Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus

Today’s Brewery of the Day:

Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus

Polderweg 2 Deinze-Gottem Belgium

Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus

We’ve just returned from France & Belgium where we met with some of the brewers and vendors for our upcoming October 27th –November 3rd Bon Beer Voyage beer tour:  “Grand Crus to Farmhouse Brews- A Beercation Cruise through Belgium & France”

During this trip we visited 3 fabulous breweries on the French side of the border, 5 on the Belgian side as well as one French genièvre distillery.  In France, we visited Brasserie St Germain, Brasserie Thiriez & Brasserie Bailleux (where we had lunch in their magnificent restaurant Au Baron). In Belgium, wevisited Brouwerij Rodenbach, Brouwerij St Bernardus, Brouwerij Van Eecke, Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus & Chimay.

Over the next few days we will be highlighting each of the breweries on our tour as well as sharing some beery cool information on the beer scene in Lille.  For those who want a quick look at the amazing Day by Day Itinerary of the Grand Crus to Farmhouse Brews- A Beercation Cruise click here.

Brewery of the Day: Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus

Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus is the smaller building in this photo

Sint Canarus is an extremely small brewery which makes really “big” beers.  They are located about a half hour drive southwest of Gent in the small town of Gottem (for you Batman fans, you can call it Gottem City).

Dr Canarus

The owner and brew-master Piet Meirhaeghe – who is better known in the beer world as Dr. Canarus, has a very interesting sense of humor which he imparts on his brewery.  Both Dr. Canarus & his brewery get their name from a local drinking club, called “Semper Canarus” which translates to always drunk.  Also, the word canard meets duck, and if you see a duck walk we would say it waddles, or looks drunk, therefore the word canard is slang for a drunkard. 

Below you will see Dr. Canarus hard at work serving up some of his fantastic brews

Dr Canarus serving up some of the fabulous brews at Sint Canarus

Bottles for sale at Sint Canarus

Beers available at Sint Canarus the day we were there included:

Export, his Pilsner is 4.6%abv

Sint Canarus Tripel 7.5%abv

Sint Canarus Tripel

Maeght van Gottem (which translates to the Virgin of Gottem) is a Belgian Strong Pale Ale at 7.0%abv and inside every bottle, placed by hand, is a single hop cone.

Potteloereke 8% abv a Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Pere Canard, which would translate to drunk father was originally brewed for Christmas and is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 9%abv.

Sint Canarus Pere Canard

Sint Canarus 10 jaar 8.72%abv, his 10th anniversary brew, is a Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Rule of Thirds (Import Series Vol 4) is a Tripel at 8%abv.   A Saison Darkly (Import Series Vol 2) is a Saison at 8.0%abv. Both of these are collaborations with Stillwater Artisanal Ales and brewed here.

Here is Dr Canarus serving up Rule of Thirds (Import Series Vol 4)

Dr Canarus serving Rule of Thirds his collaboration with Stillwater Artisanal Ales

 Here is a peek at the “Large” brewery seen behind Ruth as she enjoys her Pere Canard:

Ruth enjoying her Pere Canard at Sint Carnarus

Currently, Potteloereke & Sint Canarus Tripel are their only “non- collaboration” beers which are being imported to the USA (12% Imports) and they not too easy to find-so we hope you’ll join us for our awesome upcoming beer trip-  “Grand Crus to Farmhouse Brews- A Beercation Cruise through Belgium & France”  where you can enjoy these wonderful beers and experience the special humor of Dr. Canarus  yourself! 

Ruth & Mike at Sint Canarus

Cheers from Mike & Ruth! 

Bon Beer Voyage

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Beer # 192 Ommegang Art of Darkness

Ommegang Art of Darkness

Name: Art of Darkness

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Brewery:  Brewery Ommegang   website

Country: USA

Region: Cooperstown, New York

ABV: 8.9% abv

How served:  750ml corked and caged poured into a Ommegang glass.

My Overall Opinion: Very Good.

I paired this beer with:  Rotisserie, not baseball but…  chicken with a side of chick bean salad.  Not bad, but then again not many beers wouldn’t pair well with this meal.

Tasted on:  Tuesday June 05, 2012

Notes:  This is a limited and brewed only once beer.

This beer poured an extremely dark brown/black with an impressive 3 finger light brown head which dissipated slowly and left a very nice thick lacing on my glass.

The nose was light but full of dark fruits like plum and raisin with hints of dark chocolate and of the Belgian yeast.       

The taste of this brew starts off on the sweet side with dark fruit flavors like prunes, raisins and dates and a nice hint of candi sugar and dark chocolate. By mid palate the sweetness mellows out and you get some warmth from the alcohol and it ends more on a nice dry note.

The body was light to medium  with a creamy feel with a lively carbonation level which tickles the tongue.

The drinkability was very good especially since the body was light to medium.

Overall this brew could have benefited from a little more body, otherwise it is very good.

On the Label: Art of Darkness unites barley and wheat malts, and flaked oats, Ommegang yeast, and noble hops in a bewitching demonstration of the brewing arts.  Yet there are no secret ingredients nor mystical incantations.   There is only the highest realization of the art of brewing a dark Belgian-style ale of extraordinary flavor, aroma, and balance.  This ale walks the line between being savored now, and being cellared to relish later.  As discerning patron of the dark arts, you can make your own choice.

Pour slowly so as to not disturb the yeast sediment, but with enough vigor to create a luxurious head and release the rich bouquet.  Brewery Ommegang is 3, 624 miles from Brussels, but its heart is right in Belgium. It was created out of our devotion to the unique ales brewed by then country where brewing is an art and partaking is a passion.  Part of the Duvel family of fine ales.   Serve at 50° F/ 10° C

From their website:  Let us now acknowledge the dark arts of brewing. Our limited edition Art of Darkness Ale is deep, dark and magical, with champagne-like carbonation and rich maltiness from a complex recipe of multiple barley and wheat malts, as well as flaked oats.

