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Amsterdam & Belgium - Part 5 - Ghent

Posted by Rich Link on 11/23/2003 12:25:52 PM

May 20 – Day 2 in Ghent

A great breakfast at Erasmus. This is a great place to stay. Centrally located, well-furnished and very comfortable. We had made plans for a very busy day of sight seeing and pub crawling. We started out with a tour of the Castle Gravensteen. Then a walk through town to Café Den Turk, one of two pubs purported to be the oldest pub in Ghent. This one originated in 1340. It has an Americana theme with pictures of classic cars and Route 66. I ordered Hapkin, one of my faves, with a slight bret aroma, hop flavors very well balanced with the full malt body, and a lingering hoppy bitterness. Teresa took the Leffe Bruin, with slight chocolate and caramel flavors.

Off again seeing the sights. WUPT and in to Oliver Twist, an English pub with a pretty good Belgian beer list. We opted for the two Grimbergens, blond and bruin, both on tap. The blond had a sour tang in both the aroma and taste, but also a nice fruity flavor. The bruin was less sour, but also less flavor than the blond. I felt it was way too cold. After warming, more fruitiness as well as raisins and molasses came through.

Lunch at Restaurant Erasmus, no connection to the hotel. I had Chimay Bleu in the 11 oz. Bottle. Pretty uninspiring. Are the rumors true about the “dumbing down” of the recipes? Or was it the small bottle and the fact that it was quite young? Teresa had the Jan Van Gent, an ale with both black and white pepper aromas and flavors, as well as lacto and bret overtones.

More sight seeing, then over to Dreupelkot, the jenever bar two doors down from Het Waterhuis. Tried the Espirit de Chouffe, hot but flavorful five year old spirit of La Chouffe. Teresa prefers the berry flavors, and had the Bosbessenjenever. With flavors of blue, black and raspberries. We followed up with the Hoppen, made with hops, and Kriek, made with cherries. Both were nice, but we decided to move on for more sights and few more ales.

T’Galgenhuise is the pub where condemned criminals had their final drink before being hanged on the nearby gallows. It has been continuously licensed since 1635. It is purported to be the smallest pub in Ghent. We lucked out and got seats at the bar. The pub them emptied and a tour of English folks came in and filled the place up, drinking mostly Coke, and an ale or two. The house beer, Galgenbier is a 6.3% ale of deep amber color with fairly light body and flavors. Not much to like about it, except it is wet. Also had Artevelde, a sweetish amber ale with a yeasty aroma.

We then set our sights on Den Trollekelder. Arriving a little early, we then trekked around for another 30 minutes or so. Eventually it opened (on time, but late for us), and we had a great pub visit with Igor and the bartender whose name escapes me (sorry, and he was so nice). We had Lindeman’s Fond Geuze, a full-bodied geuze with great balance. Also had Boon Mariage Parfait, at 8%, oaky very lively, with a full-body and herbal flavors. We also tried Reinart Grand Cru, a 9.5% ale by De Proef, ruby-red, with a sweet malt aroma and a strong alcohol flavor. Igor told us the story about trolls and how you should release them from their bottles by blowing into them after you pour the beer into your glass. It’s a good story, and a good theme for the pub. Next time I come to Ghent I will spend more time at Den Trollekelder.

Amsterdam & Belgium - Part 5 - Ghent - Rich Link, 11/23/03 12:25:52 PM

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