Beer Tour

Old Oct 8th, 2000, 08:24 AM
Posts: n/a
Beer Tour

I am planning a short visit to Belgium for beer tasting. Any suggestions what city is the best to locate (Brugges/Brussels/Antwerp) and where to go?
Old Oct 8th, 2000, 11:21 AM
wes fowler
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Fred, the following is apparently too lengthy for Fodor's to accommodate in posting. You may find some parts of it interesting. In a happy coincidence, I just forwarded it in the last week or so to a Fodor's correspondent who contacted me directly.

First, however, I wonder if you’re familiar with the Celis brewery of
Austin, Texas. Pierre Celis, a Belgian brewmaster has been creating
Belgian style beers in Austin since the early ‘90s. He produces Celis
White, an herb flavored wheat beer similar to Belgium’s Hoegaarden as
well as the more familiar lembecs.

Now, for some background: there are four basic types of beers in
Belgium, many of them regional in nature.

Lambic or Lembec is a naturally fermented beer with delicate carbonation
to which fruit flavors ( cherry, raspberry, peach, apple cider) have
been added. Faro is a low alcohol content Lambic. These are popularly
known as “ladies beers”.

Gueuze blends young and aged Lambic to create a sweeter beer. You could
equate the difference to that of a single malt whisky to a blend.

Wheat beers are made with a concentration of wheat as well as barley
malts. They’re tart and frothy.

Finally, the premier beers of Belgium are the Trappist beers, rich dark
ales produced by monasteries, Chimay and Orval being the best known.
The Westmalle monastery produces a “Triple” beer that is a truly fine
Pilsner type.

There are two beer museums in Brussels. The Maisojn des Brasseurs
(Brewer’s House), just to the left of the entrance of the Stadthuis at
10 Grand Place is sponsored by the Confederation of Belgian Breweries
and offers a quick tour and tasting. The Musee Bruxellois de la Gueuze
at 56 rue Gheude near the Gare Midi metro staetion offers self guided
tours and tastings.

Bieres Artisanales, 174 Chaussee de Wavre, Brussels is a shop with a
comprehensive selection of Belgian beers.
Old Oct 8th, 2000, 11:23 AM
wes fowler
Posts: n/a
There are three cafes in Brussels featuring interesting beers. In’t
Spinnekopke at 1 Place du Jardin aux Fleurs has a wheat beer brewed with
curacao and coriander rather than hops. It’s a cloudy white wheat
beer. Mort Subite (Sudden Death, named after a dice game, not the
beer’s after effects) is at 7 rue Rontagne aux Heres and offers a beer
of the same name. De Ultieme Hallucinatie (the final hallucination) at
315 rue Royale serves a beer of the same name as well as an interesting
Cantillon framboise.

In Brugge, visit the café ‘tBrugs Beertje at 5 Kemelstraat just off
Simon Stevinplein. It offers over 300 of Belgium’s beers. Brugge has a
brewery, the “Straffe Hendrick”, that’s been in operation for over 450
years and offers tours.

Regarding the eccentric names of some of the beers, if you’re in Ghent,
look for the beer with the intriguing name Delirium Tremens, served in a
brandy snifter upon which pink elephants are embossed.

Louvain (Leuven) is the home of the Stella Artois brewery. Stella
Artois is about as exciting a Budweiser or Miller.

Antwerp has an excellent beer, De Koninck, an all malt beer. Just north
of Antwerp in Mechelen, you’ll find Gouden Carolus a strong dark ale
much like some of the monastic beers.

If you write to the Campaign for Real Ale, Pox 5, 67 rue des Atrebates,
Brussels B1040 you can get a guide that describes cafes throughout
Belgium where you can sample the regional beers.

Old Oct 8th, 2000, 11:29 AM
wes fowler
Posts: n/a
an't help you, Dan, on how to bring beer back from Belgium. I''ve never done
it. There is a thread on Fodor's posted by someone wanting to bring back half
a keg of German beer that prompted some interesting responses, particularly the
one that suggested getting bottled beer, wrapping it in socks and stowing them
in a backpack!

Increasingly, Belgian food (and beer) are becoming fads in the states. In
recent weeks the New York Times and the Atlanta Constitution had articles on
the increasing numbers of Belgian restaurants and Belgian chefs that are
becoming successful in introducing Belgian cuisine to the U.S. In suburban
Atlanta's liquor stores and farmer's markets, we are increasingly finding
Belgian beers. You may, too, if you shop around and question store
proprietors. I've had no trouble finding De Koninck, Lindemans lambics and De
Kluis' Hoegaarden in suburban Atlanta and Baltimore. If you do bring Belgian
beer home, try to limit yourself to the Trappist beers; they're not available
here at all.

Interesting to find that many of the Belgian beers are corked as well as
capped, particularly the lambics. Have even found beer in ceramic crocks here.

Interesting, too, to find that unlike American bars and cafes that feature neon signs in their windows advertising the beers they purvey, Belgian cafes dispaly an array of beer glasses, each one distinctive and representative of a particular brewery or brand.

I hope this information has been of help. If you’ve got any questions,
feel free to Email me, particularly if you’re interested in the location
of the monastery breweries or want driving directions. (Most are located
in the southeastern part of Belgium, although the Monastery of St.
Sixtus is in Westvieteren about an hours drive from Brugge.)
Old Oct 8th, 2000, 03:04 PM
Posts: n/a
One of the best Beer Cities in Belgium
is Ghent (Gent)
Nearby the Vrijdagmarkt there are 2 special Beer cafés with more than 800 beers, served in special ways.
Old Oct 10th, 2000, 07:28 AM
Brian in Atlanta
Posts: n/a
Fred, search for "Ghent Trip Report" and you'll pull up my trip report from May in which you'll find some info on beer and bars in Belgium.

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