Using no spices or flavorings, Art of Darkness gains all its rich aromas, tastes, and apparent spiciness from the malts and Ommegang’s proprietary house yeast.

There are no secret ingredients or magical incantation. There is only Ommegang brewers’ creating the finest quality dark, strong ale of complex and deep character.

Art of Darkness is a fine ale to enjoy immediately, and is excellent to cellar.

8.9% ABV

Available for a limited time in 750 ml bottles and 1/6 BBL keg starting in April 2012

Bon Beer Voyage

Tampa Bay Beer Safari Weekend February 18th – 20th 2011 in Review

Tampa Bay Beer Safari Weekend February 18th – 20th 2011                                  

Our 2nd Annual Tampa Bay Beer Safari Weekend Beer Tour was quite a success!   We visited 2 brew pubs, 2 breweries, had two great beer paired dinners and 2 after dinner beer tastings.

Happy Hour

We started out our 1st night with a get to know each other Happy Hour.  We had the opportunity to sample:

Anchor Christmas Ale

Anchor Christmas Ale – Winter Warmer – 5.5% abv –  Anchor Brewing Company

Trappist Achel 8 Briun

Trappist Achel 8 Briun – Dubbel – 8.0% abv –   Brouwerij der St. Benedictusabdij de Achelse  

Twin Sisters – Double IPA – 9.0%abv – Left Hand Brewing Co 

Left Hand Imperial Stout – Russian Imperial Stout – 10.4% abv – Left Hand Brewing Co 

Kalamazoo Stout – American Stout – 6.0% abv – Bells Brewery

Orange Blossom Pilsner – Fruit beer – 6.5% abv – Orange Blossom Pilsner LLC

 …Plus 2 extra special growlers fresh from the Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery in Boca Raton!

So Thank You MusicGinger Lemongrass Wheat – unknown abv

Last SnowCoffee Porter – also an unknown abv

Funky Buddha's So Thank You Music, oh what a great nose you have!

Funky Buddha’s “So Thank You Music”, oh what a great nose you have!

So Thank You Music was the “Hit” of the Happy Hour with its amazing nose of fresh ginger and lemongrass, as well as its wonderful taste which matched the nose.  A close second was Last Snow, which is an interesting name as Boca Raton never even gets a 1st snow… actually it’s a celebration ale for those in South Florida to toast with as the “Last Snow(bird)” leaves the region.

 After the happy hour we took a short walk to Bernini, a fabulous Italian Restaurant in the heart of Ybor City for our first beer paired dinner.

 To honor Sierra Nevada Brewing Co’s 30 years of great brewing I paired 3 of their outstanding brews with this evening’s dinner. 

Cheers from Bernini

For the 1st Course we had Bruschetta and Calmari paired with:

Sierra Nevada Kellerweis

Kellerweis – Hefeweizen – 4.80% abv.  In my opinion this is one of the better examples of a true German Hefeweizen made in America.

 For the 2nd Course we had a choice between the Classic Caesar Salad (I had mine with extra anchovies) or the House Mista Salad paired with:

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Pale Ale – American Pale Ale – 5.6% abv.  This is Sierra Nevada’s “Flagship” beer and the one beer you can count on finding in most pubs or restaurants which haven’t figured out the craft beer movement yet.

 For our Main Course our choices were either Angel Hair pasta tossed with Grilled Chicken Breast; Shrimp Orecchiette; Margherita Pizza or the New Yorker Pizza with roasted peppers, onions, mushrooms, pepperoni, Italian sausage & mozzarella. (the pizzas as well as the meal servings were HUGE!)  These were paired with:

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

Torpedo Extra IPA – IPA – 7.2% abv.  This is their Pale Ale on steroids! 

 We also had the opportunity to try the Torpedo Extra IPA side by side with Cigar City Brewing’s Jai Alai IPA – IPA – 7.5% abv. 

Cigar City Jai Alai

Maybe I’m being a “homeboy” but I felt the Jai Alai had a tad better nose and taste, I have to say, it was it really close.

 Here is a very entertaining short video of an impromptu after dinner discussion of the tour by Ruth & Mike:

After the dinner & the “show” we walked around the corner to see what was brewing at the Tampa Bay Brewing Company.

Tampa Bay Brewing Logo

Tampa Bay Brewing Company was founded in 1996 and is a family business, with mother and son serving as general manager and brewmaster respectively. Their on-site brewery is equipped to produce up to twelve tap beers and several cask-conditioned ales on a 10bbl step-infusion brewing system.  As a matter of fact, 12 of their 16 serving tanks used to hold the beer at the famous Bass Ale Brewery in England.  

Tampa Bay Brewing Co’s Tanks

Here we tried the Wild Warthog Weizen – 5.2% abv;  Jack the Quaffer London Porter – 5.7%;  Iron Rat Stout – 8.0% abv and the MooseKiller Barleywine- 10.0% abv as well as a taste of their fabulous Root Beer, which is made on site.

Tampa Bay Brewing Co

After we left Tampa Bay Brewing Co, our plan was to do some beer hunting at New World Brewing Co.  At New World Brewing you will find the best selection of craft beer in Ybor City with 26 taps and at least 100 bottled beers.  You can also enjoy entertainment in their outside courtyard.  However tonight the courtyard was packed, so instead we opted to return to the hotel and do some beer tasting in a more relaxed atmosphere. 

