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Report on a romantic beery stay in Bruges - Longish

Posted by Manuel on 11/06/2004 09:47:30 AM

When my wife and I got married this summer, one of the presents was a voucher that we could use for a short trip to a hotel anywhere in Flanders. We decided to try the ĎRomantic Brugesí package of the Aragon Hotel in Bruges. Hereís the report of a romantic beery stay in Bruges.

We arrived by train in the morning on the 2nd of November. After having delivered our bags at the classy English style Aragon hotel in the centre of town, we strolled through Steenstraat, Brugesí main shopping street, which most conveniently leads almost directly to Dickieís Beer and Grill house. We had a quick snack and I decided to start the beery part of our trip with an Arabier, delicious as always. We headed back to the hotel, passing a few more stores, to unpack and check out our room, which was very tidy and cosy. For an aperitif before dinner we walked across the famous Grote Markt of Bruges to Staminee De Garre. I had a Tripel of the Garre, their creamy, 11% house beer, followed by a Chapeau gueuze. The waitress mistakenly brought me the sweetened version, but was happy to rectify the misunderstanding at once. Can you imagine me ordering a lemonade gueuze? No way! My wife, Anneke, had a Pecheresse on draught, which she felt was great. Dinner was now awaiting us in Erasmus, just a short walk away from De Garre. I had the Dupont menu which Joris and Philip boasted about on this board and I must say they were right: the African chef sure knows his business. If youíre planning to taste the Dupont meal: ask the waitress, itís not on the regular menu. Tired but content (three beer places in one day, not bad!) we hit the sack.

Whereas day one was more beer oriented, the emphasis of day two was more on the romantic aspect of our stay. We started the day with a nice ramble passing some of the main historic buildings and places in Bruges and the Damsevaart. A visit to the fairly new chocolate museum more than pleased my sweet toothed wife. In the afternoon we took the horse and carriage tour. I know, you canít get more touristlike than that, but hey, it was included in the hotel package. The tour took us to all the places we already visited on foot, but the expert comments of the friendly coachwoman made it worthwhile after all. If you think it couldnít get more romantic than that, youíre wrong. We enjoyed a bottle of champagne in our room (included in the package, of course). As the ultimate proof that we are Ďsavourersí, not drunks, we left about one quarter of a glass in the bottle. Dinner (again included in the package) was served in a nice little gastronomic restaurant called Kurtís Pan. I canít but highly recommend the place. The food was great and a glance at the menu learned that the prices where very reasonable. As a beery touch to this romantic day we had a nightcap (a Killkenny for me and a Duchesse de Bourgogne on draught for Anneke) at the Irish pub Celtic Ireland, situated on the Burg.

At day three we took the train to Ostend, where we ate shrimps on a bench facing the sea (romantic isnít it?). A stroll over the promenade brought us to Ďt Botteltje, which has a great selection of Belgian beers. While eating a pasta dish I couldnít help but overhearing a conversation between the owner and a Bush salesman about the Anheuser-Busch lawsuit and we also got a sneak preview of the Bush de NoŽl merchandising. Beers tasted: Vlaamse Leeuw donker (never had it before and probably wonít have it again) and a Keyte on draught (had it before and most definitely will have it again, speaking of a well-balanced beer!). After having struggled our way through the crowd in the Ostend shopping street we headed back to Bruges and the beery highlight of our stay: Brugs Beertje. The famous pub has everything to charm a true beer lover: a wonderful atmosphere, most friendly owners, reasonable prices and a great beer selection. Anneke started off with a Sleedoorn beer of De Regenboog and my first of the evening was a Pannepot, a fairly new strong brown ale, which was nice but not superb. Finishing the Pannepot I asked Daisy, the owner, if she had any cellar leftovers available that were not on the menu. After checking she presented four bottles, one being a Ė hang on to your chair Ė Smisje Calva Reserva. Needless to say the choice was very easy. While enjoying this fine example of brewing craftsmanship we took the time to observe the other visitors in the pub. I can very well understand that a De Koninck on draught is a big enough adventure for Japanese visitors having their first Belgian beer ever, but what really boggles my mind is that Belgians visit one of the most famous beer pubs in the world, take the time to examine the vast beer list and still manage to order their usual Hoegaarden or Duvel. Oh well, that didnít stop me from finishing off the evening with a Ďt Smisje Halloween. Try this excellent beer if you get the chance, but take your time doing it!

The 4th and final day of our stay. We still had one morning to spend before taking the train back to the other end of Flanders. Anneke came up with a simple but genius idea. Why not take the bus to Assebroek and visit the De Regenboog shop? Why not indeed? After a 15 minute ride we arrived at the shop (which has its own bus stop, conveniently called Smisje), where we were served by Johan, the most friendly of all Belgian brewers himself. After a nice chat about Brugs Beertje and the next Zythos beer festival, we left the shop with a fine selection of Johanís beers, including 4 bottles of Ďt Smisje BBBourgondier. We would have taken more, but it was hard enough as it was to get everything home in one piece by bus and train.

Just home, but already counting down to Hasselt (life can be great, canít it),

Manuel

Report on a romantic beery stay in Bruges - Longish - Manuel, 11/06/04 09:47:30 AM
        Great wedding present, Manuel! - Jeremy Gray, 11/06/04 04:51:43 PM
                Re: Great wedding present, Manuel! - Manuel, 11/08/04 02:46:37 AM
                        Re: Great wedding present, Manuel! - Jeremy Gray, 11/08/04 02:58:33 AM
                Re: Great wedding present, Manuel! - johan b., 11/07/04 01:11:29 AM
                        BBBourgondier - Jeremy Gray, 11/07/04 04:50:46 AM

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