2 weekend in Belgium.
Posted by Mat W on 05/15/2002 09:33:32 AM
I have just returned from 2 weekends in Belgium.
The first was in order to attend the Leuven Beer Festival with Priscilla and Paul along with various other Babblers.
I arrived in Antwerp at about 20:30 and was met at the station. Priscilla and Paul took me back to there flat where we cracked a bottle of lambic before going out. Paul was ftired so only came as far as the first bar.
Cilla and I managed to end up in the Waagstuk where we shared a bottle of the house beer Proef Zeppelin, which is back and roasty and I can't get enough of it.
On saturday we had a leisureley start to the day before heading to Leuven on the train. After a half an hour long route route amrch across the city we arrived as the doors had been open about 3 minutes and we had a choice of table.
There was s trange aroma drifting throughout the hall which suggest's that they had drain problems on a major scale.
Anyway, we selected or table and managed to fathonm out the method of serving being employed whereby you select a beer from the list, write the number on a small paper pad, and then wave a yellow card like a loon to attract the attention of one of the many servers. They wander off with your order and hopefully return with the beer you ordered.
I managed to try 9 or 10 beers in the four hours I allowed my self before I had to scuttle back to Brussels for the last Eurostar home.
I was particularly taken with the Den Hopperd Kameleon Gingseng and the Regenboog Snuffel Beer. I also tried the two beers on offer from de Schuur which were excellent, especially the Meneer.
De Schuur was the last working brewery in Belgium that I had not had a beer from so that was a bit of a milestone in itself,and I glad that it wasn't a let down.
I tried the Walraeve Pick-Ip pils just to see it it was any better that the last lot Itried, but I am still of the opinion that it should be re-christened Put-Down. It was vile.
That was weekend number one.
The next weekend was the one immediately foolowing and I was kicked out of the house for 3 days so Claire could get on with her revision for her up coming exams.
I managed to book a hotel at short notice in Ostend for E39 a night. I stayed with a freind who came over 'as he nothing else to do'.
The primary reason for the trip was to travel on a special traib on the Saturday, but as usual, beer became an important part of the weekend.
On Friday night I eventually made it to the Kroegske.. What have I been doing for the last 9 years. I have found the 2 best bars in Belgium in the last 3 months and think that I have been wasting the last 8 3/4 years.
What a place and what a stunning beer list. I only had an hour to spend before having to return to Brugge to pick up Jocky so I chose wisely.
I started with a bottle of Proef Snoek (1997) which was maybe a little past its best. I followed with a bottle of 't Gaverhopke Kriek (7%) which was a brilliantly subtle beer, and finished with a 1987 bottle of Callewaert Schavuit ( no not the Bios stuff, the original ) which I savoured until I had to rush off.
I will say that this will not be the last time I visit this plavce and I can see what all the fuss in the past has been about.
Thanks for the tip.
Earlier on Friday afternoon ( as soon as I had fought my way of the Eurostar ) I had visited the brewery tap at Cantillon to pick up supplies for the train on Saturday. I walked away with a bottle of Lou Pepe Kriek and 2 bottles of the St. Lamvinus, which is fast becoming one of my favourite lambics.
On the train on Saturday, I cracked the first bottle of the St. L, and made the mistake of setting the bottle down after filling my glass, ( borrowed for the day from the buffet at Oostende station ), and found that the second glass had gone incedibly bitter with the inclusion of the sediment from the bottom of the bottle. The first glass was lovely, but the second not so. The second bottle was decanted in one go and was a lot better. The Lou Pepe Kriek was a much better drink, and stayed good all the way to the bottom of the bottle.
On the Friday evening we had visited the Bottlje in Oostende and had a good go over the shelves. Jocky spend the evening trying all sorts of lambics whilst I worked my way up the gravities from 6 to 12, having a berr at each.
On Saturday evening we stopped off in Brugge on the way home and wnet to the Erasmus but unfortunately the supply of Crombe Kriekenbier has finished - booooo hisss, so we had a Oud Zottegens bier instead, but it was very nice. We tried to get in the Garre but it was full, so strolled along the road to Den Zolder. The welcome here was a warm as ever and just for a change, I had the same beer twice - 2 bottles of the brilliant Wostyntje from Johan's stable. We finished the evening off in the Bertje (where else?) but Daisy was rushed off her feet as you'd expect on a Saturday evening.
We caught the last train back to Ostende and went to the Bottleje, but only managed one beer before flagging and heading back toi the hotel.
I returned to the UK on the lunchtime Eurostar of Sunday, but the service was appalling and the supply of free wibe dried up, unitil we complained vociferously to the chief steward.
I had mooted going over again this weekend but when I suggested it to Claire I got 'The Look' so dropped the subject immediately.
Thanks to Pricilla and Paul for putting me up, or putting up with me.
Select the BACK button on your brouser to see the previous list