Friday, October 15, 2021

First Full Day in Antwerp

No visit to Antwerp is complete without having the local beer De Koninck. So we stopped at Oud Arsenaal for a bolleke. As delicious as I remembered.

The taps are pretty much unchanged. As always, a great bottle selection.

The inside is as I remembered, except for the bicycle hanging on the wall...

We were sitting outside -- it was a tad chilly but not so much so that we didn't have another beer. I chose the Arsenaaltje, the house beer brewed by Brouwerij The Musketeers.

We then walked over to you know where...

I decided to do the lambic tasting. Eight 12.5cl glasses of lambic. One is missing from the picture, the 

Here are the details. In picture they go from 16 to 8. Missing is #12 Jasmiijnlambiek.

They were all very good. The Rozenlambiek (Rosemary) was the most interesting, but I'm not sure I could  drink a bottle. The Jasmiijnlambiek (Jasmine Tea) was also quite different, very earthy.

I like triples so I asked Leen to pick me one and she brought the Name Tripel, and old favorite and it didn't disappoint.

Staying on the theme, I ordered a Het Anker Gouden Carolus Tripel, another favorite.

It just arrived and wasn't on the menu yet, but we were allowed to drool over the new Rodenbach Red Tripel. I understand only a small amount was made so it is likely to be pricy.


Someone wanted an old beer, so we got a Bornem Dubbel from 2000. Nice sherry, but not much "Dubbel" left (which was expected)
We had a dinner reservation at Billies Bier Cafeteria so we wandered over.  I understand why the do it, but I am in Belgium to drink Belgian beer (or at least BeNeLux beer) so a little limited on the selection, but some great beers.

I chose the Lupulus Tripel. I had had this in the past and enjoyed it, but this one was not as good as I remembered.

I ordered some deep fried mussels to tie me over until the main course came. There were good, but I prefer the steamed, even if they are more work.

To go with dinner I ordered a Scheldebrouwerij Zeezuiper Tripel. A very nice beer.

Dinner was Stoofvlees (Beef and onion stew) and it was very good. It is game season so they had a venison stew and roast pheasant, which the others said was very good.

 The liter of lambic I drank earlier in the day caught up to me and my stomach was starting to rebel, so I called it an early night. The rest of the gang went on to De Ware Jacob for a night cap...

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Arrived in Antwerp

It was a hard flight, no fun wearing a mask for that long a time. But we all arrived safely. We checked in the hotel, dropped our bags, caught a quick lunch and heading for the Kulminator. We were the only ones there.
I ordered the Malheur 60 Blond, getting it confused the 6. It is a 10% abv beer with 60 IBUs. Very bitter and very good. So much for easing into the day.
The Het Anker Cuvée van de Keizer Blond was out, so I went with the regular version, a long time favorite. It didn’t disappoint, though it was a bit on the sweet side. Don’t know if it was that vintage or my memory had faded.
In addition to the lambics on the board, there are a few more that you can order.
One day I will start with the full sampler.
Time to try some new (for me) beers. I had read about the Rochefort Triple and that seemed a good place to start. I’m not sure what I expected, but I was supposed. I really enjoyed it and look forward to when we can buy it at home.
Some have never had the Westmalle Extra (the 4.8% “Monks Beer”) that monastery recently released to the public. Turns out the Kulminator also had a four year old one, from the days you could only get it at the monastery. Seemed like a comparison was in order.
The four year old one held up very well. The two beers were nearly identical, with just a bit of oxidation on the older one.
Being jet lagged is like being a shark — you have to keep moving or it is all over. So we decide to walk up to De Ware Jacob
The taps were as expected.
The guest beer as out, but that only effected our second beer.
I was having some camera issues, so the foam had settled a bit. That is on me — the pour was perfect.
Guy (the proprietor) mentioned he had the Chimay “Green Label” — the recently released version of their 150th Anniversary beer of. a few years back. I had to have one.
It did not disappoint, nicely hoppy and spicy and too easy drinking for a 10% beer.
Some of the others had the Tynt Meadows English Trappist, which also is very good. But I forgot to get a picture.
I had reached my limit, so I said I was headed back to the hotel. It was contagious, as everybody else decided it was time, too.
On the way, I stopped at my favorite kebab place in Antwerp, on Koningin Astridplein. It too, did not disappoint.
Pretty soon the rest of the group showed up for kebabs as well. There was some talk of them having a nightcap at Beerlovers, but I passed.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Beer Trip About to Start!

After 19 months on the bench, I'm headed out to Antwerp, Düsseldorf, Bamberg and Berlin with a group of friends.

We already hit one snag as one person had to make a sudden hospital visit (not COVID and he is fine) -- hopefully he will be able to join us mid trip.

And now there is another snag. Belgium requires one to fill out a "Passenger Locator Form" within 48 hours of one's arrival, stating where you've been for the past two weeks, where you sat on the plane and where you are staying (for contract tracing). In order to fill it out you give them a mobile number and they text you a PIN code. All very modern, except it appears the service they use to send texts to US numbers is down!

I managed to get the form this morning, but the others have had no luck (using multiple numbers). I managed to get another PIN by using my German mobile number. If worst comes to worst I guess I'll try using that number for everybody.

The joys of travel in the pandemic age.

Watch this space...