 Back at the hotel, in additional to revisiting some of our “Happy Hour Beers”, we shared:

McChouffe, Gouden Carolus Noël and 2 Turtle Doves

McChouffe – Belgium Strong Dark Ale – 8.0% abv – Brasserie d’Achouffe

Gouden Carolus Noël – Belgium Strong Dark Ale – 10.5% abv – Brouwerij Het Anker

2 Turtle Doves –  Belgium Strong Dark Ale – 12.0% abv – The Bruery

& a fresh growler of

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum via the Funky Buddha Lounge

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum – Double IPA – 10.4% abv – Sierra Nevada Brewing Co

Showing the Funky Buhdda’s “So Thank You Music” some Love

Friday Night after Dinner Get Together

Tarpon Springs and Spongeorama

On Saturday morning our 1st stop was Tarpon Springs. Tarpon Springs is known as the Sponge Capital of the World, so we visited the Famous Spongeorama to see the Sponge Diving Museum and stroll along the waterfront and a few specialty shops. 

Hellas

Tarpon Springs is also Florida’s own Greek village, so we of course had to sample some mouthwatering pastries at the very authentic Greek restaurant, Hellas.  This was a “sweet” way to start the morning! 

Heading over to Saint Somewhere

After spending about an hour here, we headed off to meet our friend Bob Sylvester and see his brewing set up at Saint Somewhere Brewing Company.

 While Bob explained to us his brewing process, including his use of open fermentation, he also showed off his new tanks and told us that he has just expanded to offering his 3 brews- Saison Athene – Saison – 7.5% abv, Lectio Divina – Belgium Strong Pale Ale – 8.0% abv & Pays du Soleil – Dubbel – 8.0% abv- in kegs. 

Saint Somewhere

After seeing the size of this small brewery everyone was extremely impressed when Bob told us that his beers can be found in 35 states!  It is truly mind boggling that that much beer can be produced here.  Bob also said that he will be brewing the next collaboration beer he has planned with Cigar City called Déjà Vu, in this location.  He told us that it will be a completely different style then Vuja Dé, which was made at Cigar City.

Checking the smell of Lectio Divina

Did you know that 11:00 am is the time of day your taste buds are supposed to be most in tune? Well fortunate for us our beer tour happened to be at Saint Somewhere right about then, and we were invited to help ourselves to a taste of Lectio Divina out of the keg…and as if that wasn’t a beautiful thing in itself, Bob also shared with us 3 additional very special brews!  

The Younger Oak Aged Blend

The 1st special brew was an extremely young oak barrel aged blend of his beers.  Bob warned us that it was “young & hot” and really needed to age quite a bit longer before consuming.  The nose of this beer was a mixture between rocket fuel and nail polish remover, however when it came to the taste, it was like drinking a fine port wine with no hint of the fuel or remover.

The 2 oak barrels used in aging the special brews

Enjoying the special brew

His 2nd special brew was a mature 2-3 year old oak barrel aged blend.  This beer was sublime, the nose was mildly tart/sour with hints of oak, caramel and vanilla and the taste was both tart yet mildly sweet of fruit- with notes of the oak and a smooth as silk mouth feel. I could drink this all day. Ruth says just thinking about it makes her mouth water!

Getting a whiff of the Saison Athene with Brettanomyces “C”

Saison Athene with Brettanomyces “C” strain

The 3rd special brew was a taste of a beer which he says never made it to the market. It was his Saison Athene with Brettanomyces “C” strain.  The “C” strain added more tartness and citrus in the nose and taste than you would find in the “regular” Saison Athene.

 After tasting these 3 beers, it made me feel extremely blessed that we have such a great Belgium style artisanal brewer here in Florida. 

Great sign on Bob’s Desk

Dunedin Brewery

So we left Tarpon Springs to head over to Florida’s Scottish heritage town, Dunedin.  Here we visited Dunedin Brewery for a brewery tour, beer tasting and a great lunch! Plus we will have Bob from Saint Somewhere join us too!

Dunedin Taps

Dunedin Brewery is the oldest microbrewery in Florida.  They always have 8 of their beers available year round on tap plus a few extra seasonal beers as well as guest taps.

Dunedin Celtic Gold Ale

We all stated off with their Celtic Gold Ale – Kölsch – 5.2% abv to enjoy while we toured around their brewing facilities

Dunedin Brewery Tour

Sharing a Dropkick Red Ale with Bob

We had all worked up a mighty thirst during our tour, so we were happy to try the samples of their Dropkick Red Ale – Amber Ale &

Dunediin Leonard Croon Stout

Leonard Croon Stout – Stout – 5.2% abv  offered to us by Ricky (our awesome guide, beer tender and server) before we placed our order for lunch. 

Dunedin… I’m ready for lunch

I chose to have their famous Pacific Coast Fish Taco, and since I heard they still had some of their delicious Christmas Farm Ale – Spiced Beer – 5.2% abv available, I paired that with my fish taco.  Boy, this was one great lunch stop!

Having fortified ourselves, we will set off to Cigar City Brewery.  On our way over to Cigar City we passed the time playing a few rounds of Beer Cap Bingo for some beery cool (of course) prizes.

Cigar City Brewing

Cigar City Brewery was founded by beer columnist and Tampa native Joey Redner in the summer of 2007. Since its inception CCB has been guided by Joey’s passion for both great beer and the city of his birth.   With the creative input and expertise of Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup award winning brewer Wayne Wambles, Cigar City Brewing endeavors to make world class ales and lagers which celebrate the rich heritage and traditions that make Tampa one of the world’s most unique cities.

 During our tour of Cigar City’s facilities what struck me the most was how much they have expanded since we were here last year. During our walk around the brewery we even caught a glimpse of a group of B.J.C.P. judges occupying the back end of the brewery where they were hard at work judging something I’m sure we will quaff in the future!

What on Tap at Cigar City Brewing

Once we made our way to the tasting room we had some samples of:

Getting a taste of Vuja Dé

Vuja Dé – American Wild Ale – 10.0% abv

Cubano Espresso – American Brown Ale – 5.5% abv

Jose Marti – American Porter – 8.0% abv

Humidor Jai Alai IPA – IPA – 7.5% abv

Cigar City Tasting Room

After having our fill at Cigar City we made our way back to the hotel to get ready for our big night out at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar. (or so they keep calling it…I wonder how long and how many beer dinners it will take to convince them to add Beer to the name?)

