August 26, 2007
Well, when services go as expected they are wonderful. When they don’t, it can be more than a little annoying and inconvenient. For most of our trips (until recently) the airport service that we use has been amazing. Sweeping through immigration and customs like visiting heads of state. In our last 3 trips (2 for us, one for a visiting colleague) the service has let us down twice. We managed, but were hassled, coming back late, from a long trip, with lots of luggage to find that we were on our own to get home. When a colleague comes to visit, not knowing the culture, language or geography, and the service fails, it is more than a mere hassle. I truly hope that these glitches are mere bumps in the road, and that there will be smooth service in the future. Insha’allah.
Here it is, as promised. Jack’s blog has most of the tasting notes to go along with the beers. If you are a beer snob, read ‘em and weep.
- St. Idesbad Trippel (bottle)
- Radenmacher Blond (tap)
- Rulles Trippel (tap)
- Rodenbach Grand Cru (bottle)
- Val Dieu Triple (bottle)
- Guillotine (bottle)
Bottle Shop – Room Beers:
- St. Arnoldus Trippel (bottle)
- Ellezelloise, La Bierre des Collines, Quintine Blonde (bottle)
- Bink Blond (bottle)
- Bink Bruin (bottle)
- Westvleteren 12 (bottle)
- Abdis Blond (bottle)
- Abbaye de Rocs Bruin (tap)
- Dupont Moinette Blond (tap)
- Witkap Stimulo (bottle)
- Witkap Triple (bottle)
‘t Brugs Beertje:
- Saison Dupont (bottle)
- Bruge Zot (tap)
- XX Bitter (bottle) *Daisy said this was a “beautiful beer”
- Arabier (bottle)
- Orval (bottle)
- Lindemann’s Kriek (tap)
- St. Bernadus Triple (bottle)
- Bruges Triple (bottle)
- Chimay Blue (bottle)
- Triple Karmaliet (bottle)
- Hommelbier (bottle)
- La Chouffe (tap)
- Ellezelloise, La Bierre des Collines, Hercule Stout (bottle)
- Slaapmutske Tripel (bottle)
- Saison Dupont (bottle)
‘t Brugs Beertje (2nd visit):
- Cuvee de Trolls (bottle)
- Malheur 10 (bottle)
- Lindemann Faro (bottle)
- Petrus Gouden Triple (bottle)
- Dilaarbijter Tripel Blond (bottle)
- Tripel Karmeliet
Aba-Jour: (Westvleteren out of stock!)
- Augustijn Grand Cru (tap)
- Villers Tripel (bottle)
- Gentse Tripel (tap)
- Pater Lieven Blond (bottle)
Waterhuis aan de Bierkant:
- Malheur 6 (tap)
- Gandavum house beer (tap)
- La Trappe Blond Triple (tap)
- Chimay Triple (tap)
Trappistenhuis: (Westvleteren out of stock!)
- Oude Geuze Boon (bottle)
- Bonne Esperance (bottle)
- Achel Bruin (bottle)
- Dikke Mathile (bottle)
- Ter Dolen Blond (bottle)
- Rochefort 6 (bottle)
- Dulle Griet Blond (tap)
- Westmalle dubble (tap)
**Variation from Beer here, but must be recorded**
Glengarry: (Scottish Scotch bar)
- Bruich Ladden – WMD II – 1991 “The Yellow Submarine” 14yo
- Clynelish 14yo
- Caol Ila – 1995 “Murray McDavid” – 10yo
- Glenfarclas – 1965 – 12yo
Cafe Trappisten, Westmalle:
- Westmalle Dubbel (tap)
- Half and Half – Dubbel and Tripel (tap)
- Gouden Carolous Ambrio (tap)
- Gouden Carolous Tripel (tap)
- Gouden Carolous (tap)
- Gouden Carolous Margrite (tap)
- La Chouffe (tap)
- Postel Trippel (bottle)
- Westvleteren 6 (bottle) **at cellar temp**
- Westvleteren 8 (bottle) **at cellar temp**
- Westvleteren 12 (bottle) **at cellar temp**
- Cuvee de Bouillon (bottle)
BRUSSELS (2nd visit)
- Mort Subite White (tap)
- Mort Subite Faro (tap)
- Chimay White (bottle)
- Orval (bottle)
t’ Spinnekopke: (out of first choice beers, so…)
- Achel Blond (bottle)
- Ellezelloise, La Bierre des Collines, Quintine Ambree (bottle)
- Dupont Biolegere (bottle)
- La Binchoise Blond (bottle)
- La Moneuse Blond (bottle)
Delirium Cafe: (2nd visit)
- Saxo Blond (bottle)
- Villers Tripel (bottle)
Sorry for the delay on this last Belgium post, we HAD to go to Brno for the MotoGP, and I didn’t get a chance to finish before we left.
