Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Beer Trip Underway!

It has been over two years since I did a solo beer trip, So I am excited to be spending 9 days in Prague followed by 3 in Amsterdam.
 
In the three years since I was last in Prague I have added over 30 places to my “To Do List.” Add in at least a dozen or so old favorites and that is a daunting task for my aged liver. I will try to visit as many as I can but I’m sure I’ll have to come to continue the research project.
 
The first beer of the trop was an IPA from 2 Row Brewing of Utah, in the Delta SkyClub at Salt Lake City Airport. A very nice beer but to be honest, it did not entice me to delay or cancel the trip to Prague.

 
 
 
If you are planning your own trip to Prague, please check out my website Beer Guide Prague — or search for the app in the Apple or Google Play App Store.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Last Day In Düsseldorf

 Today is a travel day, so for now just the pictures and hopefully the words will come later....


















Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Sticke Day!

Always nice to have the day conformed...



The first Sticke arrives...


I have to say, at first sip I wasn't much of a fan, Sometimes there is some hop presence in the flavor, but not here. It also was very dry, so not a lot of malt in the finish. It wasn't bad, just seemed to be missing something special.


That being said, we didn't have any trouble drinking a bunch







The lunch meal on Tuesdays in Königsberger Klopse, so it too has become a Sticke tradition. Good as always.



After a few more beers we adjourned for a few hours for people to do errands, try some of the other beers in town. We convened back at Uerige at 4pm. It was drizzly, but warm so a few outside beers were in order.


Our reservation was at 5pm so we headed in to find out they changed the location of our table to the front room, where we had our morning session.


A few nears ago Ueroge bought the building next door and moved their fermenters and bottling line into it. The space freed up went to an expanded kitchen and they now serve a number or regular meals. I hadn't had a schnitzel yet this trip so I chose that.


Didn't expect one that size. You can't really see, but it is sitting on.a bed of fried potatoes. The salad was welcome but I think the Germans don't actually like lettuce -- it was drowning in dressing.

Drinking continued apace. I'm not usually into pictures of people but here is one of the group (minus the guy taking the picture)


We had two tables so a tally at each. A respectable total...

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Across the street from Uerige is the Killepitsch Stube, where you can buy shots of the local herbal liqueur, called -- wait for it -- Killepitsch.


The local tradition is a shot of Killepitsch after a day of drinking altbier will forestall any hangover. But it must be the last alcohol of the day for it to work.

While walking back to the hotel I noticed a sign of things to come -- another brewery. They already contract brew and their bottles are available in local craft beer shops. Something to look forward to next year.


Survived another Sticke day. I think this makes 27 counting some January ones and such.

Arrived in Düsseldorf

After an uneventful trip (except I had to ride backwards from Brussels to Köln) we arrived in Düsseldorf, checked into the hotel and went in search of beer...

The signs at Uerige are new, in the past was a big white poster board with the logo and in the bottom right corner the phrase "Morje Sticke" (Morje is tomorrow in the local dialect). "Bald" is "soon" which is somewhat indeterminate. 



It was warm in the sun, so we grabbed and outside table and soon had our first Uerige.


Tasted just how I remembered. I've been to Düsseldorf at least once every year since 1996 -- except for 2020. Antwerp now has my longest unbroken streak, every year since 1998. Unbroken because i was there in January of 2020 just at the end of the Before Times.

I meant to buy a sandwich for the train ride, but forgot to, so some food was in order. I saw a Köbes go by with a frikadella and that seemed about right. Love that ABB mustard.


As the sun went down it started to get chilly so we moved inside. It was a bit jarring to see the plastic barriers up. You can't see it from this side, but the little round circles are Uerige logos.



That being said, the beer tasted just as good inside as it did outside.


Another tradition of ours is to stand in the Marktplatz and wave at the webcam the city runs. It is a way for those friends who couldn't make the trip to make a virtual connection. I guess we could set up a video chat but sometimes the old ways are best...


I zoomed the screen before I took a screen shot and you can recognize some people (having white hair helps).


There was a stiff breeze coming off the Rhine so we soon moved on to Füchschen on Ratinger Str.



The beer here has been a bit variable in the past years as they were dealing with changes in the brewhouse. But today it was spot on.


A different approach here: Ou vaccination status was checked at the door and there are no restrictions once inside.  I didn't read the sign as we came in, but it may be that only people who are vaccinated or recovered from COVID are allowed in (called "2G" in German).The place was packed. 


