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Re: Drinking in Ghent - Prices?

Posted by John White on 12/15/2002 05:24:36 AM

The following is the entry for Ghent's most famous Speciality Beer place in my downloadable guide to Ghent (see www.whitebeertravels.com/downloads). The £££ means that it is very expensive. Like most entries in my guide, actual prices are quoted.

De Hopduvel (£££). Rokerelsstraat 10, ( 09 225 37 29, www.hopduvel.com

In "301 Bars"; the Free Beer is "The Beer of the Month"

This has just about the best selection of Speciality Beers in the city and it also does exceptionally good food. This coupled with excellent décor and ambience make it a don't-miss for the beer enthusiast when in Ghent, even though it is unquestionably very expensive.

It is slightly outside the city centre, with the consequent downgrading of the scenery, but it is not really that far and the journey is well worth it. From the City Hall, turn right out of Botermarkt onto Cataloniëstraat, which leads to Sint-Michielsbrug (St Michael's Bridge) over the river Leie. Once over the river, turn left and walk alongside it, wherever possible, until the Ghent-Ostend canal is crossed, and walk along this, on the tree-lined Coupure Links (Left Shortcut). Take the third left off this, Bijlokestraat, and then go very quick right onto Bijlokevest. The required Rokerelsstraat is second on the left, off this. De Hopduvel is in the middle of this short street, on the left, in a block of houses that were once home to cotton workers. If to save time you get a taxi, don't miss St Michael's Bridge during the stay in Ghent.

Although appearing small from the outside, expansion into neighbouring houses in the terrace, in which it is situated, means that, on entering, most are surprised as to how big "The Hop Devil" is, and marvel that it has got so many separate rooms. Another major surprise is the most attractive, inner garden (binnentuin), complete with tropical plants.

The hop is quite susceptible to blight and insect infestation, both of which can greatly reduce yield. Hop cultivators describe this as a struggle with the devil. Hence, at the end of each season, many burn a straw figure, a hop devil. This gives the name to this café. There is a good example of one of these effigies in the café, with a rope around its neck. The café also has much breweriana, including over 500 old brewery posters, some of which are from long gone breweries.

There are over 200 beers, eight of which are on draught, easily selected from an excellently laid out beer list. Draught beers include: De Koninck at €1.80 for a Bolleke (33cl), in October, 2001; La Chouffe and Poperings Hommelbier, both at €2.20; and the house beer, a blond abbey beer called Hoppetje (6%), at €2.10/4 for 25/50cl. There are draught beers of the month (bieren van de maand).

De Hopduvel's beer list is divided into beer types, the biggest section, Streekbieren (Regional Beers), being further sub divided into Provinces. Note that Wallonian ones are only given a Flemish name: Namen=Namur, Henegouwen=Hainaut. The menu states that the place specialises in top fermented beers; there are certainly no Pilsener style beers in the list. Earlier editions of the list stated that no Etiquette Beers were on sale; this appears to be still the case with the latest list, although it has no such declaration.

The following is only a small selection of the bottled beers available, concentrating on the more unusual beers available: Westvleteren 12o (Abt) at €5.50; Van Steenberge's Ezelsbier Bassevelde at €2 and their Stropken at €2.20; Rochfortoise Ambrée at €2.90; Fantôme at €7.30 (75cl); De Cam Gueuze at €4 (37.5cl); Drie Fonteinen Gueuze Millennium at €15.50 (75cl); Hanssens Aardbeien (Strawberry) at €5.10 (37.5cl); and Oud Beersel Gueuze at €4.60/8 (37.5/75cl) and Kriek for €5.10/9.30 (37.5/75cl).

Stropken was originally commissioned by De Hopduvel's owner, Jaak Denooze, for his De Hopduvel Drankenwinkel beer warehouse close by (Coupure Links 625, ( 09 225 20 68), but is now available in other places in Ghent, that are covered later, such as 't Stropke, 't Galgenhuisje, De Gouden Mandeke and 't Oud Cambridge. Further details on this beer are given in the entry for 't Galgenhuisje. This excellent beer warehouse has over 400 different beers. It is open from Tuesday to Saturday between 10am and 7pm, with a break for lunch. On Monday it opens at 1pm and on Sunday it is open from 10am until Noon.

