer Board, also contributes to the Smisje website.

Smiske

 Smiske is a Belgian Pale Ale of 7.0% abv and is brewed by Brouwerij Smisje.

 Drie Fonteinen Oude Geuze is a Gueuze at 6.0% abv brewed by Brouwerij Drie Fonteinen.

 St. Bernardus Abt 12 is a Quadrupel at 10.5% abv brewed by Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV. 

an empty glass of Triple d’Anvers

Triple d’Anvers – an  8.0% abv Tripel which is a new brew from Brouwerij De Koninck (which is now owned by Duvel Moortgat). 

Daisy pouring the Ichtegem’s Grand Cru

Ichtegem’s Grand Cru

 Ichtegem’s Grand Cru- a Flemish Red Ale of 6.5%abv brewed by Brouwerij Strubbe.

 

 

2009 De Dolle Brouwers Oerbier Special Reserva

2009 De Dolle Brouwers Oerbier Special Reserva, which is a 13.0%abv Flanders Oud Bruin brewed by Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers.

 

2010 St. Bernardus Christmas Ale

  

Bruges at night

And we all ended the night with the 2010 St. Bernardus Christmas Ale, which is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale of 10.0% abv brewed by Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV. 

Stay tuned for Days 2 through 7 as we Barge through Belgium using the canals to go to Gent, Antwerp and Brussels.

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Beer #150 Schlafly Reserve Barleywine Style Ale (2008)

2008 Schlafly Reserve Barleywine Style Ale

 

Name:  Schlafly Reserve Barleywine Style Ale (2008)

Style: American Barleywine                        

Brewery: Saint Louis Brewery / Schlafly Tap Room.   website

Country:  USA

Region: Saint Louis, Missouri

ABV: 10.2% Abv

How served:  750ml capped bottle poured into a Dogfish Head snifter.              

My Overall Opinion:  Amazing. 

I paired this beer with: A spicy Italian pasta dish with Italian sausage.  Great pairing too!

Tasted on:  Monday December 6th, 2010   

Note: It poured a deep opaque amber with a thin white head leaving an extremely thin & minimal lacing on the glass.   The nose was sweet of caramel, vanilla and oak.  The taste was initially sweet of caramel and candied apples, prunes and vanilla, near the end this brew became drier.  The mouthfeel was a medium body in which the sweetness never got out of hand to make it too syrupy.  The drinkability was as good as it gets for a sweeter 10.2% abv brew & is one in which you would like to enjoy a few sips at a time.   This is one of the beers whose taste will improve as it warms up.

On the Label:  This Barleywine-style ale was aged on oak, adding a nutty, roasted-flavor to the sweet bready character of the ale.  This 2008 vintage will age well for several years but is ready to drink now.  Enjoy it with spicy dishes and grilled meats-especially game-to bring out its best flavors.

From their website:  Schlafly Barleywine is aged on new Missouri oak. The wood has a medium toast, which helps to caramelize the sugars in the oak and adds a nutty character to the beer as it soaks into the wood.

 

This beer pairs great with grilled meats and game, roasted vegetables, or any fried food. Best with strong cheese like Stilton or rich, sweet desserts like a chocolate hazelnut torte or toffee caramel cheesecake.

ABV: 10% IBU: 75

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Beer # 149 Stone Emperial IPA (14th Anniversary)

Stone Emperial IPA (14th Anniversary)

 

Name:  Stone Emperial IPA (14th Anniversary)

Style: Imperial IPA                          

Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.  website

Country:  USA

Region: Escondido, California

ABV: 8.9% Abv

How served: 22oz capped bomber poured into a Stone IPA glass.              

My Overall Opinion:  Very Good. 

I paired this beer with: Nothing

Tasted on:  Saturday December 4th, 2010   

Note: This beer poured as a hazy straw color with a fluffy 2 finger off white head.   The nose was more citrusy, with grapefruit rinds, then piney.  The taste started off sweeter than expected with caramel malts and then I got the citrus flavors of the hops.  The mouthfeel was a medium to heavy body with a “thickness’ not found in most IPA’s and a nice level of carbonation. The drinkability was fairly good for a 8.9% abv brew.  This is not the best beer I’ve had from Stone, but is one which I would like to have again.

 On the Label:  June 2010. CONSUME FRESH or age in the hull of a seafaring vessel for a year or more.

 From their website:  Release Date: Monday, June 21st, 2010

We went to England this past spring as self-styled “IPA Hunters” on a mission to learn more about the confusing and often contradictory history of India Pale Ale – to look for some certainty where those before us have found mostly mystery and mercantilism. While our success in this pursuit is open to debate, there can be no question that we returned home inspired by the ghosts of Burton and by the experience of poring over 150-year old brewer’s logs handwritten in (India?) ink. Stone Brewing Co., after all, traces its lineage back to the British Empire’s brewing history: we make ales, and all of our original offerings used traditional British styles as a jumping-off point. If this seems a roundabout way of letting you know that, yes, we are in fact brewing another IPA to mark our Anniversary, well, so be it.

 
This one however, promises to be different! From the imported white malt to the “Burtonised” water to the rare yeast strain to the most pungent hops Kent has to offer, we used all British ingredients to brew our “Emperial” IPA.* While we may have brewed Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA with our own distinctively modern, San Diego-style touch, what good is history if you can’t rewrite it to suit your tastes?

In this case, our tastes called for highly intemperate quantities of Target, East Kent Goldings, and Boadicea hops, bestowing upon this dry-bodied ale a powerfully spicy, earthy aroma. On the palate, peppery hops assert themselves early and often, with malt sweetness making a brief appearance before being beaten back by a long, complex, and decisively bitter finish. What better way to contemplate the fate of empires past, present, and future?

 Um, except for our filtered Colorado River water, of course.

 

  

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