We pretty much all ordered the Sauerbraten. It was tasty but I think it has been "dumbed down" compared to in the past. The sauce was on the bland side, closer to a brown gravy than the spicy, juniper berry flavored one I remember. But the cabbage was spot on. Traditionally this was made with horse meat (it would be marinated for a week or more) but nowadays it is all beef. You can find the occasional restaurant that serves horse meat, but they are few and far between.



On the bottle of the menu they mentioned that had Alt Bier Ice Cream (2.2% abv) so I thought I'd try it.


When it came it had a strange but not unpleasant flavor that was nothing like altbier. When I finished the cup I turned it over and on the bottom they had the ingredient list. Turns out this was the Rhubarb ice cream, not the Alt bier.. Pour packaging design because the only indiction was in tiny print on the bottom of the cup. Oh well, maybe next time.

Some the others went off to check out Schlüssel and Schumacher. I called it a night.


Monday, October 18, 2021

Last Day in Antwerp


Today is a travel day, so I will leave you with just the pictures and update the text as I have time...

The Kulmiator is closed on Sunday so we had to start somewhere else. Or plan was to walk around the Old Town and Paters Vaetje opened the earliest so that was the first stop.




A Bolleke is always in order so I started with that.


They had the DeKoninck Triple d’Anvers of the draft list but the keg had just blown so Plan B was Het Anker Gouden Carolus Classic. No problem!

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I wasn’t hungry enough for a meal, but a bowl of Chicken Soup seemed about right. It was clearly a mix with added shredded chicken but it hit the spot.


We basically weed just illing time until Cafe Pardaf opened.


Cafe Parade would win the award for most improved pub in Antwerp, I first stopped in maybe 5 or 6 years ago. The tap list was uninspiring (what you'd find at any Belgian pub) but there was a decent selection on the bottle list. Since then they've added a new bank of taps with lots of goodies. Two years ago the bottle list was over 400 beer long, today it is over 700. And I have word from some local friends that it is a true list -- they haven't found any padding.



I usually try to drink only Belgian (or at least BeNeLux) beers when in Belgium, but Andy Ganställer is a friend so I ordered his Helles (#$ above). It was great, as I expected.


I realized that I had not yet had an Arabier from De Dolle and that was soon corrected. Outstanding as it always is.


We could have spent the rest of the day there, but I wanted to check out the next place, Cafe Ernst.



If you read posts from the blog from a couple of yours ago you may notice that is not the same facade. Cafe Ernst opened in 2019 and earlier this year literally moved next door. The are in the same space as the departed (and not missed) "Best Beers Cafe." Still ten beers on tap.



I've liked the beers I've had from Siphon so I ordered the Damme Nation. It was delicious.


Other than the beers, the reason we here headed hear is they have a very nice Spaghetti Bolognese  They have their own recipe and it is very tasty...



For my next beer I ordered the Siphon Cassandra Oyster Stout. Unlike the Porterhouse in Dublin -- which puts shucked oysters in the conditioning tank -- Siphon uses oyster shells. That gives the beer a unique "mimerally" profile. It is a very nice beer.



Next stop was De Ware Jacob, around the corner and up a block or so.  Only to find catastrophe when we arrived. They had run out of Avec les Bons Voeux! Guy (the proprietor) said in the 6 years he has owned the pub, this was the first time. He did have it in bottles, but that is just not the same.

I had wanted to try the Rochefort Tripel again so I took the opportunity.


A lot of people have knocked this beer as not being a real tripel.  It is a bit out of the mainstream but I've had other beers labeled "Tripel" that were farther out there, so I am not complaining.

A bunch of the group had the English Trappist beer, Tynt Meadows. In furtherance of their education, I ordered a 750ml bottle from Tre Fontane, the Italian Trappist brewery,


I really like this beer. It is brewed with eucalyptus but doesn't take like cough drops.

As we were walking back to the hotel, we passed the welcoming open door of De Vagrant. While mostly a genever pub, the do have a worthwhile beer list and four taps. But we decided to do a genever tasting.

We asked the bartender to choose some for us. She brought us five, roughly categorized as young, old,  grain, herbal and old herbal. We tended to like the older ones but the herbal (juniper in this case) was also good,



Further research was neccisary so we ordered another old and another herbal.


At this point it was go big or go home and since we had an early train, we went home. On the way out I learned that sadly, De Vagrant will be closing in December. The owner is retiring and he hasn't found anybody to take over the pub so the building has been sold. Very sad news.