Belgium, Day 2

Note to self… when seeking to conquer a foreign land, be well rested.

Our 20 hour journey from Orange County to Chicago to Brussels to Brugge took its toll on us. We arrived in Belgium on Tuesday (though it might’ve been Wednesday), met our driver Serge, who took us the 90 minutes to Brugge.

We’re all sharing a 4 story walk-up apartment just blocks from the Markt, the main square, and just a few feet from a noisy semi-major artery of traffic that leads to the Markt (which is not helping the sleep efforts, but I guess is indirectly helping the blogging efforts).

First order of business was to find food, and some beer to go with it. Despite our zombie state, we stumbled to Cambrinus, a specialty beer cafe nestled in the first floor of a 300 year old building. (And legend has it as the inspiration of Cambria’s name).

They offer 400 beers from around Belgium. We easily tackled at least 1% of them, including La Rullés Triple, Geuze Mariage Parfait, and a forgetful “Cookie Beer” brewed to taste like a local Speculoos cookie (it was sweet with cinnamon, think of a less-balalnced Or Xata).

We also enjoyed a Préaris IPA, which proudly features the challenge of “No Hops, No Glory” on its label. Essentially, it’s a Belgian take on an American West Coast IPA, which is itself based on a traditional English style that was enjoyed by troops half a globe away from its origin.

All of these beers paired nicely with the several orders of mussels steamed in either curry or or a beer base, the Vlaamse Karbonade (spiced cubed meat), and a giant pot of potato frites with mayo/aioli.

Of course after such a meal, we decided to take a stroll (for more beer) this time around the corner to Hotel Cordoenair. Here were five beers on draft, a Cantillon Gueze, Boon Kriek, Redor Pils, and two others. We ordered six Cantillon which and been picked direct from the brewery just two days prior. Fresh, citrusy, exquisite.

Time for some sight seeing, which basically entailed walking through the central square Markt, stopping to see the “take home” selection at Bier Tempel, and then searching the back alley’s De Garre, a specialty beer cafe (pictured above). Their house Tripel was smooth, slightly hot, but refreshing given the increased humidity of the back-alley hangout.

A stop for chocolate, then back to Cordoneair for Cantillon’s Foufoune and Drie Fontainen’s Oude Gueze vintage 2007. A late night visit for pizza at Carlito’s in a last attempt to stay up, and then came the welcome, fitful sleep.

(Photos borrowed from BeerNerds and TheKitchn)

Post written by Carl Katz, our CFO and resident champion of eastern culture and remembering all the weird spellings of these Belgian names.

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