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar

Stylish, contemporary dining is the hallmark of Fleming’s. The menu features the finest in prime beef, augmented by a tempting variety of chops, seafood, chicken, generous salads, inventive side orders and indulgent desserts.  

Fleming’s

We had a 4 course beer paired gourmet dinner created especially for our Beer Safari by the chef at Fleming’s.

 Here is our menu:

 First Course

lobster mango crisps; Crispy wontons topped with main lobster, mango finished with garlic, shallots, and fresh herbs paired with:

Sierra Nevada Kellerweis

Sierra Nevada Kellerweis  a  Hefeweizen of 4.80% ABV by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
 

Second Course

Malheur’s Spring Salad; Julienned Pears and Gala apples, tossed in Orange Sriracha vinaigrette, finished with candied walnuts and grape tomatoes paired with:

Malheur 10

Malheur 10 a Belgian Strong Pale Ale 10.0% ABV from Brouwerij De Landtsheer NV 

 

Third Course

petite filet; Chimichurri sauce, served with roasted baby carrots with golden raisins and balsamic reduction, garlic mashed potatoes paired with:

Terrapin Hop Karma IPA

Terrapin Hop Karma IPA an American Brown Ale 6.00% ABV by Terrapin Beer Company 

 

Fourth Course

chocolate stout cake; Cake infused with double chocolate stout, served with Chantilly cream paired with:

Young’s Double Chocolate and Stout Cake

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout a Sweet Stout 5.20% ABV Wells & Young’s Ltd. 

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Belgium Barge Re union

Between Courses we had a brief overview of the beer we were drinking and the chef explained how he paired the meal with the beer.  As you can see, we decided to try the same beer for the first pairing as the previous night, in order to do a comparison of appetizer/beer pairing for this beer, just to try something a little different.  This Kellerweis is what I consider the perfect example of this style.

 After Dinner we returned to the hotel for another round of beer tasting, but the 1st order of business was to settle our dispute as to which cartoon dog, Muttley or Snuffles, was the one which would jump up and then float down in air on his back like a feather after receiving a treat.  To our surprise it was both!

Muttley vs Snuffles

Saturday Night after Dinner Gathering

This evening we finished what was left of:

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum – Double IPA – 10.4% abv

Funky Buddha Lounge’s Ginger Lemongrass Wheat, So Thank You Music

Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout – American Stout – 6.0% abv

As well as the following:

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale – Belgium Strong Dark Ale – 10.0% abv – Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Southern Tier Crème Brulée – Imperial Stout – 10.0% abv – Southern Tier Brewing Company

Paníl Barriquée – Flanders Red Ale – 8.0% abv – Paníl

The Lost Abbey 10 Commandments – Belgium Strong Dark Ale – 9.0%abv – The Lost Abbey

Saturday Night’s Beers

An old cigar factory

On Sunday morning after a leisurely breakfast we enjoyed a perfect day for our guided historical walking tour of Ybor City (the original “Cigar City”).   

A little piece of Cuban Soil found in Ybor City during our walking Tour

The old Florida Brewing Company Building

Our guide informed us that Ybor City is also the home of the 1st brewery in Florida, the Florida Brewing Company (after prohibition it was re-named Tampa Florida Brewery, Inc)In 1896 the construction of the Florida Brewing Company started; when it was finished, it was the tallest building in Tampa at six stories.   They used the water from a natural spring which ran under the building to make their La Tropical Beer.  The Florida Brewing Company exported more beer to Cuba than any other brewery in the USA.  Unfortunately this Brewery closed in 1961.

“Count” Bon Beer Voyage

Then was back to the hotel to say our goodbyes and check out.  Overall, an amazing weekend with a fantastic group of people and great beer to match!  Can’t wait until our next one!  Looks like the  Saint Augustine Beer Safari Weekend will be coming up in September…make sure you are on the BEERmail list to keep up to date on the latest with our Beercation Beer Tours and Weekend Beer Safari beer trips! Cheers!

Summary of the Oct 2010 Bon Beer Voyage Belgium Beercation (Day 3)

Summary of the Oct 2010 Bon Beer Voyage Belgium Beercation

 Day 3 Monday October 25th            (Sailing from Bruges to Ghent)

Our Barge, The Iris

 This morning we had the pleasure of a relaxed breakfast while being able to enjoy the scenery as the barge sailed slowly from Bruges to Ghent through the canal.   We played a few rounds Beer Cap Bingo for some cool prizes.

View during the Morning Sail to Ghent

Rainbow seen during the Morning Sail to Ghent

After another gourmet lunch on the barge we met up with a much smaller canal boat for an informative tour of the historic city of Ghent from the water. 

View of the Ghent waterway from the canal boat

View of the Ghent waterway from the canal boat

After the canal boat tour we all decided to fortify ourselves with a beer before we headed over to see the “torture” devices at the Gravensteen Castle (now a torture museum). 

Café ‘t Galgenhuis

We headed to the smallest bar in Ghent, Café ‘t Galgenhuis, which is an old “hangman’s”  or gallows house turned into a bar. 

 Here we tried 4 different beers from the same brewery Brouwerij Haacht NV.:

Haacht Wit Bier (Excelsior)- a Witbier of 4.8% abv,

Tongerlo Bruin– a 6.0% abv Belgian Dark Ale and    

 

Charles Quint Blond

 

Charles Quint Bruin

both the Charles Quint (aka Keizer Karel) Blond and Bruin.  The Blond is a Belgian Strong Pale Ale at 8.5% abv and the Bruin was a Belgian Strong Dark Ale of 9.0% abv.  

Charles Quint Blond and Bruin tasting at Café ‘t Galgenhuis

inside Café ‘t Galgenhuis

Gravensteen Castle

Gravensteen Castle Knight

Thumb screws from the Gravensteen Castle

After our visit through the Gravensteen Castle and seeing all the medieval torture devices we could stand, it was time to calm our tortured nerves with another beer. 