Our trip to Antwerp was a nightmare. It was raining, we were tired from Hopduvel, and when we boarded the train, the car we’d gotten was reserved for 142 KIDS on their way to…..you guessed it, Antwerp. We stood between cars for the entire (40 minute?) journey. OY VEY.
We were only in Antwerp for one day. We only had 2 destinations. We only managed one.
We arrived in the train station in Antwerp mid-morning, knowing that our pension was not available to check in until 6pm. This worked perfectly with our “beer plan”. We put our bags in a locker in the train station (they still HAVE those here! Unlike the States where all the “left luggage” places have been taken away “for our safety“) and we found the bus to take us to WESTMALLE!! Ahhhhhh (sound of angels singing) – one of the holy places of beer.
We were stunned when the bus stopped DIRECTLY in front of Cafe Trappisten – the pub/restaurant for the Westmalle abbey brewery! We, of course, went in for a nosh and a beer (or three). They only serve the Westmalle brews – the Blond, Bruin and a 1/2 and 1/2 of each, khalas. We tried them all. We noshed on abbey cheese and toastys. We quickly realized that we were the youngest patrons in the place, by a good coupla decades! Oh well.
We were denied as we tried to go to the abbey/brewery itself. We were pretty sure that would be the case, but thought we’d try anyway.
Our second Antwerp destination was Kulminator Pub. Our pension was only blocks from the pub, yet we did not get to experience it. When we arrived at the door, there was a sign – they’d closed the previous day for a 10 day summer holiday. POOP. We amused ourselves at a music festival going on in the square before retiring for a well deserved nights sleep.
if you want to read more about beer and travel…
August 11, 2007
WHO KNEW that the Tour de FRANCE took a tour thru Belgium!!??? Well, apparently not Jack and me. We happened to be in Ghent at the end of Stage 2 of the Tour. We don’t really care a whit about bicycle racing, so we NEVER thought to look at the Tour when planning our trip. Ah… what we know now AND how it REALLY doesn’t matter!
We arrive in Ghent, slightly bummed after Brugge – it had been SUCH a wonderful city/experience. We’d booked ahead in Ghent for our accomodations, so we navigated the trams and found ourselves in Kornmarkt – about as close as we could get to our B&B. Tired, hungry and slightly lost, we stopped for a nice lunch on the market AND A BEER. Fortified, we found our lodging.
THIS place was not NEARLY as good as our room in Brugge. It was inexpensive, located above a bakery, and close to the center of town, but… still a bit sketchy. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve stayed in FAR worse (and far better)! Tired and full, Jack insisted (to my great and unabashed chagrin) on a nap before we started out into the new city. He snored, I crocheted.
When we finally headed out, Jack plotted a course to a restaurant/bier bar, Aba-Jour, in a slightly out-of-the-way part of the city. It was drizzling off and on during our walk there, but the place was wonderful, LOADS of beers and wonderful food cooked with the local beers. Our table overlooked one of the (ubiquitous) canals, and we watched the rain on the water, and tried to figure out how some of the buildings stayed upright.
The next day, we were forced to move from a lovely waterside terrace into the Bierhaus due to plummeting temps and HAIL. Yes, HAIL. Luckily our haven from the weather had lovely beer (HMMMMMMM, sensing a theme?) and Jack had a wonderful rabbit stewed in Chimay beer.
August 6, 2007
Brugge is a small town. It looks like it sprang forth off of a mid 19th century or earlier postcard. The canals are wide and clean and full of little boats of tourists. The buildings are stone with windowboxes and assakimbo windows. The people are open and friendly. It was an amazing change from Brussels.
