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.

Love Great Beer?  Join Us on a Bon Beer Voyage Beercation! www.BonBeer.com

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