 Our closest stop was ‘t Waterhuis aan de Bierkant.  This canal side gem has a beer list of over 150 beers. 

‘t Waterhuis aan de Bierkant

We shared:

Reinaert Grand Cru

Reinaert Grand Cru -a Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 9.5% abv by De Proefbrouwerij,

Buffalo Belgian Bitter

What a huge fluffy head on this Buffalo Belgian Bitter

Buffalo Belgian Bitter- a Belgian IPA of 8.5% abv brewed by Brouwerij Van den Bossche,

Gouden Carolus Noël

Gouden Carolus Noël, a 10.5% abv Belgian Strong Dark Ale from Brouwerij Het Anker,

Rochefort 10

Rochefort 10, a Quadrupel with an abv of 11.30% brewed at the Brasserie de Rochefort  and the House Beer Mammelokker, a 6.0% Bruin.

inside ‘t Waterhuis aan de Bierkant

After our visit to the Waterhuis we walked next door to sample some of the 200 types of jenever at ’t Dreupelkot.  

 

't Dreupelkot ad and Pol behind the bar

  

 

Pol at ‘t Dreupelkot pouring some jenever

 At ‘t Dreupelkot we were greeted by Pol, a Santa Claus looking character.  We tried the vanilla, the chocolate, the banana and various mixtures of these before we convinced the new jenever junkies in our group to leave the bar!

 After our jenever experience, we took a short walk to De Dulle Griet.

Dulle Griet "Mad Meg" the Red Cannon in Ghent

After we all saw the cannon we went to the “other” Dulle Griet.  

 

De Dulle Griet

Dulle Griet has over 250 different bottle beers on their menu.  Their specialty is their famous “The Max”, which is Kwak from Brouwerij Bosteels poured into a Kwak Yard Glass.   As you may know, these glasses are not cheap, so in order to deter sticky fingered visitors from making them into souvenirs, patrons ordering “The Max” must take off one of their shoes as collateral.  The shoes is then put into a basket and hoisted to the ceiling by a pulley system.  When the glass is returned, so is the shoe! This bar can get crowded, so as a courtesy to your fellow imbibers, if you plan to have a Kwak, wear your odor eaters, please! 

"The Max" at De Dulle Griet

While in Dulle Griet we tried:

St. Bernardus Abt 12, Prior 8 and Rodenbach Grand Cru

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

St Bernardus Prior 8– a Dubbel at 8.0 abv by Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV.

St Bernardus Witbier– 5.5% abv Witbier also from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV.

Bob's 1st ever "tart" beer as he tastes Rodenbach Grand Cru

Rodenbach Grand Cru– a Flanders Red Ale at 6.00% abv from Brouwerij Rodenbach NV 

Bush De Noël

Bush De Noël– a 12.0% abv Belgian Strong Dark Ale from Brasserie Dubuisson Frères

Geuze Boon a Gueuze of 6.0% abv from Brouwerij Boon

Gouden Carolus Classic a Belgian Strong Dark Ale -of 8.5%abv Brouwerij Het Anker.

Janet has the Delirium Tremens and is seeing Pink Elephants

Delirium Tremens a 8.5% abv Belgian Strong Pale Ale brewed at Brouwerij Huyghe.

cheers at De Dulle Griet

Afterward we stopped by a nearby bottle shop where a few of us to the opportunity to do a little beer hunting & gathered up few bottle to bring back to the barge as well as back home.

Dinner tonight on the barge was spectacular, we had salmon…

Dinner is served

and we shared a few beers and a few laughs as we reminisced about the day’s adventures.

 Next up is Day 4. We will visit 3 breweries then meet our Barge, the Iris, in Bassrode where we will spend the night before heading to Antwerp and Brussels.

 

 Link for Summary of Day 1

Link for Summary of Day 2

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Impromptu Tasting of 19 Beers.

Saturday night started out as 3 couples (my wife & I, my neighbor and another couple) who planned a mellow evening of grilling steak and drinking only a few beers.  Well it turned out to become an impromptu tasting in which we had the opportunity to taste 13 different beers style from the 19 beers we went through that evening.   

After 19 beers & 24 glasses

Here are almost all the bottles and all of the glassware 6 people went through on the evening.  Having all those beers made cleaning the glasses a little easier.

 The Aperitif Beers:   

 

Cigar City Jai Alai

Beer #1:  Jai Alai

Brewery: Cigar City Brewing.  Tampa, Florida

Style: I.P.A.

ABV: 7.5% 

21st Amendment Hell of High Watermelon Wheat Beer

Beer #2:  Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer

Brewery: 21st Amendment Brewery.   San Francisco, California

Style: American Wheat/Fruit                                

ABV: 4.9% 

Rodenbach Vin de Céréale

Beer #3: Vin de Céréale.  2004 bottle #7392

 Brewery: Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.  Roeselare Belgium (Brouwerij Palm NV)

Style: Flanders Red Ale

ABV: 10.0% 

Goose Island Sofie 2009

Beer #4:  Sofie

Brewery: Goose Island.  Chicago, Illinois

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

ABV: 6.5% 

Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast

Beer #5:  Beer Geek Breakfast

Brewery: Mikkeller. København, Denmark (Brewed at Nøgne Ø, Grimstad, Norway)

Style: Oatmeal Stout w/ Coffee

ABV: 7.5%  

Kern River Just Outstanding IPA

Beer #6:  Just Outstanding IPA

Brewery: Kern River Brewing Company.  Kernville, California

Style: I.P.A.

ABV: 6.8%  

Pisgah Baptista

Beer #7:  Pisgah Baptista

Brewery: Pisgah Brewing Co.  Black Mountain, North Carolina

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

ABV: 11.5%

 Dinner drinks:

Beers #8 & #9 were paired with grilled Filet Mignon, grilled asparagus and corn on the cob.