We’d booked our B&B from the Rick Steve’s Amsterdam, Brussels, Brugge book. We had no idea what to expect or where it was. We called the nice proprietress from the train station, and she gave us directions. We could not have found a better place: location was exquisite and central, accommodations were immaculate and quiet, breakfast was simple and delicious, and the price was entirely reasonable. Not bad for a shot in the dark! Stumble fu is strong with this one
As soon as we’d gotten our bag up 3 flights of stairs and caught our breath we headed out in search of… BEER. Our B&B was 2 blocks from Cambrinus Bierbrasserie, and it was about lunch time. Life is soooooo good.
August 3, 2007
That was the motto for Belgium. And, it was the total truth. We did little sightseeing, no museums, and only took pictures of the facades of some of the more interesting buildings we saw as we walked to find more good beer.
We arrived in Brussels by train, from Amsterdam and had to figure out how to get to our hotel. Apparently the metro/subway and the underground trams are not well integrated, so after MUCH attempted discussion in multiple broken languages, we were told that it was easier for us to walk the last few blocks than to try to get there by public transportation.
So we walked.
The first impression of Brussels was not a good one. We’d been in Amsterdam, city of legalized vice, for 3 days, and it was clean, easy with surprisingly few beggars or homeless people on the street. We’d been very surprised.
Brussels ended up being all the things we’d expected in Amsterdam. Dirty (please understand, we come from Cairo, so dirty is a relative term), unkempt, LOADS of panhandlers, guys pissing in alleys – Welcome to the seat of the EU! Throughout the trip, we loved Belgium, except our stays in Brussels. Our hotel was nice, we went to great cafes and pubs, but the city of Brussels failed the “Would you live here?” test.
Brussels and Beer:
We were only staying in Brussels for one night, so as soon as we were checked in, we pulled out the Good Beer Guide: Belgium, our friend Don’s notes, and a map. First stop, Delirium Cafe – 2004 beers available, largest beer selection in the world (I believe they made the Guinness book for that). Yes, for those of you who don’t know the Delirium beers, their logo is a pink elephant.
From Delirium we went off to find Poechenellekelder (no, I didn’t make it up). It was located beside the Maneqin Pis, so we got to see the little pissing bugger AND have beer AND watch all the tourons have their pictures taken.
Believe it or not, at this point we were ready to return to the hotel. HOWEVER, we stopped at a bottle shop for a couple of “room beers” on the way. Our destination tomorrow, Brugge.
For the beer geeks, I will (eventually) attach a link for the complete list of beers from this trip.
August 1, 2007
With sad hearts, we left Seattle on July 1st. We arrived in Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam VERY early on the morning of the 2nd. We’d decided on 3 nights in Amsterdam before going to (as Jack put it) “The Holy Land” – Belgium.
We could have stayed MUCH longer in Amsterdam, had that been our destination. We enjoyed wonderful “stumbling fu” – the ability to wander aimlessly and find some TOTALLY cool places, things to see. Our hotel was… OK, but it was in a great neighborhood and had a lovely little cafe/pub downstairs where we breakfasted and had GOOD BEER!!! Have no fear – we knew the true Holy Land was Belgium, however we were pleasantly surprised to begin our Beer Odyssey in Amsterdam.
We managed *some* of the sites during our *supposed* relaxing few days before Belgium. We misjudged! We didn’t really relax so much. We wandered, ate, drank and wandered more. We found many of the better known Belgians, as well as a surprising number of Dutch/Local beers. We “stumbled” across a marvelous little brewery (something like “The Three Sisters”) near den Waag (?). I wish I’d been better about taking notes, but I didn’t really start a travelogue until Belgium. Silly me.
The weather in Amsterdam was COLD and most days it rained at some point. It was much like Seattle in the spring/fall. The locals were even complaining about the cold! (So all of you who are chortling about “thin-blooded-Cairenes” can stop now!!)
Our brief visit (Jack’s first) to Amsterdam made us realize that a longer visit is necessary. We had many things – museums, shows, the zoo – that we did not have time to get to… THIS visit. The only museums that we managed to see were the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh. Both spectacular, but there is soooooo much more.
We walked, we laughed, we partook and we began planning for another time. Life is too short not to plan (and take) more vacation trips.