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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Beer Travels in Belgium Part 3

This is the 3rd installment of our Beery Adventures in Belgium.  We visited Bruges, Gent, Mechelen, Antwerp & Brussels over 7 days, meeting with vendors for our beer tour company BonBeerVoyage.comDuring our whirlwind week, we were able to visit over 50 beer related places and tried over 50 beers. 

This entry focuses on the 3rd day of the trip.  We finished our time in Bruges by visiting 3 more bottle shops, 3 more beer bars, a gourmet chocolate shop and a cigar shop which serves beer in its backroom bar.    

The 1st bottle shop of the day was de Bier Tempel  (7 Philipstockstraat). 

de Bier Tempel

A short walk from Cambrinus (see below) heading towards the Grote Market, you will spot this bottle shop on the right side of the street.   They have a nice section of beers as well as glassware at competitive prices. I wasn’t planning to buy any beer today, but when I spied a bottle of Rodenbach Vin de Céréale, I couldn’t resist.  It is a Flanders Red Ale at 10% abv, which was only bottled once.  Since I was already going to make a purchase, I also picked out a bottle of Catherine The Great, which is brewed by Brouwerij Smisje.  It is a Belgium Imperial Stout, aka Foreign/Export Stout and is 10.0% abv.  

Catherine The Great & Vin de Céréale

De Kuppe

De Dolle Oerbier

It was still early in the day, but not too early for a beer, so we walked to De Kuppe (19 Kuipersstraat) as I knew they opened early.  As the sign says on the window, they have about 100 beers to choose from including De Dolle Oerbier, my choice for that morning.   Oerbier is a Belgium Strong Dark Ale at 9.5% abv. brewed by De Dolle Brouwers.

Since it was only around 11:30 am on a Monday, not too many other bars were open. We took a chance and walked 4 ½ blocks to ‘t Poatersgat (82 Vlamingstraat), but they were closed.

't Poatersgat

‘t Poatersgat is a cellar bar, with a stellar beer list!!!  They have over 100 beers to choose from. Although we didn’t have the chance to enjoy it this time, the inside is a lot larger than you might expect from looking at the door.  It is like a large cave with very tall ceilings.  Since it is just outside the “main” section of town, it usually is not as crowded with tourists.

After seeing ‘t Poatersgat closed,  we then looked across the street to see that De Zolder (53 Vlamingstraat), was also closed.  This is a fairly new place and like ‘t Poatersgat is located in a cellar setting.   They have about 60 different beers to choose from on their menu.

Since we were striking out on our beer hunting expedition, we decided to try another bottle shop and then head out to find the most unique chocolate shop in town.

Bacchus Cornelius

Bacchus Cornelius

We walked around the corner from ‘t Poatersgat to get to Bacchus Cornelius (17 Academiestraat).   This is a very upscale bottle shop, with has a very comfy sitting area with a fireplace in the back room.  They carry over 450 different beers as well as glassware.  We ended up buying Advokaat which is a thick yellow pudding like liquor.  It is a blend of egg, sugar and brandy; it is very delicious and is 22% abv.  You can eat it with a spoon like a pudding or pour it over ice cream.

Off of Steenstraat is  a square called Simon Stevinplein.  In this square you will find both  Jerry’s Cigar Bar (13 Simon Stevinplein) and The Chocolate Line ( 19 Simon Stevinplein).

Jerry's Cigar Bar

In Jerry’s Cigar Bar you can find cigars, if one indulges in such, and about 13 beers or other  apéritifs which can be enjoyed in the bar in the back of the shop or on the square.

The real treat to be found on Simon Stevinlpein is The Chocolate Line 

The Chocolate Line

In  The Chocolate Line you will find the most amazing chocolate shop.  Even Keith Richards has shopped here. They have a very unique line of chocolates, including some made with basil, sun dried tomato and olive oil! Yes, it sounds bizarre, but somehow it works.

2be front entrance

2be's Great Wall of Beer

The largest bottle shop in town is 2be (53 Wollestraat).   This is an extremely large shop.  On display between the front entryway and the bar in the back you will see the “Wall of Beers”.  This is an amazing display of almost all the beers of Belgium with the matching glassware, a real must see for beer geeks.   On the top floor of the shop you have many different chocolates and other Belgian specialties including some of their beer collection.  Downstairs you will find the rest of this huge beer selection with appropriate glasses for sale next to their respective beers.  

2be back porch at night

In the back you have an inside bar and an outside area overlooking the canal to have a beer. It is especially atmospheric in the evenings or on a nice afternoon…or anytime, heck you are in the most beautiful city in Belgium, drinking the best there is to offer, what more could you ask for?  

Bierbrasserie Cambrinus

Bierbrasserie Cambrinus

One of the best places in town to grab a great lunch with a huge selection of beers to choose from is Bierbrasserie Cambrinus  (19 Philipstockstraat).  At Cambrinus you will find a beer menu which has over 400 beers and a food menu full of cuisine a la bière.

Bierbrasserie Cambrinus

Gulden Draak

Ruth and I both had their Flemish Carbonades, which is a beef stew prepared with Gulden Draak and served with applesauce.   I paired mine with a Boon Oude Geuze Mariage Parfait, this was a 2004 vintage and is brewed by Brouwerij Boon , this Gueuze is 8.00% abv.   Ruth had the Gulden Draak, which one of her favorite beers.  Gulden Draak is a Belgium Strong Dark Ale and brewed by Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Mariage Parfait

Mariage Parfait

Next in this series we will explore what Gent has to offer…stay tuned!

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