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Belgium/London Evenings News

Posted by Dick on 12/01/2002 06:37:33 PM

OK, not tons of beers on this trip, so it should fit a single post.

Tuesday, November 19. Amsterdam morning. Bought Tim's latest edition, and had a Der Tolen Double Dark at in t' Wildman. Hoped for "Elvis Lives" on the label, but no such luck. The Beer was OK, but nothing special, IMO. Maybe I should have chosen another of their brews. Most of Wildman's list was familiar to me, but by no means is it a bad list. Lots of fine brews, there.

Train to Brussels, and dinner at my favorite bistro - Le Pavillon (Joris, it's at 64 Rue DeFacqz, in Ixelles. 02-538-0215.) Later, a Tongerlo at a friend's place.

Wednesday, November 20. Walked a good 10 km, all over Brussels, to shake the jet lag. Stopped in the Bier Circus twice, for fortification: Hellekettelbier the first time, then Westvleteren 12. My first Westy 12 in a while; it's a wonderful beer, but I'm not sure it's better than Rochefort 10. Further research required. Dinner at Le Pavillon again; I go there for the food, obviously, and the ambience. Then a late Chimay Blue at the Galerie d'Enfer, shooting the breeze with owner/artist David P., who was excitedly unwrapping a signed H.R. Giger print from an edition of 50.

Thursday, November 21. At last a real BEER day. Met Joris and Lut, an abslutely charming couple. We had a spectacular lunch at the "Anthony Van Dyck", and made straight way to the Kulminator. Finally, I filled in a birthday-beer card there. We were the only patrons. What a delight. Leen came over to ask about my card, since in the space for "Favorite Beer", I had simply entered "Belgian". I explained that I enjoy discovery and surprises, and that any Belgian beer the K might offer me would be perfect. She seemed to accept that answer. We enjoyed, at our leisure, several beers, starting with three aged beers:

- Brunehaut "8" Christmas, from Allard & Groetembril. I did not note a year on it. It was a dark amber, with almost no foam. and a lot of suspended yeast. There was malt in the aroma and in the almost wine-like taste. Joris says the abv is closer to 9 than the 8 on the label. It went down very smoothly.

- Gueuze "Deneve" 5.2%. A mild tasting gueuze, with a little foam, when assertively poured. Not sharp, but with a very nice tang in the taste.

- Felix Kriekbier, 1975, 8% abv. Hands down, the best of the three. Just a little bit sweet, it was DELICIOUS!

- last, a 1980-vintage (Pre-PALM) AERTS 1900. I chose this, because I had enjoyed the un-aged version often during the nineties, in Brussels. Well, it had oxidized a bit too much, and while there was a nice nutty and malty flavor to it, it had not aged as nicely as its Chimay Blue contemporaries.

We were joined by Walt, Joris and Lut's oldest son, at the K. He is, not surprisingly, a great guy. He volunteered to lead me to the tram to the station, so I could get off to Brugge in time to meet Filip. As we boarded the tram, Priscilla called, and there was a detour to Paters Vatje to meet with her and her husband Paul. I forgot to note the beer I had, but I'm sure it was something I already knew and liked. (Priscilla, do you remember?)

Then it was RUN to the station, to miss the last direct train to Brugge. So, after a slow connection to, and a fast cab ride from, the Brugge station, I met with Filip and his (wife?) Katrien, at the Beertje. I was a half hour late, but they were still there. (Thanks, Filip, and thanks for the gift bottle of BBBurgondbier! It was great to meet you at last!) The place was cheerfully buzzing, but Daisy took time to introduce herself to another Babbler. I am very sorry to have gotten there so late; we did not have much time to get to know each other before the last train back to BXL. However, I did thoroughly enjoy their company, along with a Kerst Smeetje (??? - notes pretty sloppy by now) from Regenboog, and another Westy 12 (purely for research sake, you know...).

Then it was a cab ride, that was easily worth inclusion in the next "Star Wars" movie, to catch the last train home. (I think we arrived before we left.) And so to bed.

