C’est Bon C’est Belge

Five days. Five cities. Two Breweries. Forty-four beers.

Antwerp, Ghent, Brugge, Mechelen, Brussels

That is the best way to describe my beer infused holiday with one of my best friends, Rob.  To tell you the truth, he is the man who taught me to drink beer back when we met up in Salamanca, Spain some 6 years ago.  Since then I had promised that when I returned to Europe, I would visit him. So here I find myself, getting off a Wizz air flight in Charlotte Brussels Airport, with my long-lost Flemish brother awaiting me.  It only took 10 minutes before we were finishing each others sentences just like a proper bro-mance! Haha! And from there the adventure began!  His GPS sent us the long way around through the country side and we suddenly found ourselves staring at the Waterloo monument!  What a start to an adventure!  My inner history geek was going mad! The location of Napoleon’s final defeat and I was driving by it like it was a cornfield oddity (to many years in Ohio… sorry for the corn reference).

We started our adventure with a home cooked Belgian beef stew in beer (of course) and I had my first taste of Belgian fries…  I will say I shed a tear of joy with that meal.  I will forever have dreams of Belgian fries.  Am I of secret Belgian origin? Is this why I love these deep-fried potato sticks so? Well never mind that!  The next day we toured Antwerp on bicycle from pub to cathedral to pub to train station to pub and back again.  Yes we ate more Belgian fries. We ate a lot of Belgian fries. I will never regret that. Health be damned. Rob insisted his people had a lovely salad eating culture but in my experience, I struggle to believe him.

We toured Ghent and Brugge the following day learning of the birth of the fruit beers and sour beers at the Brewery De Halve Maan, the last one in operation inside city limits of Brugge.  Turns out the yeast native to Ghent made naturally sour beers, so the people of Ghent got wise to adding fruit into the beer making process.  Interestingly enough, what would become modern day Belgium was populated by a series of city states with very little in the way of clean drinking water, so they developed a safe way of hydrating, Beer!  If you have a chance take the English tour at Henri Maes, you will have a lovely young woman from Alaska teach you more about beer and ale making that you would ever think was possible.

Our beer hunt then took us to the Brewery Het Anker in Mechelen.  This brewery has an amazing history.  It was once operated by nuns (I love when the church makes alcohol). It claims to brew a style of beer that Charlomagne would drink. And my favorite, it has a moonfighter themed beer dedicated to a group of early 20th century firefighters  who thought the cathedral was on fire, when in truth, it was just bathed in a strong moonlight (maneblusser it is called).

On our last day we ran around Brussels walking down cobbled stone streets listening to every accent from around the world.  It was very clear this was the capital of Europe.  We would of course go see the pissing boy and peeing girl, both not particularly impressive statues, but when in Brussels… go have a looksy. The Cathedral of St. Michaels there however dwarfed all that I have previously seen.  Forgive my transgression dear Madrid and Paris.  On a serious beer note, if you go looking for the peeing girl, it has a wonderful multi-story bar across from the statue with 100s of beers inside!  Rob and I had a mandatory stop.

Beer list with High Recommendation (name, brewery, style and ABV percentage made with Untappd):