Many of the beers on sale in the bar are featured on a beer label poster, seen in beer cafés all over Belgium, which is produced by De Hopduvel, a must for your living room wall on your return home!

Other drinks include: Wit (Riesling or Rivaner from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg), Rosé (Côtes de Provence) and Rood (Red Bordeaux) Huiswijnen (house wine) at €2.10/5.90/13 for a glass/50cl Karaf/Bottle; Filliers Jenever 30o/38o for €2/2.60; and Champagne at €37.20 a bottle. More interesting wines are available on a separate wine card (wijnkaart).

There is a first floor restaurant, which is preferentially offered to those who book in advance. However, full meals, as well as snacks can be taken in all the main downstairs rooms. Like the beer, the food on the menu card is divided into categories. Choices in the "Mini-Gerechten" (Small Dishes) category include: Croque Monsieur at €4.40; Foccacia met Geitekaas (Goat's Cheese) at €5.50; and Pasta Pesto met Gerookte Zalm (Smoked Salmon Pasta with a Pesto Sauce) at €9.80. "Maxi-Gerechten" include: Stoverij met Gouden Carolus (Carbonnade of Beef, the beers used in the recipe being Anker's Gouden Carolus) at €9.70; and Côte à l'Os (T-bone Steak) at €37 (for two people). All the Maxi Dishes come with Sla (Salad) and Frietjes (Little Frites). I had the Stoverij on my October, 2001 visit. It was excellent, way above normal Speciality Beer bar standard. However, two companions who had the Côte à l'Os declared it one of the best dishes that they had ever experienced, even when compared with multi starred Michelin restaurants: the best of raw materials, cooked exactly to specification. Desserts include Warme Appeltaart met Ijs en Slagroom (Hot Apple Tart with Ice Cream and Whipped Cream) at €4.20; and Profiterolletjes met Crême Anglaise (English Cream, i.e. Custard) for €4.50. Hapjes (Nibbles) include: Chips (Crisps in English) for €1.40; Stuk (Piece of) Quiche for €3; and Dim Sum for €3.70. There are also Weeksuggesties (Dishes of the Week), these being detailed on a blackboard. There are also special group menus available on request.

Further information can be obtained from the place’s Web site, from which reservations for eating can be made. Note that www.hopduvel.be is the site for the annual Hopduvel Festival in Asse, home to the legend of the Hop Devil. Strangely, De Hopduvel bar/restaurant's Web site says little about the place's famous beer offerings, although there is much information about its food, for which reservations and even choices from the menu can be made from the site, reservation and prior meal selection being something that is essential for groups.

De Hopduvel is open every day from 11.30am until at least 1am. Food is available between Noon and 2pm (not Saturday) and from 6pm until 11pm.

Drinking in Ghent - Prices? - Bruski, 12/14/02 11:52:35 PM
        Re: Drinking in Ghent - Prices? - Bill Coleman, 12/16/02 03:51:56 PM
                Re: Drinking in Ghent - Prices? - Bruski, 12/16/02 09:09:59 PM
                        Re: Drinking in Ghent - Prices? - Jeremy Gray, 12/17/02 11:58:38 AM
        Re: Drinking in Ghent - Prices? - John White, 12/15/02 05:24:36 AM
                Re: Drinking in Ghent - Prices? - Bruski, 12/15/02 01:09:14 PM
                        Re: Drinking in Ghent - Prices? - John White, 12/15/02 02:12:04 PM
                                Re: Drinking in Ghent - Prices? - , 12/16/02 09:12:06 PM
                                        Re: Drinking in Ghent - Prices? - Bruski, 12/16/02 09:12:14 PM
                                Re: Drinking in Ghent - Prices? - Bruski, 12/16/02 09:11:14 PM

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