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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2006 * Archive through July 19, 2006 * I am off to Belgium < Previous Next >

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Craig Johnson
Intermediate Member
Username: Californiacraig

Post Number: 312
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 24.4.121.198
Posted on Sunday, July 02, 2006 - 04:24 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hello everybody,

I haven't been around in a while so I have missed all the latest reviews. Anyway as the subject line says I am off to Brussles and a city called Brugge. Does anybody have any recommendations on breweries, monastaries or pubs to hit while I am there?
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 1049
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 70.236.7.159
Posted on Sunday, July 02, 2006 - 01:04 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Craig,

Try to run down a ccopy of the "Good Beer Guide to Belgium and Hollnad" by Tim Webb. It is published by CAMRA

In Brugge, you must visit 't Brugs Beertje at Kemelstraat 5. "The Littel Bruges Bear" is how the name translates

This is one of the best beer bars on the planet. We visited the place in 1995, so this might be a bit dated. they claim to have over 300 differnt Belgian beers available. The brochure I have says they're open from 4 pm to 1 am and are closed on Wednesday. they have a "pub grub" food menu. I remember my wife and I having 5 different lambics open in front of us one night. We spent 3 or 4 nights in Brugge and visited this place almost every day.

Hotels, bars and restaurants in Belgium are often closed on days when you'd expect them to be open, so beware!!

In Brussels, try to visit Cantillon. in 1995 it was only open for tours on Saturday mornings. Another place we found to eat was right across the narrow street from the Mannequin Pis, but I don't remember the name of the place. It was up a narrow steet off the Grand Place

Another good restaurant in Brussels we liked was Falstaff at 17 Rue Henri Maus, near the Bourse. Nice selection of beers, and a good menu, especially the Carbonnade Flamande and pomme frites. the place has a really nice decor of Art Deco and Art Nouveau.

If you track down Webb's book, you'll find it very valuable in finding places. Brugge andd Brusssels can be difficult to navigate (street numbering seems to have no logical basis), but don't worry, darn near everybody speaks some English. So be sure to talk to the locals, and get directions.
 

Scott Manning
Intermediate Member
Username: Liquidbreaddiet

Post Number: 378
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 69.182.146.240
Posted on Monday, July 03, 2006 - 01:34 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Also visit 400 beers artisanalle's - great people = great beer and you can drink there, as well as take beers home.
 

Nick Shore
Junior Member
Username: Nshore

Post Number: 80
Registered: 09-2003
Posted From: 194.139.100.164
Posted on Monday, July 03, 2006 - 07:03 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

In Brussels, I recommend the Bier Circus. Great food and beer selection. Cantillon makes a beer just for them and it's great!

Also, smack dab across from the boy peeing is the Poenchkeller (sp?). Unique interior and people watching. Oh, great beer selection.

If you can swing it, you should try to hit Westvleteren. Not very for from Brugge.
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 1050
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 70.236.7.159
Posted on Monday, July 03, 2006 - 11:59 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

When we visited in 1995, the closest you could get to Westvleteren was the Inn across the street. The Monks didn't allow anyone inside the monastery or brewey. I think you could go inside the ccathedral, tho.

You could go to the "Beer drive thru" and have a monk bring a case of beer to your car. The drive thru wasn't open everyday. There was sign out by the road saying when they'd be open. The guy who ran the Inn said it depended on when they'd have beer available.

Also available at the Inn were the cheese and bread produced by the monks. We rode rental bicycles out there a couple of days for lunch while we were staying in Poperinge.

Oh, I looked up the place across the street from the Mannequin Pis is the Poechenellekelder. It's just a block off the Grand Place. Just ask a local where Mannequin Pis is and you'll be right there.
 

Jim Keaveney
Advanced Member
Username: Jimkeaveney

Post Number: 866
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 152.163.100.8
Posted on Monday, July 03, 2006 - 02:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

visit this site for a wealth of info:

http://www.babblebelt.com/

definitely get the guide (it has been updated and no longer includes holland)

In Brugge, I love the Beertje and DeGarre. Cambrinus is a new place that opened this year and has ~400 beers. A half hour train ride will take you to perhaps the best beer bar in the world "t'Kroegske" in Izegem. Great food (cooked with beer) and incredible selction of beer, friendly knowledgeable owners but only open Thursday to Sunday and check their website for hours.

In Brussels, the Delerium cafe is cool and has a whoppoing 2001 beers. A Cantillon tour is a must.

I wouldn't count on a Westvleteren trip as beer is extremely limited there and there is no access to the monastary/brewery anyway. Their cafe is cool enough if you were going to be in the area but hardly worth a special trip.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 5709
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.224.243
Posted on Wednesday, July 05, 2006 - 05:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A friend came back from Belgium and said the beer at Westvleteren is in extremely short supply this summer (too much demand and too many tourists). They offer one or two varieties one day a week but it sells out within a couple of hours.
 