Ølfabrikken Abbey Ale Special Reserve

Beer #8:  Abbey Ale Special Reserve

Brewery: Ølfabrikken   Roskilde, Denmark

Style: Dubbel

ABV: 8.5% 

AleSmith 2009 Decadence

Beer #9:  Decadence 2009 Anniversary Ale

Brewery: AleSmith Brewing Company.  San Diego, California

Style: Dunkel Weizenbock

ABV: 9.0%

 Pre Dessert Beers: 

 
 
 

Good Karma Tripel version 5, 6 and 9

Vertical Tasting of Good Karma Tripel Version #5, #6 & #9

(IMHO Version #6 was the better of the three. It is an outstanding example of the classic Belgian Tripel)

 Beer #10:  Tripel #5 (made with Westmalle yeast) 

Brewery: Good Karma Brewing.  Boca Raton, Florida

Style: Tripel

ABV: 9.0 %  

 

Beer #11:  Tripel #6 (made with LaChouffe yeast,  sold as Ardennes yeast)

Brewery: Good Karma Brewing.  Boca Raton, Florida

Style: Tripel

ABV: 9.0 %  

 

Beer #12:  Tripel #9   (made with Uniboue yeast)

Brewery: Good Karma Brewing.  Boca Raton, Florida

Style: Tripel

ABV: 9.0 %  

 The Dessert Beers, Part 1:

Beer #13 & #14 are paired with chocolate cover strawberries

Southern Tier Crème Brûleé Stout

Beer #13: Crème Brûleé Stout

Brewery: Southern Tier Brewing Company.  Lakewood, New York

Style: Imperial Stout

ABV: 9.2% 

Consecration in the glass with Supplication, Crème Brûleé, Older Viscosity & Beer Geek Brunch Weasel

Beer #14:  Older Viscosity

Brewery: Port Brewing Company / Pizza Port.  San Marcos, California 

Style: Imperial Stout

ABV: 12.10%

 The Palate Cleanser:  

Beer #15:  Supplication

Brewery: Russian River Brewing Company.  Santa Rosa, California

Style:  American Wild Ale

ABV: 7.0%

The Dessert Beers, Part 2:

Beer #16 was paired with a chocolate lava cake.

 

 Beer #16:  Beer Geek Brunch Weasel

Brewery:  Mikkeller. København, Denmark (Brewed at Nøgne Ø, Grimstad, Norway)

Style: Imperial Oatmeal Stout w/ Vietnamese ca phe chon coffee

ABV: 10.9%

 The Digestif Beers: 

 
 
 

De Dolle Stille Nacht

Beer #17:  Stille Nacht

Brewery: De Dolle Brouwers.  Esen, Belgium

Style: Belgium Strong Dark Ale

ABV: 12.0%

 

Beer #18: Consecration

Brewery: Russian River Brewing Company.  Santa Rosa, California

Style:  American Wild Ale

ABV: 10.0%

De Proefbrouwerij Boerinneken

 Beer #19:  Boerinneken

Brewery: De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot).  Lochristi-Hijfte, Belgium

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

ABV: 9.5%

 My Favorite Brew of the Day:

Vin de Céréale. 

 My Least Favorite Brew of the Day:

Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Ale

 
 
 
 
 

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Beer #101 ‘t Smisje Grande Reserva

't Smisje Grande Reserva

Name: ‘t Smisje Grande Reserva

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Brewery: Brouwerij Smisje  website

Country: Belgium

Region: Oudernaarde

ABV: 11.0% Abv

How served: 330ml capped bottle poured into a Urthel glass.          

My Overall Opinion: Very Good.

I paired this beer with: Gnocchi.

Tasted on:  Thursday April 15th, 2010. 

Note:  This is the ‘t Smisje Kerst Ale brewed with Coriander and Grain of Paradise, (a 11%abv Belgian Strong Dark Ale) which is then matured in a Whisky Cask.  This beer tasted more like an English Barleywine, except it wasn’t as “thick”.  You get a faint taste of whiskey and a mild cherrish flavor to go with a strong malt sweetness, which wasn’t too sweet, as it wasn’t too “thick”.  This is surely a sipper and could be easily enjoyed as a before or after dinner drink.   I did enjoy the “plain” ‘t Smisje Kerst Ale better then the whiskey cask version I’ve just sampled.

On the Label:  Brewed & bottled by De Regenboog, Brugge, Belgium

From their website: Nothing about ‘t  Smisje Grande Reserva could be found on the Brouwerij Smisje website, so I added the following which could be found on this link within the Belgian Beer Board.

http://belgianbeerboard.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=290&Itemid=88888994

(BTW Filip Geerts is the Webmaster of the Belgian Beer Board and is also the Webmaster of the Brouwerij Smisje website).

Hi,
After we finished the marvelous “
Vin de Céréale” at ‘t Brugs Beertje, two marvels were ordered !
Barrel aged
‘t Smisje Kerst 11 vol% from Bruges’ brewery De Regenboog.
More info about
‘t Smisje Kerst can be found here…
There’s two different wood aged versions available.
One that has been aged inside a
Michel Couvreur’s Whiskey barrel (this is new). The other batch underwent some E. Dupont Calvados barrel ageing.

Fermentation:
Primary Fermentation: 2 Weeks
Secondary Fermentation in Bottle: Champagne yeast, port yeast and ale yeast

Maturation:
First Maturation: 60 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 weeks
Second Maturation: in the two different casks for 11 months
Third Maturation: 70 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 weeks

The result: Two masterpieces !
It’s really exceptional to actually be able to taste both beers side by side.
There’s so much differences.
The differences mainly cask related.
The ‘t Smisje Kerst is – ofcourse – clearly noticeable.
Still made according Bill Coleman‘s original American recipe with barley, wheat, vienna malts and caramalt.
The hops are Hallertauer, Kent Goldings.
Dark and white candi sugar, Coriander, Grain de Paradise !