  1. De Koninck, Brouwerij De Koninck, Belgian Pale Ale, 5.2%
  2. Omer Traditional Blond, Omer Vander Ghinste Brewery, Belgian Strong Pale Ale, 8%
  3. Orval, Brasserie d’Orval, Belgian Pale Ale, 6.2%Ovural & Ename
  4. Ename Tripel, Brouwerij Roman, Belgian Tripel, 8.5%
  5. Jupiler, Brasserie Piedboeuf, Pale Lager, 5.2%
  6. Duvel, Duvel Moortgat, Belgian Strong Pale Ale, 8.5%
  7. Tripel Karmeliet, Brouwerij Bosteels, Belgian Tripel, 8.4%
  8. Chimay Bleue (Grand Reserve) Bieres de Chimay, Belgian Strong Dark Ale, 9%
  9. St. Bernadus Abt 12, Brouwerij St. Bernadus, Belgian Quad, 10%
  10. La Chouffe, Brasserie d’Achouffe, Belgian Blonde, 8%
  11. Seef Bier, Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie, Beligian Blonde, 6.5%
  12. Westmalle Trappist Tripel, Brouwerij der Trappisten van Westmalle, Belgian Tripel, 9.5%
  13. Malheur 12, Brouwerij Malheur, Belgian Quad, 12%
  14. Cassis, Brouwerij Lindemans, Lambic, 3.5%cassis
  15. Kwak, Brouwerij Bosteels, Belgian Strong Pale Ale, 8.4%
  16. Cuvee des Trolls, Brasserie Dubuisson, Belgian Strong Pale Ale, 7%
  17. Papegaei, Brouwerij Verstraete, Belgian Strong Pale Ale, 8%
  18. Brugse Zot, De halve Maan, Blonde Ale, 6%
  19. Bootjes Bier, Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie, American Amber/Red Ale, 7%
  20. Oelegems Titsenbier, Brasserie Dupont, Belgian Blonde, N/A
  21. Kasteel Rouge, Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck, Fruit Beer, 8%
  22. Vedett Extra Blond, Duvel Moortgat, Pale Lager, 5.2%
  23. Trappist Westvleteren 12(2014), Brouwerij de Sint-Sixtusabdij, Belgian Quad, 10.2%
  24. Leuven Innovation, Brouwerij Hof Ten Dormaal, Sour Ale, 8%Leuven Innovation
  25. Amitle, Brouwerij De Dochter van de Korenaar, Imperial/Double Red Ale, 7%
  26. Waterloo Tripel 7 Blond, Brasserie du Bocq, Belgian Tripel, 7.5%
  27. Gouden Carolus Tripel, Brouwerij Het Anker, Belgian Tripel, 9%
  28. Gouden Carolus Classic, Brouwerij Het Anker, Belgian Strong Dark Ale, 8.5%
  29. Gouden Carolus Ambrio, Brouwerij Het Anker, Belgian Strong Pale Ale, 8%
  30. Lucifer, Brouwerij Het Anker, Belgian Strong Pale Ale, 8%
  31. Maneblusser, Brouwerij Het Anker, Belgian Blonde, 6.2%
  32. Troubadour Magma, Brouwerij The Musketeers, Belgian IPA, 9%
  33. Hopus, Brasserie Lefebvre, Belgian Strong Pale Ale, 8.3%
  34. James de bois, Brasserie de la Senne, Belgian Tripel, 8%
  35. Bon Secours Myrtille, Brasserie Caulier, Fruit Beer, 7%
  36. Hoegaarden Blanche, Brouwerij van Hoegaarden, Witbier, 4.9%
  37. Grand Cru, Brasserie St-Feuillien, Belgian Strong Pale Ale, 9.5%
  38. Poperings Hommelbier, Brouwerij Van Eecke, Belgian Pale Ale, 7.5%
  39. Brougogne Des Flandres Brune/Bruin, Brewery Jogn Martin & Brewery Timmermans, Belgian Brown Ale, 5.2%
  40. Leffe Blonde, Abbye de Leffe, Belgian Blonde, 6.6%
  41. Grimbergen Dubbel, Brouwerij Alken-Maes, Belgian Dubbel, 6.5%
  42. West Coast IPA, Green Flash Brewing Company, Double Indian Pale Ale, 8.1%
  43. Hommel Bier, Perennial Artisan Ales, Belgian Pale Ale, 5.9%
  44. St. Feuillien Blonde, Brasserie St. Feuillien, Belgian Strong Pale Ale, 7.5%

 

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Stoofvlees, traditional Belgian beef stew

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Waterloo

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The result of asking for half the menu. Wrong and righteous all at once.

The result of asking for half the menu. Wrong and righteous all at once.

I can eat this jelly filled candy for days...

I can eat this jelly filled candy for days… and I did.

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Mechelen

Mechelen

DSC05764 DSC05736 DSC05731 DSC05810 DSC05813 DSC05788 DSC05769 DSC05726 DSC05685 DSC05676 DSC05675 DSC05671 DSC05595

How I feel about Belgian Fries.

How I feel about Belgian Fries.

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This would be Belgian chocolate with gold flakes. Yes please.

This would be Belgian chocolate with gold flakes. Yes please.

 

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You can’t go to Belgium and not eat waffles.

Thank you for Reading, Please feel free to Like, Comment and Share! 🙂

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