Steve Sampson
Member
Username: Sampsosm

Post Number: 191
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 129.137.219.88
Posted on Wednesday, July 05, 2006 - 06:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I was just at Westvleteren on June 4th, and they had all three beers. They did not have any six packs at the gift shop, however.

I would recommend going there, its very close to Brugge, and you can't buy their beer, aside from the exorbitant prices on eBay.
 

Jim Keaveney
Advanced Member
Username: Jimkeaveney

Post Number: 867
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 64.12.116.8
Posted on Wednesday, July 05, 2006 - 07:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"they had all three beers"

I suppose you mean that the cafe across the street had all 3 beers available for consumption on premises?
 

Magnus Graham
Member
Username: Cellarman

Post Number: 236
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 84.201.149.189
Posted on Wednesday, July 05, 2006 - 10:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The beer museum in the big square in brussels doesn't tell you anything you don't already know about beer. A couple of rooms and a beer in the price.
keep it simple they've made beer for millennia
mash it boil it hop it yeast it drink it
 

Steve Sampson
Member
Username: Sampsosm

Post Number: 192
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 8.8.196.87
Posted on Thursday, July 06, 2006 - 11:29 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"I suppose you mean that the cafe across the street had all 3 beers available for consumption on premises?"

Yep, they had the blonde, the 8, and the 12, at the cafe.
 

Nick Shore
Junior Member
Username: Nshore

Post Number: 81
Registered: 09-2003
Posted From: 194.139.100.164
Posted on Thursday, July 06, 2006 - 12:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You figure they have to have all three at the cafe for guests. That's one reason they don't sell too much for take-home. I wanted to get at least 1 sixer but they didn't have any extra.
 

Steve Sampson
Member
Username: Sampsosm

Post Number: 193
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 129.137.219.88
Posted on Thursday, July 06, 2006 - 01:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Nick,

I too was dissappointed that they weren't selling any six packs for take away. The crappy part is that in a beer shop in Antwerp, some guy had cases of the Westy 8, and he was selling them for 6 euro per bottle!!! Thats insane considering the 12 sells for 10 euro a six pack at the shop. Needless to say I didn't buy any.
 

Jim Keaveney
Advanced Member
Username: Jimkeaveney

Post Number: 868
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 205.188.116.8
Posted on Thursday, July 06, 2006 - 02:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yeah, I was talking about take away. Pretty sure that is what Bill's friend is referring to as well. My point is that one should not get the impression you can make the trip there, take a brewery tour, visit the abbaye and cart away beer. As I said, the cafe is cool enough if you are in the area. If you have a car, not a far trip from Brugge. Like many places in Belgium. cafe hours are "interesting" so check ahead if you go. Without a car, it's a bit of a hassle to get to. There was a shop (Beer Temple) selling the 12 in Brugge when we were there in April. Probably gone by now.
 

Steve Sampson
Member
Username: Sampsosm

Post Number: 194
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 129.137.219.88
Posted on Thursday, July 06, 2006 - 02:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ah, I see. And yes I agree that it can be a hassle to get to, there are no taxi cabs in the small towns you get off the train. There is a bus that runs to and from the cafe, but I think you have to call, and it doesn't run on Sundays (the day we arrived ). We got lucky and hitched a ride from a train conductor who was getting off.

Whatever you do, have fun Craig, Brugge is a nice city.
 

Jim Keaveney
Advanced Member
Username: Jimkeaveney

Post Number: 870
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 205.188.116.8
Posted on Thursday, July 06, 2006 - 04:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes, the Belbus is great IF it works out. You have to call 2 hours in advance! Do you remember the name of the conductor who gave you a ride from the station? There is a nice guy named Patrick who works at the Poperinge station and has given us rides and help on our last 2 visits.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 5720
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.224.243
Posted on Thursday, July 06, 2006 - 04:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My friend said they had all three beers at the Westvleteren cafe the day he was there, but only two (not the 12) for sale by the case, which were gone within a couple of hours. There is a telephone number you can call with a recorded message (in Dutch, French and English) stating which beers will be available by the case on which days (only a couple of days per week). There is also a sign in front of the brewery with the same information.
 

Steve Sampson
Member
Username: Sampsosm

Post Number: 195
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 129.137.219.88
Posted on Thursday, July 06, 2006 - 04:58 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

His name was Hendrik, he took us to the cafe from Poperinge, then to Iepper, then dropped us off at the train station in his town which was close by. It was really nice of him to drive us around. I, of course, paid for his beer at the cafe, he had a 12.

