In De Wulf – Valentines Day, Birthdays and Beer Hunting
Posted by Thom Aikman on 02/16/2004 01:48:06 PM
In De Wulf – Valentines Day, Birthday and Beer Hunting
Another excellent weekend spent in West Flanders.
Eurotunnel journeys in both directions were on time. The weather over the weekend was pretty grim on both the Friday and the Saturday. The cloud lay very low over the Heuvelland all weekend and it was only on the Sunday that we saw some watery sun.
We stayed the weekend at the “In de Wulf” hotel, in the countryside outside of Dranouter. This was our fifth attempt to get booked in there. We only managed to get booked by actually visiting the hotel in October and booking for February. We were, therefore, first in the new diary for 2004. Just as well, Saturday was Valentine’s Day and all the rooms were booked, as many of the restaurant customers stayed overnight. The good news is that in the near future they will have 3 additional rooms (up to 10). The hotel is very nice place; a large converted farm, with a smart dining room with serious food (the emphasis appears no longer focused on beer), with a small covered terrace outside, and the bedrooms in the upper level. Never mind, in the dark and with torches the splendid Kauwackers is a mere 11 minutes away.
Our first stop; ‘t Boeregat, in Houtem was closed and a helpful old man explained that it was closed for a least a week. We then stopped at the Nevejan Drankcentrale in Krombeke to fill up the car after clearing the empties out of the boot and replaced 10 empty crates for 10 full ones, plus a few extras. For others that have been there, did you realise that he has a vast glasses store on the other side of the tarmac area, beside the toilets? After our serious beer spend, we got our 6 glasses free, plus a free case of Corsendonk Christmas (end dated 08/03).
We eat and drank the evening in the Kauwackers. We worked our way through the list; the only disappointment was this years’ Kerstbie – just not special enough. This bar is a superb beer bar, which does a great trade in food; there was a constant flow of people all evening. Get there before 7:30pm or you will end up in the rafters above the bar; which is self-service only – the stairs are not recommended after a night’s session.
Although my birthday was on the 15th, we decided to combine my birthday with Valentines’ Day – that is, we booked a special Valentine’s meal in the “In de Wulf” combined with my birthday treat of being driven around West Flanders by Paulette, to wherever I wanted to go.
Drinks Vanuxeem – first stop of the day, hoping to get some Christmas beers – they appeared all sold out and had only the usual mixed boxes. On arrival, we saw a Dupont van. Could they be sampling inside? Indeed, they were and after getting samples of the Blond, Brune and Saison, I was compelled to buy 2 of each which got us one free Moinette glass. On finding the Avec les Bon Voeux I bought a case; we now had two further glasses. Sorry Jeremy, although there was a sign for the St Lamvinus, it was all gone.
De Dolle – A planned visit of one hour became over 2 hours with a Oerbier and Arabier to taste with a free Oerbier for answering Chris’s mum’s 20 English questions. She is 87 this year and still going strong. Bought a mixed Oerbier/Arabier case and some Oerbier pate. The new stout was not available yet.
Het Hazepad – a Bob H tick, which on the map looked like the first road on the right after De Dolle. That part was right; we had almost driven all the way to Woumen, before we realised that we had missed it (the Bob H bars with exterior pictures are so much easier to find). We headed back and saw a piece of wood on the ground with the name on it. A muddy drive down a farm track found the bar, this is possibly most isolated Bob H bar so far. The bar was open but no one was there. Then the farmer arrived, put some music on and then another local couple arrived and we had a great chat over the house beer “Ne Zotten Haze” – a Deca beer, I think.
De Terre Plekke – another Bob H tick and De Bie bar, which we had missed the day before, as we were too early. We arrived just as it opened and got our drinks. This has probably the poorest list of all the De Bie bars in the area. Virtually all that is available is the De Bie beers. Although, I enjoy the beers they don’t seem what they once were.
Arrived back at the hotel to get ready for the evening meal. A superb meal, the best of the weekend. No beer; but a well balanced meal (carpacchio of scallops, wood pigeon and 3 assorted desserts. Even the coffee came with 3 different chocolate treats).
A wonderful and exciting day.
The Sunday morning started the brightest of all – the location of the hotel is very special. Totally relaxing; the breakfast room looking out over the hills; no traffic apart from the occasional cyclist and the sound of birds and geese nearby. The breakfast on both days was better than most chain hotels manage at three times the cost. Value at 80 euros a night/room.
We left the hotel feeling totally relaxed and in fine form.
The plan was to head back to Calais via Westvleteren and Diksmuide. A quick coffee stop at the abbey; felt urged to top up with 12 more bottles of Westvleteren 12.
Spent a pleasant hour wandering round Diksmuide before driving along the N35 to get the right turning for the Ijzerdijk and the final stop of the weekend at the Herberg Tervate. We had two hours to enjoy this canal side café; shared a Hanssens Kriek and had some superb onion soup. For those who have visited recently, it may be worth noting that located near the toilet wash basin, is a photograph of a visit to the cafe by Podge's Beer Tours in August last year. Paulete noticed it and it made our day. Maybe John White knows about this.
Then we headed back to the E40 and homeward to Calais.
I have just counted that we bought 303 beers.
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