Sunday, December 15, 2013

Kerstbierfest Day 1

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Walking around Antwerp, Drinking Beer

The flight into Brussels had a huge tailwind so we got in early, but that also meant
 it was a real bumpy flight. Didn't get much sleep as a result.

But my room was ready, so I was able to unpack and rest a bit before heading out.

My first stop was a place I haven't been to for many, many years -- the Highlander. It is run my a Scottish couple and has a good selection of Single Malts. They also have a number of tasting flights for a decent price.

I wanted to go this trip because they are moving next year and I wanted to see the old place one last time.

Cafe Highlander
My tradition first beer in Antwerp (whenever possible) is the local one, De Konnick. Highlander has it on draft, so I had one.

Een Bolleke De Koninck
They had a big advert for Palm Hop Select, so I thought I'd give it a try. It was OK, but nothing special. No need to have it again anytime soon.

Palm Hop Select
I asked where the new place was going to be and was told Stadswaag 18. That sounded familiar as a good beer place 't Waagstuk is on the same street. So I headed over that way.

It turns out they will be right next door to 't Wagstuuk. That is a gutsy move as 't Waagstuk has a much better beer selection. Though the Highland has a better Scotch selection so maybe it will balance out.

In the picture below, the Maes sign on the far left is from the closed pub where the Highlander will be. It didn't look as any work had started on any renovations. The move is schedule for March so there is some time, depending on what needs to be done.

't Waagstuk
Since I was right there, I went in to 't Waagstuk for a beer. It would have been rude not to have.

De Koninck Winter
They had De Koninck's winter beer called, (strangely enough) De Koninck Winter. It is darker and stronger but has that De Koninck flavor. Went nice with the bowl of Tomato Soup.

I was wondering around the Old Town and ended up on the street across from the river (Ernest van Dijckkaai) and saw a place I'd not been to before -- Best Beers Cafe. They've been there for about a year, so it is fairly new.

Best Beers Cafe
Inside is a very modern pub. The beer list looks decent and will need some further exploration. They had Tripel Karmeliet on draft and free WiFi -- a combination hard to beat.

Tripel Karmetliet

By now it was 4pm and I was late for an appointment.

The big decision for me is always what will my second beer be, because the first is pretty much set it stone.

Tap Board at the Kulminator
If it is on the board, I will have an Avec les Bons Voeux. Nuff said.

Avec les Bons Voeux
The winner for beer #2 was Troubadour Westkust Black IPA. "Westkust" is Flemish for "West Coast" and I'm guessing they mean the west coast of the US, not Belgium.

Troubador Westkust Black IPA
It was a nice hoppy beer, but it was a bit too much roasty and full bodied compared to West Coast US Black IPA's.  But very enjoyable. It is brewed at Proef Brouwerij in Locristi.

The jet lat was starting to kick in (not to mention an afternoon's worth of Belgian beers). So I had  a nightcap of Gouden Carolis Hopsijnoor. I was going to go with the Mikkeller Black but it is an 18% beer brewed with coffee. So either I would fall asleep on the walk home or be so wired I couldn't sleep.

Gouden Carolis Hopsinjoor
The Hopsinjoor was a nice finish to the evening.

BTW, you can check out for details on pubs in Antwerp. At the time this is being written it still is a work in progress.