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 2

This is the 2nd in the series of our review of our recent trip to Belgium.  We visited Bruges, Gent, Mechelen, Antwerp & Brussels over 7 days, meeting with vendors for our beer tour company BonBeerVoyage.com.  During our whirlwind week, we were able to visit over 50 beer related places and tried over 50 beers. 

This entry focuses on our 2nd day of the trip, while we were in Bruges.  On this day we visited 1 bottle shop, 5 bars, 1 brewery & finished the night off dining in an award winning restaurant known for their cuisine a la bière.

Bruges has many bottle shops to buy beer & beer related glassware, today we visited The Bottle Shop (Wollestraat 13).

The Bottle Shop

The Bottle Shop

The Bottle Shop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bottle Shop has a very large selection of beers to choose from and a very good assortment of glassware.  Above I have shown only 3 of the many walls of beer.   If you do buy here, they do a great job of packing up your beer/glassware safely, which is key if you plan on packing it in your checked in luggage. 

On Breidelstraat, the street connecting the Burg & the Grote Market, there is a very small alley way (De Garre) which leads to 2 bars.  You can very easily walk right by if you’re not paying attention.  You’ll spot what looks like a doorway and has the word Cookie’s written on the glass pane above the alley entrance.

Alley to de Garre

Chalkboard for Garre and Cookies

          In the very back of this alleyway is Cookie’s (2 De Garre).  If you are in the mood for tapas, hot or cold, stop in for a bite and maybe even a beer.  The beer menu is very limited, they had 4 beers on tap (Jupiler, Keizer Karel Blond, Brugse Zot Blond & Brugse Zot Bruin & 8 bottle beers, nothing which you can’t find back in the USA, Duvel, Tripel Karmeliet, Orval, Chimay blue, Westmalle dubbel & tripel and Rochefort 10, all bottles were 3.50 euro except for Rochefort which was 4.80 & the Mystic Kriek at 2.30.

Character in Staminee De Garre

The gem in this alley is Staminee De Garre (1 De Garre).  It is a little bar, with a very nice atmosphere and 135 bottled beers.  If you’re lucky, you might run into the guy in the top hat (above), who was whistling songs.  If it is crowded downstairs, head up the narrow staircase to a larger room upstairs.  If you’re only going to have 1 beer, the beer to try here is the House Tripel, which is brewed by Brouwerij Van Steenberge.  It is a Tripel and 8% abv and you will not be disappointed!  They serve your beer with a small plate of cheese.

@ The Pub

@ The Pub menu

The closest bar to the Belfry (Belfort) Tower is @ The Pub (4 Hallenstraat).  They have a nice selection of about 100 beers. See menu above. In @ the Pub you have 2 seating areas inside- as you enter to the left is the bar area and to the right is a lounge area.  If the weather is nice you can sit outside and enjoy your beer as well.

Eetcafe Leopold

Leopold beer / liquor menu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eetcafe Leopold (26 ‘t Zand) is located across from the tourist information office.  Besides having 8 different types of Croque’s, which are very tasty, they have a fairly nice beer list of about 40 bottles.

3 Tripels & a Bruin

Shown above are 4 of them, Kasteel Bruin, Kasteel Tripel, Westmalle Triple & Tripel Karmeliet.   The notices written (in Dutch, French & German respectively) on the cigar sign translate to: smoke is deadly, smoke kills & smoke is deadly. 

De Halve Maan entrance

2 beers available at De Halve Maan

Brouwerij De Halve Mann / Brouwerij Straffe Hendrik (26 Walplein).  This is the only brewery within Bruges.  It is less than a half mile walk from the train station.  They give a guided tour of the brewery and museum which last about 45 minutes and cost 5.50 euros.  It is a very entertaining tour and in the museum you will see among other things a huge collection of old metal beer cans and vintage beer glasses.  The tour is well worth the price of admission, plus it includes a tasting of Bruges Zot.

Straffe Hendrik Tripel

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brugse Zot, was poured from the tap.  It is a Belgium Pale Ale and is 6.0%abv.

Straffe Hendrik Brugs Tripel Bier, is a 9% abv Tripel.

't Brugs Beertje

't Brugs Beertje

‘t Brugs Beertje (5 Kemelstraat) is just 250 yards from the Grote Market off Steenstraat.  It is my favorite bar in Bruges.  Not only do they have a fantastic beer menu, but the service is great and it is a wonderful place to meet and mingle with locals and other beer enthusiasts.  We only had time to stop by and say hello to Daisy, the owner and have 1 beer, which was Gouden Carolus Noël.  This is a Belgium Strong Dark Ale of 10.5% abv and is brewed by Brouwerij Het Anker

Den Dyver Gold Award 2009

For dinner we went to Den Dyver  (5 Dijver) which is known for its cuisine a la bière.  They received the 2009 Gold Medal Beer & Gastronomy Award from Bierpassie, Ambiance Magazine & Maxwell Williams.   At Den Dyver you have the choice of ordering a la carte or choosing from their 3, 4 or 5 course menus.  The 3, 4 or 5 course meals can be paired with either beer or wine and are actually cooked in the paired beer.   My wife had the 3 course meal & beer pairing & I went for the 4 course.

hopped up champagne & house pale ale

We started off with an aperitif, mine was the House Pale Ale, unknown abv & brewer.  Ruth had the house aperitif, which was a hopped up champagne.

Blanche de Hainaut Biologique

Struise Rosse

            For appetizers, I had the swordfish steak with an anchovy crust which was paired with Blanche de Hainaut Biologique, a Witbier  with a5.5% abv.  This was brewed by Brasserie Dupont sprl.  Ruth had the duck confit which was paired with Struise Rosse, vintage 2007, 6.0% abv.  This is a Belgian Pale Ale brewed by De Struise Brouwers.  Both were perfect pairings.

Westmalle toast

For the main course we both had the duck paired with the Westmalle Tripel, which is a Tripel with a 9.5% abv.  This is brewed by Adbij der Trappsten van Westmalle (Brouwerij Westmalle).  The Westmalle was a good match for the duck.

Het Kapittel Pater & Bink Winterkoninkske

For dessert, my wife had an assortment of cheese which was paired with Het Kapittel Pater brewed by Brouwerij Van Eccke, it is a Belgian Dark Ale,6.00 % abv.  As usual, the beer was a great pairing for the cheese-and Ruth wondered “Why did we ever waste time pairing wine with cheese in the past?”

I had a pear strudel with Fourme d’ ambert, a French cheese which was paired with Bink Winterkoninkske, Belgium Dark Strong Ale with an 8.3%abv made by Brouwerij Kerkomj. This was an incredible combination, probably the highlight of the evening.

To end the evening of beer and food bliss I had a fig cake with almond cream.

The service was excellent. The son of the owner is the beer/wine sommelier, and presented each beverage with an explanation and a proper pour.  There were separate waiters and bus people, so we were very well taken care of.  The atmosphere is upscale yet relaxed. We are looking forward to returning with our tour group in October.

Coming up next in this series we will finish our time in Bruges by visits to 3 more bottle shops, 3 more beer bars, a gourmet chocolate shop and a cigar shop which serves beer in its backroom bar. Then we’ll head off to Gent.

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