Friday, October 30, 2009

Sorry for the lack of posting...

...but I've come down with a bug and haven't taken many photos or done much.

I will update after I'm back in LA.

Thanks for reading...

Monday, October 26, 2009

A visit to Westmalle

Just the cafe across the from the abbey, not the actual monastery and brewery. But first, a shot of the Antwerp Cathedral.

Antwerp Cathederal

We stopped for pre trip freshener at Oud Arsenaal. A bolleke of DeKonnick, of course.

The gang at Oud Arsenaal

There was an ad for a beer called Hopus so we had to try it. Not only did it have a cool glass, there was a separate shot glass for the yeast.

Hopus, with the yeast shot.

Drew downing the yeast shot

We walked to the bus station and caught the 417 bus to Westmalle.

Cafe Trappisten, across from the Abbey of Westmalle

Double and Triple (of course), No Westmalle Extra (the monk's single) though

For desert -- Trappist Ice Cream. Heavenly.

The front gate to the grounds.

Trappist cows?

What you can see of the abbey from the road.

Off for one last session at the Kulminator.

Day trip to Ghent...

or Gent or Gand. Confusing for a city to have three different spellings. But now matter how you spell it, it was picked as the best beer city in Belgium by Tim Webb in his latest "Good Beer Guide to Belgium." If I wasn't so fond of the Kulminator, it might become my hub city for Belgium. It was Sunday, so a few places weren't open and they are a late starting bunch in Ghent -- most pubs don't open until 3:00 or 4:00pm. First stop was the Waterhuis aan de Bierkant (or just the Bierhuis for short).

Waterhuis ann de Bierkant

The gang waiting for our first beer

Round 1. We mostly had one of the 3 house beers.

One of the two giant bowls of frites that came with our Gentse Stoverij (beef stew)

Some wanted to sight see, so Tom and I went to the next place, Dulle Greive on the Frijdagmarkt (Friday Market Square)

Dulle Greive

St Bernardus Prior (8) and The Dulle Greive Blond (house beer)

The Dulle Greive Blond, Dulle Teve and aged (1 year) Orval.

After we got tired of waiting for the other group, we went on to Aba Jour and had a Moinette Blonde (brewed by DuPont)

Moinette Blonde

We finally got a call from the Lost Boys -- they had gotten lost but found a pub, the Trollekelder (Troll Cave) so we met them there.


The gang at the Trollekelder

I'll leave you with some pictures of Ghent. It is a very pretty city and there is much to do for both the beer drinker and non-beer drinker. So go check it out next time you are in Belgium.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Night at the Kulminator

The high point of the night was a tasting of 10 different years of Stille Nacht (from De Dolle): 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 1999, 1996, 1984, 1982.

Preparing the beers

All ready to drink. Tom is patient.

Another view of the bottles and beer

All lined up and ready to drink

The label was falling off on the 1984.

The last round of the hard core who where left.

A nice Irish couple we shared our table with.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day trip to Brussels

We went in to Brussels for the day to get our sour beer fix. A La Becasse, Cantillon and Chez Moeder Lambic.

If you don't know where to look for A La Becasse, you'll probably miss it

This narrow alley and the mosaic are all you see from the street.

The Lambic here is served in a traditional pitcher. Lambic Doux, Kreik and Lambic Blanc

The gang enjoying the lambic

We then went to the Anderlecht district of Brussels to visit the Cantillon Brewery. I didn't take pictures because I have a ton from previous visits.

Entrance to the brewery

Ian and Tim enjoying the after tour tasting session.

Next it was Chez Moeder Lambic, my favorite pub in the Brussels. Its located in the St Giles district. They are opening a new, much larger pub in central Brussels, but we missed the opening by a week.

Moeder Lambic

The gang enjoying round 1

Even in Belgium the beer can be too cold!

Taras Boulba from Brasserie de la Senne

A delivery van from Cantillon pulled up while we were there. They almost got a ticket for parking in a crosswalk.

Saison de la Senne -- a mix of Taras Bulba and Cantillon lambic. Delicious.


On Thursday we left Düsseldorf (and Germany) and headed for Belgium. We had a problem in Dordrecht where the train to Antwerp was late and then changed tracks without an announcement, so we got in a bit later than expected.

The gang waiting on the platform in Düsseldorf

Ian, Tim and Drew kicking back on the train

Antwerpen Central train station. The prettiest in Europe (that I've seen)

The Kulminator -- the center of the beer universe for many beer geeks.

Drew and Ian enjoying their first beer.

Our blind Triple tasting

The results. I am sad to say we didn't do very well. Triple Moine was the favorite

Eight years of Chimay waiting for us (1994 - 2008)

All lined up and ready to drink.

The just released Rodenbach Vintage 2007. Yummy.

Obligatory non beer picture -- statue of a dead guy

Train station from the outside (at a distance)

Ian continues his fascination with giant plastic farm animals