Belgium report with questions (way too long)
Posted by Jacob Lövenlund on 06/09/2004 01:53:43 PM
Friday evening I went to Belgium with two friends.
Because of traffic jam north of Antwerpen Saturday before noon we decided to get off the highway and go to Westmalle. At Café Trappisten we enjoyed a half'n'half and ate some Westmalle cheese (quite boring isn't it?). They wouldn't sell us any Extra so I bought some trappist shampoo instead from an abbey in Brecht.
We drove to Deinze to visit my friend Benedict of Beerhouse Saga. He supplied us with some crates of Westvleteren and Chimay Dorée and he gave me a bottle of T'Hartje (9,5%). The label says "Gebrouwen door Huibrouwerij De B's en 1ste jaar Brouwerij en mouterij CVO-IVV Gent". I figure it has something to do with the brewing school of Gent. Anyone knows? He also gave me a magnum bottle of Straffe Hendrik Exclusive. It is 8% and it has a picture of a man with a head shaped as a half moon and it says "Celebrate the year 2000". Is this a special brew? According to RateBeer no other Straffe Hendrik beer is 8%. While we were there we drank Malheur 10 aged for 5 years, Bios Vlaamse Bourgogne and draught Augustijn.
We arrived in Vichte around 7pm. At the festival there were not many people so all the brewers had time to talk. There were some new beers there I hadn't tried and some the rare ones; Redor Pils from Dupont, Paulus from Leroy and Petrus Aged Pale brewed for America only from Bavik. I bought a case of Petrus Aged Pale and a 10L plastic cask of 3Fonteinen Lambik (of which I am drinking right now as I write). The guy at 3F had to call Armand before he could sell it. The folks of Verhaeghe were very friendly towards us because Duchesse de Bougogne was awarded best wedding beer at the Danish beer festival last month. They supplied us with loads of free samples (also after the festival was closed) and gave us a free case of Duchesse de Bougogne and their rare tafelbier Ouden Bruinen (3,5%) which I had never heard of. All in all it was a nice festival and I got drunk when I tried to get rid of my 11 tokens because I got free beer all the time. I still have two tokens for next time.
We slept in the car and drove to Eizeringen Sunday morning. Here we enjoyed the hot wheater and the Belgian draaiorgel championship and drank lots of Girardin Gueuze and draught Girardin Kriek. Armand Debelder was there and I asked him about brewing some more raspberry beer (After I read mr. Gray's first rating on RateBeer I opened the 1986 bottle I got from Joris), but unfortunately he said no. He said it would be too expensive to brew and that he wouldn't be able to sell it to the Belgians beacuse of the price. He thought it was very funny when I told him that it was I who bought the 10L cask of lambik the day before in Vichte. We had ordered some good beer from Yves including 10L cubitainers of Girardin Lambik, Faro and Kriekenlambik which fill my refrigerator right now. I also got the excellent Lambikland book. It's funny that Grote Dorst is in the museum part.
Sunday evening we went to Brussels and checked in at Hotel Ibis near the St-Katelijne church. The rooms were ok but the breakfast buffet lacked bacon, sausages and warm eggs. We had some trouble finding Delirium Café (why do you give an alley a name when it is too small to be on the maps?) Once there I drank Foudroyante Gueuze (the owner told me it was not another label on a normal Lindemans, but according to RateBeer it is the same. Who is right?), Bobeline La Bière de Spa from Huyghe (boring. The owner also ensured me that this wasn't a label beer), Cuvée de l'Ermitage from the mid seventies (tasted fantastic), Saint Helene La Marquise du Pont d'Oye (the owner recomended this. It was not bad, but slightly dissapointing), La Botteresse Brune 75 cL (a great and very spicy brew), Gueuze De Neve 75cL from the eighties (very expensive but a truly wonderful experience), draught Campus Premium, draught Floris Fraise, draught Spring Brugs Lentebier and draught Silly Pink Killer.
Monday morning we went to Cantillon. It was a superb visit. Jean Van Roy. I tasted the coming Cantillon Cuvée Championaise (a dry-hopped unblended lambic), Tyrnilambic (brewed with sea-bucthorn for One Pint Pub, Helsingfors. There is none left at the pub and only three 37,5cL bottles left at the brewery!), an unblended lambic with a pear sirup called Sirop de Liege (brewed for In 't Spinnekopke, Brussels) and Vos (very young lambic. Jean said that he only has three regular customers of this interesting drink for the poor people). We walked around tasting seven different casks of lambic and then he bottled 12 bottles of the one I liked the best; a 13 months old lambic from a Cognac cask. He also bottles some Faro for me, I was allowed to buy some Loerik and I got one bottle of Cuvée 1904 (brewed for the football team Union Saint-Gilloise).
In the afternoon we went to Dranken Geers in Oostakker and bought more great beer and then we went home to Denmark. It was another great trip to Belgium and I will go there again in less than two weeks.
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