Favorite thing: Le Roi d'Espagne was our last stop for a Julius or Alexander beer as we admired with the waiter what some members have purchased at the Beer Temple shop: a serious number of beers and glasses, trays and other wimsicles related surprisingly to belgian beers!
The hours passed and more beers and more discussions about beers were going on until only few members were left and got inside the estaminet at 3 o'clock in the morning. Geert was sleeping on the bar's counter but soon was asking what kind of beer he could serve. He didn't want to leave until he was sure nobody was in the estaminet anymore. Some of us remembered having drunk the best Hanssens that night!
Back at the hotel, I gave serious comments to our driver and made a complain to the bus company which decided to contribute to the group's hobby by refunding the bus fee from the disastreous Bruges trip. That allowed the Beer Club to offer free drinks to its members back in Finland and to remember with a smile that saturday evening "sauna" on wheels!
What to do in Brussels a Saturday night after 23H00? N O N E, so a quick telephone call to Geert in Beersel asking him to keep open the hotel's estaminet and put some gueuses and trappist beers in the fridge.
On our way to Beersel, the bus wasn't anymore warm but HOT and some members got really angry and some guys took their shirt off in order to protest to our chauffeur's stubborness to not honor our requests to diminish the temperature. Everyone was sweating, chocolates melting and the overall atmosphere somehow like in hell, lol!
The restaurant had reserved the whole upstair's cabinet and served us a three courses meal: Maredsou cheese croquette, chicken waterzooi and kriek sorbet. The menu included half of bottle of wine or belgian beers. We chose Westvleteren 12 beer and drank all that they had. The group was cheerfull and it was time to give some speeches and to thank the guides and the group. Before leaving we all participated to a fun beer & belgium-related quiz.
DINNER IN BRUSSELS
The bus left the group at Place de Brouckere, so we decided to have our first aperitive at the terrace of the hotel Metropole. As we had some time to kill before our dinner at In't Spinnekopke we took a short sight-seeing on foot to show some of the members Jeanneken-pis, the Grand-Place, Toone theatre and the Beer temple shop.
Favorite thing: We wanted to have a beer at the famous Brugs Beertje pub but to our disapointment it was closed! Fortunately our lunch restaurant Malpertuus had nice Witbiers and a normal 3 courses lunch washed down with Brugse Tarwerbier and Straffe.
Favorite thing: The year 2002 cultural city offered us beautiful views from our canal tour before our visit to the museum homebrewery De Halve Maan. This brewery is owned by the Maes family and is huge with several floors and was still operating in 1969. From the roof you get exceptional views from the city. After the tour, you can taste a free glass of Straffe Hendrik on the outdoor patio.
The day started cloudy but soon turned sunny as we approached Bruges. Though the bus ride got warm, maybe too warm because our new bus driver was freezing in his front seat. Even his girl-friend that he brought along couldn't warm him up! The new bus didn't have air-conditioning and toilet (as ordered) and our new bus driver wasn't into customer service either!
The menu was typically belgian with mussels, schrimp croquettes, fish-dishes. The beer range included some older gueuses such as a cheerfully dry from 1997. Beers can also be purchased from the restaurant which each of us did.
Favorite thing: Armand Debelder served as our private guide. He explained how when he was young he tasted this natural product called faro - a mixture of lambic and water - when other children poisoned themselves with coca-cola and what an unforgettable occasion he had a couple of years ago to taste an exquisite gueuse from 1939!
Favorite thing: t has its own brewery in craft fashion which can be visited. The place had big spiders and webs everywhere that couldn't be removed as they were crucial to the beer's spontanious fermentation.
Back in Beersel, most of the group went by foot to a local brewery-pub nearby called In't Bierhuis Oud Beersel. The owner Henri Vandervelde had his hand in plaster busy to finnish his artwork for his exhibition in a couple of days. Inside, we tasted the local lambic on tap and bought few bottles of Oude Gueuse and Kriek Vieille.
The actual monastery is not open for public. Only the gardens, the cemetery and the church of the Abbey of Scourmont can be visited every day from 08H00 to 20H00.
If you fancy a quiet moment, it is possible to stay overnight at the monastery's guest house for 20 euros and participate to selected prayers!
Favorite thing: We had our beer & cheese-tasting (included in the free Chimay tour) and lunch at the Auberge du Poteaupré. The 3 courses lunch used chimay beer in every dish and was washed with Chimay Doré - a lighter version of chimay only available on site! It is also possible to taste older Grande Reserve Chimay beers from 1995, -96, -97 - pure delight.