Just after pouring out both beers, we noticed a less carbonated ‘t Smisje Calva Reserva. Not much foam.
I suspect that this beer is just that bit too young.  Waiting should be the message, and the bottle conditioning will certainly give some nice head in the near future.
Nevertheless, the ‘t Smisje Calva Reserva got our vote !!! Why ?

Simple, because this beer has that bit more body to it. Much more aromatic flavors too.
The Grande Reserva seemed less complex. Nevertheless, the Whiskey barrel gave a marvelous Whiskey woody touch to the beer. But somehow I missed the impressive warming complex nose from the ‘t Smisje Calva Reserva.
The Calva has a most delicate aroma. Warming, caramel, Calva woody, candi sugar, amazing full bodied, somewhat roasty, complex, even fruity ! 

People, this is what I call the ultimate Bruges Beery Treat ! Yes, the two beers !

No question: The € 5.00 we paid for each beer was well worth every drop !

Cheers,
Filip

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Beer Travels in Belgium Part 4 (Gent)

This is the 4th installment of our Beery Adventures in Belgium.  We visited Bruges, Gent, Mechelen, Antwerp & Brussels over 7 days, meeting with vendors for our beer travel company, BonBeerVoyage.com.  During our whirlwind week, we were able to visit over 50 beer related places and tasted over 50 different beers.

With Bruges behind us, we are now going to focus on Gent.  During our 2 nights and 1 day in Gent we visited 9 bars, discovered a new brewery and tasted 13 different beers.

De Dulle Griet at night

De Dulle Griet bar

 

Our 1st visit was to De Dulle Griet (50 Vrijdagmarkt).   De Dulle Griet is a cool, quirky bar which you will find on the square called Friday Market (Vrijdagmarkt in Dutch).   The bar is named after a very famous medieval supergun from Gent.  You can see this large red canon on display just outside the Friday Market on the canal front.  Dulle Griet has over 250 beers to choose from,  including their famous “The Max” which is Kwak from Brouwerij Bosteels poured into a Kwak Yard Glass.

Ceiling Shoe Basket in De Dulle Griet

 As you may know, these glasses are not cheap, so in order to deter sticky fingered visitors from making them into souvenirs, patrons ordering “The Max” must take off one of their shoes as collateral.  The shoes is then put into a basket and hoisted to the ceiling by a pulley system.  When the glass is returned, so is the shoe! This bar can get crowded, so as a courtesy to your fellow imbibers, if you plan to have a Kwak, wear your odor eaters, please! 

Malheur 12 at De Dulle Griet

Ruth starts off her night with a Rochefort 10

After searching the packed pub both upstairs and down and not finding a seat in the house, Ruth & I were fortunate enough to be invited by another couple, on a holiday from Holland, to share the next available table.   I started my night off with a Malheur 12, which is a Quadruple and 12% abv from Brouwerij De Landtsheer NV .  Ruth started with a  Rochefort 10, also a Quadruple at 11.3% abv from  Brasserie de Rochefort (Abbaye de Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy).   After we finished our Quadruples, we said goodbye to our new Dutch friends and left to check out one more pub before heading off to dinner.

Den Trollekelder

As we walked to Café Den Trollekelder (17 Bij Sint-Jacobs) we heard what sounded like a jazz band practicing nearby.  So as I went to check out Den Trollekelder, Ruth went to track down where the great music was coming from. 

Den Trollekelder's troll window

Den Trollekelder's troll window

The 1st thing I saw upon approaching Den Trollekelder were all the trolls in the window.  The 2nd thing I noticed was the beer list hanging in the window, at a quick glance it appeared they had about 150 beers.  Great list, now to find a seat.  As I entered I noticed how empty the place looked.   I walked through the 2 levels and the only person I saw was the bartender.   I thought this was strange, given the fact of how crowded Dulle Griet had been and how good the beer menu looked.    I headed back out the door to find Ruth who hadn’t appeared in this troll den yet.

Trefpunt

I saw her standing next door in front of Trefpunt (18 Bij Sint-Jacobs) talking to an elder man with a small plaid shopping cart.   The stranger my wife was chatting it up with was Coen, a local artist and poet.   He apparently carries all his poetry in that shopping cart.  He confirmed that the jazz band we heard would be playing shortly in Trefpunt, which is a music and theater café.   We went in & found a couple of seats at the bar near the stage.    They have a small beer list of 6 beers on tap and 18 bottled.  We both managed to find a something to our liking.

Mike & Ruth toast with an Orval & Rochefort 8 in Trefpunt

Ruth stayed with Rochefort and this time ordered a Rochefort 8, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, 9.2% abv from  Brasserie de Rochefort. I matched her Trappist with an Orval, a Belgian Pale Ale.  It is 6.90% abv and brewed by Brasserie d’Orval S.A.  

Coen and Ruth got into a conversation about everything from the French Poetry to Bob Dylan. This was followed by her attempt at interpreting his Flemish reading of one of his poems, (the Rocheforts obviously somehow endowed her with translating superpowers).  By the time the band started to play we were starving so after the first set we headed out in search of dinner.  

Aba Jour

Board welcoming you into Aba Jour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We went to the beer enthusiasts’ restaurant Aba-Jour (20 Oudburg) which serves Italian & Belgian fair.   Aba-Jour had 6 beers on tap, 55 bottled plus 10 specials on their menu board including Vin de Céréale and Stille Nacht 2003.

Rochefort 6 in Aba Jour

Drie Founteine Oude Geuze in Aba Jour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While we waited to be seated for dinner, we sat at the bar and Ruth went for a Rochefort trifecta and ordered the Rochefort 6, which is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 7.5% Abv from  Brasserie de Rochefort.   I went with Drie Founteine Oude Geuze,  a 6.0% abv which is a Gueuze from Brouwerij Drie Fonteinen

Cantillon's Gueuze 100% Lambic Bio in Aba Jour

With my spaghetti dinner I stayed in the Gueuze family and ordered Gueuze 100% Lambic Bio,  a 5.0% Gueuze from Brasserie Cantillon.

