Amsterdam & Belgium - Part 9 - Leaving Brugge, visiting De Dolle
Posted by Rich Link on 11/28/2003 07:49:15 PM
May 24 – Leaving Brugge, visiting De Dolle
At breakfast, the Scots were there again. Then a couple came down that we recognized as being at the next table at Den Dyver the night before. They were from The Netherlands and were also extremely pleased with their meal the night before.
A short cab ride took us to the EuropCar dealer where we picked up a small Mercedes that would take us into the southern part of West Flanders. We negotiated the roads quite well, and made our way to Esen in good time.
On our first visit to Belgium in 1999, the Oerbier of De Dolle was one of my favorite finds. That trip, and during a subsequent trip in 2000, we were unable to get to Esen. This time we made sure we got there.
The brewery is hard to miss with all of the bright colors. My eye caught a very peculiar little placard with the saying, “See you next time in jail”, written on it. Hmmm, I hope not. Anyway, we made our way to the pub for some tasting. Kris and his mom were both there, ready and willing to serve us.
Kris poured a couple of Oeral’s, “just to remember what beer is”. The light 6% beer had very nice malty character and very slight hops. Goldings are used in the kettle only. We then moved up the Arabier, which is quickly becoming one of my favorites. The 8.5% ale is great Belgian “IPA” (my reference, not Kris’), with big hop aromas overpowering the malty sweetness. Bos Keun, the bunny rabbit beer, had light hops, flowery aroma, medium maltiness and a lingering bitterness.
Kris then took us on a tour of the brewery. We sampled some of the Oerbier Reserva 2002 from the burgundy barrels. It had aromas of sherry and port, was absolutely still, tart, dry and vinous. We finished up with a Stille Nacht, which poured very lively. After the head settled, we enjoyed the full body, which was somewhat sweet, but not too much. It was a real treat. It was bottle conditioned with honey.
While at De Dolle, we ran into Jean-Paul, the brother of Chris from Achouffe, whom we had met on our previous Belgium trip.
As I write this, I’m surprised that there is no mention of Oerbier. I guess we just forgot about tasting it, since we were having such a great time. Kris’ mom, “Moose” (I’m spelling it this way since it is the only word I know that is close to how she pronounced it) spent a good deal of time sitting with us and telling us the story of her sons, the brewery and beer in general. She is quite a kick! Bought some shirts and Moose’s homemade pate and we were on our way to Ieper
We made it to Ieper, and our B & B – Camalou, and were greeted by Annette and a bottle of their house beer, which is brewed by Van Eeck. It was a nice triplish ale with some spiciness. We then found our way into town, had a nice meal, including Ename Abdij Blond, and headed back home for a good night’s sleep.
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