Belgian Beer Board

Bruges Beer Festival Weekend

Started by Jay, June 19, 2023, 09:40:54 PM

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Jay

Hi everyone,

Time for a beery weekend report  drink_sm

What a better place to start than with our hotel and after visiting Bruges for 15 years and staying in 5 different establishments (3 hotels and 2 private houses) I think it's fair to say that the Duc De Bourgogne is the pick of the bunch, talk about the perfect location.

Situated within the most photographed corner of Bruges it faces 2be and backs onto the picturesque Huidenvettersplein square, it's squeezed between Rozenhoedkaai and Vismarkt.
Maybe not the easiest to access by car but for us on foot it wasn't a problem and taxis would drop us off at either Cafe 't Klein Venetie or the fish market.
What a beautiful hotel this is, ornately decorated with spectacular views of the canal.







View from our window




So after unpacking it was the 2 minute walk to our first bar and after a 3 year wait we could not wait to visit De Garre - this bar really is that bit special with what is undoubtedly the best house beer around.











After a couple of their amazing Tripels it was across the square to the frites stands for some well deserved frites (we've missed that as much as the beer...well almost  :D)




Seeing as this was the day of the bottle share we didn't want to venture too far of drink too much so a gentle stroll to 2be for a couple of beers in the glorious sunshine with our hotel as the perfect backdrop







Later that evening we met up with Filip and Katrien at the nearby fish market and they drove us to Rudys for the bottle share.
After a 3 year absence it was quite the heartfelt reunion, not only with Filip and Katrien but also Rudy, Marina, Stephen, Mark, Jeremy, Danielle...each person giving us the warmest of hugs- friends truly reunited.

The evening went an absolute dream, many great beers were sampled, great food, great conversations - people go to Rudys sharing a common interest and by the end new friendships are made.






















Rudy and Marina with a couple of homemade Meads, one traditional with honey and flowers and one with dark berries.







What an amazing first day, festival and more to follow.

Cheers

Jay  t_u











Trappist

Hi Jay,
GREAT report!!!
it was utterly pleasant to once again hangout out with you and Linda. Marvelous quality time this is.
Thanks for sharing those precious moments over here.
Cheers,
Filip
"Beer, if drank with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health."
–- Thomas Jefferson

Jay

Onwards -

It's Saturday and that means festival day but we decide to take it easy and at a leisurely pace, so after breakfast in our beautiful hotel restaurant overlooking 2be we visited the nearby supermarket and stocked up on the essentials (bottled water and snacks) before making our way to the festival










This is our first time attending at the newly rebuilt Beursplein and what an improvement it is, nowhere near as picturesque as when it was in the Belfry but for space and ease of manoeuvrability it wins hands down. There's a far more relaxed to it, no more bumping into folks, no 15 minute bar visits...a massive improvement and with such warm weather the outdoor seating areas and catering trucks create the festival atmosphere.

My first beer and it was a surprise to see Italian brewer Baladin present but a nice surprise so it was a Xyauyu direct from the barrel, a massive 14% Barley Wine that I'd promised a friend I would sample...so why not kick things off with it  ;D





My what a sweet and sticky beer this was, almost like a dark sherry...WOW (Linda doing it right with a fruity number)




Just a couple more as Filip has the festival well and truly covered 👍🏻

A new brewery to me - Branbrass and they also had a Barley Wine but it was aged in 4 different barrels, my pick was "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off" an 11% Barley Wine aged in Cuervo Tequila barrels...such a fantastic beer that was chock full of herbaceous barrel character that I bought a bottle to bring home, Linda had their Rick & Raf Tripel and was so impressed I bought a bottle of that as well.






Another beer worth a mention was Black Mamba from Circus brewery, a 10.5% Imperial Stout...no barrel, no adjuncts, just a beer.
Now then there are very few Belgian breweries that can make something that resembles an Imperial Stout (Struise, Jef at D'oude Maalderij) more often than not they're Belgian Strong Dark Ales but this had that rich roasted taste (not as thick as the American or Danish offerings) but a very worthy offering.








So many familiar faces from the previous night's bottle share coming over to say hello and chat, we managed to meet up with our very own Filip and Katrien and even Daisy from Beertje (as she'll always be known) came over as well.




We spent the next 3 hours sampling some really special beers from breweries new to us before making our way back to our hotel to unpack bottles brought back from the festival and whilst there enjoy a beer in its beautiful courtyard






Seeing as boat trips departed just yards from where we were sitting Linda decided that we'd partake and go on our first canal tour of Bruges.
It's funny that you can learn so much new information about a city you've visited so many times before (I never knew there was originally a window tax on any window sun shined in through, that's why some old buildings have fake painted on windows...and we've walked past them and never noticed - around the Jan van Eyckplein area)








The evening was taken up with a to steak house El Churrasco Argentine for a fantastic meal before finishing the night off in Beertje












Cheers
Jay  t_u



John B

Beautiful report Jay! Nice to see how spacious the festival is, plenty of room for everybody. Makes it so much more enjoyable and relaxed.

Cheers! - John

Trappist

#4
Hi Jay,
Beautiful report 🙏👍
Looks you and Linda had a splendid beery weekend over here in Bruges.
It was indeed a most succeeded beer fest too. Not that crowded as it used to be, due to the bigger venue. That is really a surplus factor. Much more easy to navigate and drink a beer at more ease.
Hope to see you back in September 2024, when the 16th Bruges Beer Fest will be held again.
Cheers,
Filip
"Beer, if drank with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health."
–- Thomas Jefferson

Jay

Ghent and the final day -

Today we decided that we would finally visit Ghent, every year we've said that we'll visit and today we will.