 

Ruth holding a haiku by Coen

Above is a Haiku, written that evening for us by Coen (Coenraed de Waele ) with one of the 7 or so pens he had in his jacket pocket for such occasions.  (For those of you not familiar with Haiku, it is a Japanese form of poetry written in 3 lines, the 1st line has 5 syllables, the second line has 7 syllables and the 3rd line has 5 syllables.) This is what it says.

 Hear close harmony.

Some Americans in town.

My mind runs open.

                        By Coenraed de Waele

 The next morning and early afternoon we spent touring around Gent.  During our rounds we came across 2 beer bars, which were unfortunately closed at that time of the day.  

 

Het Verdronken Land

The 1st one was Het Verdronken Land (57 Steendam) which is a tapasbar.   They have about 50 beers on their list and is only a short walk N.E. from Den Trollekelder.

 
 
 
 

Delirium Café

Delirium Café entrance

The 2nd beer bar which was closed was Delirium Café , (2 Klein Turkije).   The Delirium’s entrance would lead you to their basement bar.  This is the sister bar of the famous Delirium Café in Brussels, but is has nowhere near the 2000 beers you will find in Brussels.  It does, however, have an impressive 150 beers on its menu.      

Gruut in the Christmas Market

While we walked thru the Christmas Market we came upon a booth promoting a new brewery in town named Gruut.   We had a sample of their Belgian Amber Ale which is, as the name says an Amber Ale at 6.6% abv.  We found the beer, the way it was made and the beer glass all very interesting, so we inquired about the Brewery.  Once we found out it was about a half mile away, we headed off to see…

Gruut Gentse Stadsbrouwerij

Entrance to Gruut

Gruut Gentse Stadsbrouwerij (10 Grote Huidevettershoek) is a Hop-less brewery.  The head brewer a female.   They currently make 4 beers, a Wit Beer 5%abv; a Blond 5.5% abv; an Amber Ale 6.6% abv and a Bruin 8% which at the time was in production but not bottled yet.  

Gruut's Amber, Blond & Wit bottles

Gruut is the name of a medieval mixture of spices and herbs used to make beer instead of using hops.  Gruut was also the name of the local currency in the middle ages which was used to pay the taxes on the amount of Gruut used.  

 

Gruut

Gruut

Gruut

Here at Gruut they use modern equipment and brewing techniques in the old-fashioned tradition.

The bar/brewery/tasting room is very modern and nice.  And it’s worth the visit just to see the restrooms…

Gruut's Mens room

Gruut's Blond & Wit with some snacks

With a snack of hard cheese and salami, Ruth enjoyed the Belgium Wit Beer and while I had their Belgium Blond.

 

‘t Gouden Mandeke entrance

A peek inside ‘t Gouden Mandeke

A peek inside Gouden Mandeke

The walk back into town from Gruut made us thirsty so we stopped off at ‘t Gouden Mandeke (9 Pensmarkt) for a beer.   This was a quaint bar with baskets hanging along the beams of the ceiling.  They were very crowded and there was no place to sit, not even at the bar.  A quick peek at the beer menu revealed that they had about 50 beers, a good selection, but nothing we couldn’t find elsewhere in town. With a thought of a later return visit, we headed off to find a place where we could sit and enjoy a beer.  

‘t Galgenhuisje

We walked to the end of the block to ‘t Galgenhuisje (5 Groentenmarkt).  This is the smallest bar in Gent.  The location was where they used to hang people, hence its name “the Gallows House”.  They had 4 beers on tap and 14 bottled beers.   They made up for the small beer list with a great atmosphere.   Amazingly enough, a couple was leaving as we arrived so we were able to grab one of the few tables that fit into this doll house sized pub.

Ruth & Mike toast in ‘t Galgenhuisje with a Westmalle Triple & Gentse Tripel

I had the Gentse Tripel, which is an 8.0% abv Tripel from the Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.  Ruth drank a Westmalle triple, which is a 9.50% abv Tripel from Brouwerij Westmalle (Adbij der Trappisten van Westmalle).   We meet a great couple sitting at the table next to us.  After a while of chatting across our tables, we invited them to join us at our table, which made for an easier conversation.  And opened up a table for another group!

‘t Galgenhuisje with our new friends

She is a native of Gent and he is also a native from Gent, but he now lives in Canada a few months out of the year.   We enjoyed their company so much that after we finished our drinks here the four of us walked across the street to…

 
 
Het Waterhuis Aan De Bierkant

Het Waterhuis Aan De Bierkant  (9 Groentenmarkt).  Waterhuis is wonderful bar, if the weather is nice you can grab some grub and a beer outside while enjoying the canal view and people watching.  Inside it is a two story bar with a casual atmosphere.   They have an excellent beer menu; that night they had 16 beers on tap and over 150 bottled.   

I drank a Oud Beersel Oude Gueze Vieille , a 6% abv Gueuze which is brewed by Brouwerij Oud Beersel,  Ruth had the N’ice Chouffe, which is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 10% abv.  This is a Christmas beer made from by the Brasserie d’Achouffe which was van ‘t vat (from the tap). 

Oud Beersel Oude Gueze Vieille

N’ice Chouffe

 

Waterhuis cheers with friends

Our new friends and drinking companions treated us to a round.  We look forward to sharing a few with them when we return to Gent during our Belgium Beer Barge Tour in October!

It was then off to dinner after consulting with the locals.  We ate at a restaurant called Coeur d’Artichaut (6 Onderbergen). It had a kind of modern sparse décor, high ceilings, black and white.  Great atmosphere, great food, great end to a great day!  All while having the proper glassware for my Duvel too!

Gent at night:

Gent at night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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