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Brugge and the Gans

Posted by Mat W on 02/17/2003 08:04:23 AM

I have just returned from an excellent long weekend in Brugge and West Flanders.

We arrived in Brugge at about 8pm on Friday having only taken 3 hours to drive from Essex ( and 40 minutes of that was in the queue at the Shuttle terminal ). We dumped the bags at the hotel ( 't keizershof http://users.skynet.be/keizershof/ which was Euro 36 a night for a double room with breakfast, and shot off into the town.

It was a bitter evening with the temperature well below freezing, so we bar hopped our way into the centre.

We started at the Ovene where I had a light beer to start with, a Malheur 12.

From the Ovene we wandered through to the Garre where we settled in for a couple. I partook in a Caulier Vielle de Bon Secour Brune and a Sint Bernadus Prior.

We tipped out of the Garre and headed round to Luc's place, the Zolder where I had Johann's excellent Wostyntje (the mustard beer ) and a Het kapitell ABT on draught.

A quick dash back through the Markt, found us at the Beertje at about 10.30, but only after we had been to the Jenever bar next door for a couple of snifters.

The Beertje was packed and we had to stand for a while before a table became free in the corner of the bar, where we were joined by Filip and Katrien at about 11.15.

The beer of the evening, weel two actually , were Achouffe McChouffe on Draught, and a bottle ( the last ones in the bar ) of BBBourgondier. Both Flipi and myself tried the beer. His produced a tight creamy head and tasted really smooth, whereas on mine, the head disappeared almost immediately, and tasted slightly more spicy, very good though nevertheless.

We tipped out of the BB at about 1.15 and staggered back to the hotel. I don't think i was a good idea to start and end the evening on a 12% beer.

On Saturday after an enforced lie in ( my head failed to work properly for some reason ), we went off into the twon for a shopping trip ( not my idea ) and then wandered through the town to the Nieuw Museum for lunch. I tried the De Dolle Museum Bier again and found it in excellent condition as usual. We both had a superb lunch of mixed grill and lamb cutlets, grilled on the open wood fire in the bar area.

In the afternoon headed off to the Nevejan Drankcentrale at Krombeke to stock Up.

Watou's Wit was 48 bottles for 24 Euros - excellent value.

We diverted on the way home to visit the De Dolle Brouwers brewey tap for a Oerbier. I was hoping to get a bottle or two of Grand Reserva and Stille nacht. I was disappointed to find that they had one bottle of Still Nacht left and no G/R. I was given the last bottle of S/N as a consolation for a wasted journey.

Onbthe way out we stopped off in the butchers whichs ajoins the brewery and bought some wild boar pate (which we ate last night with crust brown bread from Brugge and it was fabulous ).

On the way between the beer warehouse and Esen, we stopped at a little village of Vlamertinghe, and visited a war grave site, where it turns out Claires Great Uncle is buried. It was my first visit to one of these graveyards and it was quite sobering.

Back in Brugge, we had a kip and then set off into the town once more. Tonight we went for a meal at the restaurant Simon Stevin, which is opposite the Fonteinje where Jeremy and Theresa amongst others have dined before. The food was excellent and I had a very good Vijsoep as a starter, followe by a stunningly good Carbonnade of Beef. The beer however was a bit diappointing and Haacht Witbier was not welcome when it arrived, being one of my least favourite of the style, as I find it a bit thin.

From the meal, we went to the Beertje again ( as you do ) and settled into the back room. Claire had one and then wandered off back to the hotel, leaving me to sample a few. I started with a 75cl bottle of Het Anker Winterbier, followed by a 75cl bottle of Dupont Bon Voeux. Nicely greased, I had the dubious pleasure of being joined by a very brash amaerican, with a cigar that was the size of a ssmall drainpipe. He proceeded to fumigate the entire inner back bar, so I coughed very loudly and left and went into the front bar only to be buttonholed by the Black Beastie. He was ranting about the cricket and football and rugby as he does, but was then distracted by a very drunk Canadian, who was himself ranting about the food he had just been served in the Fonteinje, He had apparantly caused a riot in the place, when his fillet steak appeared with more sinew than meat on/in it, and being a restaurateur, he felt forced to complain. I was glad we hadn't been able toget a table in there; mind you the entertainment must have been good.