So after Linda paying for a couple of train tickets (at half price, nice surprise) we made the short 25 minute journey and arrived at Ghent Sint Peters station, a further 10 minute taxi ride and we were outside our first destination - Waterhuis, and our luck was in because it was just opening up for the day.







So picking the perfect spot outside I went in and ordered our first beers and it had to be the two house beers - Klokke Roeland and Mammelokker, despite being served in an identical glass to De Garre Tripel, Klokke Roeland is a darker amber colour and much sweeter (Gulden Draak 9000  :chin: )




The weather was truly beautiful, clear blue skies with temps of 32°, so another beer was called for and it seemed that everyone around us was drinking Floris Cherry from tap, so given the balmy weather decided why not join them with Linda having another exclusive from tap "Gandavum" with a side of cheese cubes and Tieretien mustard to nibble on...just perfect




Our next visit was right across the street, the very picturesque 't Galgenhuis - it's amazing that this tiny bar is actually set over 3 floors (the top 2 minuscule) with the toilets and further seating located in the cellar (down a very steep spiral staircase)
The outside terrace was packed but this wasn't a problem as we wanted to sit inside and admire the quirkiness of this micro bar - two Tripels were ordered, for me a local Gentse Tripel and Linda...the one and only Westmalle













Time for a bit of sightseeing and a visit to a bottle shop to pick up beers you don't see in Bruges before moving on to our last bar - Dulle Griet and this came as a bit of a shock as it's situated on the large Vrijdamarkt (I for some reason always thought it was down a side street like Beertje) the inside was packed but there was plenty of seats outside under the largest parasol I've ever seen.
Seeing as we were in Ghent a couple of local beers in the form of Gentse Strop and Dulle Griet Herberg.











Time to head back to Bruges and it was an evening meal in Cambrinus before a special vintage Struise beer in Cafe Rose Red and finally making our way to Beertje for a couple and to say goodbye to Dries.











Rose Red






Final beers at Beertje






On our way back to our hotel just one final beer each in @The Pub, what a truly wonderful beery packed day it had been.









Cheers
Jay.



Jay

Today we fly home but not until 9pm, so we could really make the most of our final day in Bruges, and so after picking a few final items we decided to stay local and have a couple of light beers on the terrace of 2be







Moving on we decided to try the Duvelorium for the first time, however the Belfry square was absolutely rammed full as unknown to us the Gumball 3000 was in town and the crowds had come out in their masses to spectate, it seemed every available vantage point was taken, so just a quick beer then back to our hotel for lunch before our journey home began.










So there's a whirlwind 3 day break in our heartfelt second home of Bruges.
After a 3 year break we just couldn't wait to get back to the place we know and love so well, to meet up with decade long friends cementing our bond even further.

Cheers
Jay🇧🇪❤️

Jay

Quote from: Trappist on June 24, 2023, 09:27:14 AMHi Jay,
Hope to see you back in September 2024, when the 16th Bruges Beer Fest will be held again.
Cheers,
Filip


You sure will Filip, Linda has booked us the time off work and booked our hotel (yes we're staying at the Duc De Bourgogne again) so we will once again meet up.

Cannot wait mate

Jay  t_u

John B

Another beautiful report Jay. Your pictures are stunning! Thank you for sharing this with us.   :appauding-1:

Cheers mate! - John

Viv

Hi Jay,

Great reports!

I counted that you had 9 bottles and about 25 units of alcohol in one single day!

That's some feat, even though you have spread the intake throughout the day!

CHEERS!


Viv

Jay

Quote from: Viv on June 30, 2023, 08:52:34 AMHi Jay,

Great reports!

I counted that you had 9 bottles and about 25 units of alcohol in one single day!

That's some feat, even though you have spread the intake throughout the day!

CHEERS!


Viv


We're on holiday mate, so the regular ABV laws are slightly more relaxed (back home I never drink during the week) I mean you can't come to Belgium for a beer festival and switch off after 3 or 4 beers - I doubt anyone would

Like you say the beers in (pretty much all) my reports are consumed over an 11-12 hour period with food, snacks and plenty of water taken alongside and once at a destination we walk everywhere - here's one day from our recent trip to San Sebastián



Here's to my next report AMSTERDAM! and to making more special memories...and just last week for Fathers Day Linda and the kids bought us tickets for the next MBCC

Cheers
Jay  t_u




Trappist

Hi Jay,
Amazing report!!
It's good to see you and Linda had such a wonderful Belgian experience yet again.  B_FLAG
For us, it's Thailand time !
Tomorrow, we will fly to Bangkok to arrive on Monday noon time.
But first, I need to go to my work now. A bit of patience is needed :)
stay tuned on Facebook for pictures, movies, etc.... We'll have a blast !!!
Cheers,
Filip

"Beer, if drank with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health."
–- Thomas Jefferson

Jay

You both have a fantastic time in Thailand (like our Bruges trip, it's long overdue) looking forward to the pics.

Safe journey mate

Jay  t_u

Jay

Quote from: Jay on June 29, 2023, 03:29:40 PMLinda has booked us the time off work and booked our hotel (yes we're staying at the Duc De Bourgogne again)


And today she has booked out plane tickets, we fly out of Manchester early on the Thursday and fly home Monday...roll on September 🇧🇪

Cheers
Jay t_u

Trappist

Quote from: Jay on January 03, 2024, 02:14:36 PMAnd today she has booked out plane tickets, we fly out of Manchester early on the Thursday and fly home Monday...roll on September 🇧🇪

Cheers
Jay t_u

Hi Jay,
That's some cracking news !!!
Already looking forward to meet up again :animated-belgium-flag-image-0
CHEERS
Filip
"Beer, if drank with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health."
–- Thomas Jefferson