Friday, November 22. Had an Orval at "Best Toffe", just at the square up from the BC, waiting for the BC to open for dinner. At 2.50 Euros, it was cheaper than one at the BC. Then, Dinner at the Bier Circus (Gratin de pates aux lardons, champignons, petits pois, et coulis de tomate), accompanied by:

- Rochefort 6, hard to find in Colorado. A very nice beer.

- a 1991-vintage St. Bernardus "Abt 12", from the BC's new "vintage beer" list. Too oxidized - another that hasn't aged as well as the Chimay Blue. The signature St. B. taste was there, albeit quite faint by now. There were nice aspects to the taste, but it was past its prime. OK once, but I would not pop ten Euros again for one. Back to the regular beer list.

- Lam Gods. (Paelman - 6%). A dark brown dubbel in its own glass. Label 100% Flemish - not a word of French or English. Nice, but not remarkable. Clearly worth the trying, for something new, but once was enough.

- Bornem Triple. Well known and well enjoyed. This and the Rochefort 6 were the best of the evening.

Saturday, November 23. Eurostar to London, enjoying a Duvel. Then to the blast at the White Horse, which has been well-documented already. A fwe personal notes:

- BillC's Old Salty ROCKS!

- The beers I had ranged from great to fabulous.

- The Indcoop's (1977) Silver Jubilee and the 1991 Lee's Harvest Ale, both from Mark D's private stash, were truly exceptional. What a treat! Mark, thanks for the five-star hospitality!

- I particularly enjoyed the Bass Museum's "P2", and the Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby Mild (my favorite of the beers on the festival menu).

- The Froach's "Ebulum" included elderberries, which prompted a string of Monty Python quotes.

Altogether I sampled 20 beers, and would gladly sample them all again, not to mention all the beers I missed.

And, it was a true delight to meet so many Babblers. I hope that every one of you can make it to the GABF soon, so I can return the favor (and great pleasure) of introducing you to my country's offerings.

Overall, I learned that trying aged beers is more of a gamble than I had known. Before this trip, I had had 100% winners. This time, I got some lessons. Still, it was worth the time and money to explore. And it is definitely no fault of the K or the BC; they just keep them for me to try at my own risk.

Thanks to everyone for making it such a wonderful trip!

Cheers,

Dick

Belgium/London Evenings News - Dick, 12/01/02 06:37:33 PM
        Re: Belgium/London Evenings News - Filip Geerts, 12/02/02 04:03:29 PM
                Doubts about 'wife'? - Dick, 12/02/02 05:32:53 PM
        Re: Belgium/London Evenings News - Joris P., 12/02/02 01:52:21 AM
                Oops - Sorry, Wout! - Dick, 12/02/02 08:47:11 AM
                        Re: Oops - Sorry, Wout! - Joris P., 12/02/02 09:27:21 AM
                                Re: Oops - Sorry, Wout! - Lyle Ostrow, 12/02/02 12:17:06 PM
                                Re: Oops - Sorry, Wout! - Mark A, 12/02/02 11:42:46 AM
                                        OT: Spoonerisms - Dick, 12/02/02 12:02:22 PM
                                                Re: OT: Spoonerisms - Jean H, 12/02/02 02:59:55 PM
                                                        HA! nfm - Dick, 12/02/02 03:27:36 PM
                                                Re: OT: Spoonerisms - Mark A, 12/02/02 12:43:03 PM
                                                        Unintentional Spoonerisms - Dick, 12/02/02 02:40:53 PM
                                                                Re: Unintentional Spoonerisms - Jean H, 12/02/02 02:58:01 PM
                                                                        And, a famous one from Tom Waits... - Dick, 12/02/02 03:32:46 PM
                                        Nice one - didn't know that nfm - Joris P., 12/02/02 11:50:57 AM
                                                Re: Nice one - didn't know that nfm - podge, 12/02/02 12:03:42 PM
                                                        HUH? - Dick, 12/02/02 12:09:11 PM
                                                        Re: Nice one - did know this - Joris P., 12/02/02 12:08:23 PM
                                                                Re: Nice one - did know this - Mat W, 12/02/02 01:52:55 PM

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Around Bruges in 80 Beers: 2nd Edition

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