Last *TWO* visits! You got yer priorities straight!
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 5725
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.224.243
Posted on Thursday, July 06, 2006 - 05:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I kick myself today. Twenty years ago I was touring on a bicycle in Ieper, Poperinge and Brugge, among many other places. Not that I didn't like good beer (at least I'd had Guinness and some other ales), but I knew one percent of what I do now. I do recall having a witbier in Brugge, probably a Blanche de Bruges. I would go to the cafes and ask for what the locals drank, especially the old men. "Oh, you wouldn't like that," was the typical reaction I got. But I persisted. I had some very interesting beers; I only wish that today I knew what I drank way back then.
 

Nick Shore
Junior Member
Username: Nshore

Post Number: 82
Registered: 09-2003
Posted From: 194.139.100.164
Posted on Friday, July 07, 2006 - 06:55 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hey Steve,

You know what else sucks, 400 bieres in Brussels sells Westy for 8-10 Euros a piece. Great place to shop and try beers (the owner is nice) but sometimes a little expensive.

Starting in September, the monastery will be taking appointments for selling beer. This guarantees you getting some if you live in Europe. But, if you're travelling, it makes it difficult.
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 1053
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 70.236.1.122
Posted on Friday, July 07, 2006 - 01:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

What's the price per bottle to drink one at the Inn across the street from the monastery? 3-4 Euro's?

Drink one or two there, and save your leftover money for a return trip!!
 

Steve Sampson
Member
Username: Sampsosm

Post Number: 196
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 129.137.219.88
Posted on Friday, July 07, 2006 - 02:34 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"You know what else sucks, 400 bieres in Brussels sells Westy for 8-10 Euros a piece."

Whoa! Thats crazy, I really can't believe that the demand pushed the price up that high, theres no way I would pay that much for a belgian beer, in Belgium!!!

Check out eBay, people are selling six packs of the stuff for about that price, $75.00 or so for a sixer, STOP THE INSANITY!!!

Paul, its only about 1.50 Euro in the cafe.
 

Jim Keaveney
Advanced Member
Username: Jimkeaveney

Post Number: 873
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 152.163.100.8
Posted on Friday, July 07, 2006 - 04:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A recent ebay auction for a single bottle of 1995 Westy 6 brought 43.50E or about $55.50 US.

I had the 1996 version of this beer in Belgium 2 years ago at a pub for ~7 Euro. Granted this is an excellent beer and not made anymore but that price is way outta control.

(Message edited by JimKeaveney on July 07, 2006)
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 1054
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 70.236.34.99
Posted on Friday, July 07, 2006 - 05:06 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Steve,

I think it was 3-4 Belgian Francs (no more than $1.50 US) back in 1995. Not much inflation!

I got to talk to the Inn owner quite a bit. He showed us pictures of the inside of the brewery that he'd taken. Plus he gave me a couple of old Westvleteren labels from when he said they used to bottle 750's:

Westy label
 

Steve Sampson
Member
Username: Sampsosm

Post Number: 197
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 129.137.219.88
Posted on Friday, July 07, 2006 - 06:52 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thats a pretty cool label, hopefully soon those lazy monks will start brewing more to keep up with demand.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 5734
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.224.243
Posted on Friday, July 07, 2006 - 08:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The monks are not lazy. Physical labor has long been a part of the monastic tradition. They have different priorities than the general public and assume that patience is a virtue.
 

Steve Sampson
Member
Username: Sampsosm

Post Number: 198
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 216.68.86.254
Posted on Saturday, July 08, 2006 - 01:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It was a joke Bill, I fully undestand, and respect everything they do.

The selfish side of me, just wishes their beer was more widely available.
 

Jon Meeker
Junior Member
Username: Jmeeker

Post Number: 26
Registered: 04-2003
Posted From: 71.213.13.6
Posted on Sunday, July 09, 2006 - 02:16 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Cantillon is a must as well as Moeder Lambic and Het Bier Circus. Moeder Lambic has some hard to find lambics. Moeder Lambic and Het Bier Circus are near each other although Het Bier Circus has been closed for one reason or another 3 out of the last 5 times I've been there.
 

Nick Shore
Junior Member
Username: Nshore

Post Number: 83
Registered: 09-2003
Posted From: 194.139.100.164
Posted on Tuesday, July 11, 2006 - 07:23 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Damn Paul. Lucky bugga. Those would be worth some money. On a different note, I scored an old crate from the monastery. Unfortunately, it was empty as they were out of beer at the time. I like to collect some things and the monk asked if I was gonna sell it. I gave him my word that I wouldn't and I stick to my word.

Not all places sell Westy for that much. Just certain ones. Do expect to pay around 4-5 Euros. The cafe still has them at 2.80 to 3.80.