Belgium Trip - Day 4 - Movin' to Mechelen
Posted by Rich Link on 04/06/2005 09:21:44 PM
Sorry for the delay in this report. It was a busy weekend, then the NCAA Fianls and then Dupont Sasion and Bons Veoux on tap at O'Brien's last night.
March 6 – Movin’ to Mechelen
I woke up with the world’s worst sore throat, and hacked up a couple of packs worth of cigarette smoke. It would take some convincing, of both me and the rest of the gang, to get us back to the ZBF for Day 2. We had a few drink tokens left, and it was a possibility. However, we were moving our base from Gent to Mechelen. Our plan was to take the train to St. Niklaas and change there to go to Mechelen. So it seemed reasonable to take a short side excursion to the ZBF. The girls were bits uncertain about taking our luggage into the Fest, and none us of were looking forward to the smoke. While we waited in St. Niklaas for our connecting train, we saw people heading to the fest. One last thought about heading to the fest, but we decided to push on.
We arrived in Mechelen and it was cold. Did I mention that Belgium was experiencing the coldest snap of weather since 1971? Well, I’m here to confirm it. When we arrived in Mechelen, it was partly sunny, but a bit breezy and in the 30’s. We were amazed to find that there were no taxi’s at the train station. At last one arrived, but someone else had called for it. We nearly hijacked it, but asked the driver to send another taxi. What an ordeal! We stood outside for about 45 minutes waiting for a ride.
Eventually the taxi arrived and we were on our way to the Hotel Carolus, adjacent to the Het Anker Brewery. A quick check-in, and off to our room. Oh my god! When we opened the door to our room, we were hit with a blast of hot air that felt as hot as the outside air felt cold. A quick check of the thermostat found it set at 30 Centigrade! It was all of that. We turned it off and opened the windows and headed to the Het Anker pub for lunch and beers.
The pub seems like a classic. Great wood interior, a beautiful bar, ample seating, and great beer and food. I truly could have stayed here and never gone anywhere else in Mechelen. Started off with Blusser, a very nice Pils, followed by Mechelschen Bruyen, an adequate brown ale. Then Gouden Carolus Tripel, a very nice bodied, spicy, creamy beer. A classic! Speaking of classic, the G.C. Classic was next – another great beer. This was all topped off by Cuvee Van De Keizer, a great dark 11% beer that is truly one of the better seasonals out of Belgium.
My notes on lunch are a bit incomplete. I know I had a very nice salmon baked in foil with lots of vegetables. There were some chicken dishes as well, but I don’t remember what they were. I do know that we were all very happy with our meals. A few more drinks, topped off with more of the Cuvee, and we were reluctantly ready to leave.
We wanted to visit Den Stillen Genieter. It started to snow, so we called for a taxi. We arrived at 1900, the reported opening time, but it was shut. So we stopped in next door at De Gouden Vis, a smoky local’s pub with a short beer menu. We watched the snow and drank some fruity lambics. Then next door to find it still shut. We had read that we could ring next door and the man would come to open up. We did, but a lady (the wife?) came down and said that the pub would open at 2000. So we went to another pub next door to the one we just left. Again, a short menu, but Gouden Carolus was on the list.
Finally the pub is open; we order Antiek, Moriau Geuze, De Neve Geuze and La Chouffe. The publican was very quiet (hence the name of the pub, right?), and was very leisurely about filling the order. There were three men at the bar, but nobody else came in while we were there. We also tried Lowie Kators, Hecules, Vieux Fondre Geuze and Drie Fonteinen Framboos. A nice pub, a nice beer list. I would return.
19 Different beers
23 Total Beers
104 different beers
120 total beers
Tomorrow – Day Trip to Brussels
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