Once the lad, had calmed down, we were bale to have quite a good chat about Belgian Beer as this was his first visit and he wanted to know more about the scene. The Black Beastie was trying to get him to drink Bolleke's where I was suggesting he tried such delights as the Dupont Moinette Blonde on draught, and Regenboog halloween and Kerst which I was working my way through. He eventually staggered out of the pub, a lot more worse for wear than he was was when he came in, so you can see he ignored the BB's recommendation of a nice De Koninck or two.

On Sunday we packed and left the hotel about 10.30'ish. I visited the Bierpalais to purchase 4 beers I had not seen before, and after buying the obligatory 500g's of rolling tobacco for my brother, we drove off to the Gans in Huise.

It was busy with a large number of people squashed into the front barbut we managed to squash into the corner by the fire.

Claire had a Duchesse, and I went for a 1988 bottle of De Troch Kriek. It was sublime, nothing like the muck De Troch tip out nowadays.

I followed this with a Stim from Stimart, the long defunct ( 1988 ) brewery from Huy near Namur. The owner was trying to describe teh fruit used in the beer, as a claose as I could get was Elderberry. he said it had Moerbie in the brew. ( Joris or Filip - what is that please ). The beer tasted of raspeberry but had something else as well, which cut though. It wasn't bad for a beer that was at least 15 years old.

Befoire we left I purchased someother goody's from the bar, like a 75cl bottle of De Koninck Kriek ( from the Dworp brewery ) to have with the Gueuze I bought last time for Jeremy's tasting session, when it happens. I also took home a Sint canarus Tripel ( brewery unknown as present ), a Moortgat Vedett ( found out later to be rebadged Bel Pils ) and a Moortgat Wonder Beer all for tasting later.

From the Gans, we drove cross country to the motorway and headed for Poperinge.

We were going to go to watou to the Hommelhof for lunch but they stop serving at 2.30, so instead we crossed into France and went to the 't Blauwershof in Goedwaersvelde were they do a range of Belgian and French artisanal beers.

Food fisnishes at 3, but they relented after a bit of pressure and Ihad a great plate of Beef carbonnade ( again! ) Claire had Coq a la Biere Brune which turned out to be a turkey leg, but was good none the less.

The beer however was a bit of a dissappointment. All the good stuff was in big biottles which is no good if you are driving so I settled for a Van Ecke Pater which was very sad and tasted old and stale, even though it was still inside the best before date.

Outside the bar was tiny little butchers ( as recommended in Simon van Tromp's book on the area ), where I found 5 large bottles of beer from the new Zannekin brewery at Cassel, which altogether came to 12 Euros.

Well stock up and the springs of the poor car groaning under the weight, we drove back to Calais and onto the shuttle back to Folkestone. The queue's were horrendous and we were very nearly bumped off our booked train but the backlog of cars being given priority loading having them selves been bumped off their booked service. It appeared that they were only running 2 trains an hour instead of the normal 3, so there was a bit of a crush.

Hope this gives other people who visit an idea of places to go.

A report of next weekend trip to Brussels will follow.

Mat

Brugge and the Gans - Mat W, 02/17/03 08:04:23 AM
        Re: Brugge and the Gans - Jeremy Gray, 02/17/03 05:39:43 PM
                Re: Brugge and the Gans - Mat W, 02/19/03 03:38:49 PM
        Re: Brugge and the Gans - Filip Geerts, 02/17/03 12:34:09 PM
                Re: Brugge and the Gans - podge, 02/17/03 03:55:46 PM
                        Tom and Peter: Former bartenders Brugs Beertje - Filip Geerts, 02/17/03 04:12:47 PM
                                Thanks Filip NFM - podge, 02/17/03 05:06:22 PM
                Pili-Pili Info, please - John White, 02/17/03 02:38:35 PM
                        Pastahouse Pili Pili - Filip Geerts, 02/17/03 03:03:41 PM
                                Re: Pastahouse Pili Pili - Lorenzo Dabove aka Kuaska, 02/17/03 04:51:22 PM
                                        Re: Pastahouse Pili Pili - Mat W, 02/19/03 05:40:19 PM
        Moerbei - Joris P., 02/17/03 11:56:54 AM
                Re: Moerbei - Lorenzo Dabove aka Kuaska, 02/17/03 02:03:54 PM
                        Re: Moerbei - Joris P., 02/17/03 02:13:43 PM
                                Re: Moerbei - Lorenzo Dabove aka Kuaska, 02/17/03 04:55:28 PM

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