The first time I was in Bruges was January 2011 and I decided then that I’d revisit the place when I was 40. I had a vague plan to head there for the weekend with a few mates but, ended up there with the family instead! There was some work being done on the train line so it took us a while to get there from Antwerp. At one stage I thought we had taken the wrong train and were headed for Brussels instead. I didn’t panic, as I know they sell beer there too. Anyway, De Garre was top of my list to revisit in Bruges. They have a lovely house beer, a Tripel, brewed for them by Brouwerij Van Steenbeerge. It comes with a small bowl of cheese. As it was time for a late lunch I ordered the cheese (is there such thing as too much cheese?) and paté.
It’s a cool spot down a tiny alley between the two main squares in Bruges. Worth a visit.
The second place on my short list was ‘t Brugs Beertje. This place has a serious selection of beer. It’s a little bit like an old sitting room. My first beer was the Special Export Stout from Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers. It was like black treacle with some bitterness for balance. Gorgeous.
After that I went with Boon’s Two Year Unblended Oude Lambiek. Lovely, tart and funky. I definitely enjoyed my second time in Bruges. Sláinte!
And we all lived happily ever after. If you like happy endings stop reading here!
But if you want to read me whinging read on…
Kulminator was on my radar in Antwerp. It came highly recommended by some of my colleagues and also in the Where To Drink Beer book. (I have a few contributions featured in the book too. It would make a nice gift for any of your beer loving friends. No, I’m not on commission, I didn’t even get a free copy!) So, I got a taxi from the train station to Kulminator as we were going home the next day and this was my last chance to visit the place. But the door was closed. I knocked and rang the bell as there were people inside. A man who I assume is the proprietor came out and gestured at me to go away. Now, I know what you’re thinking; ‘I wouldn’t let you into my bar either Simon!’…but there were other, younger, better looking, local people mounting their bikes and shaking their heads. They said to me; ‘It’s not a place for drinking, just degustation!’ I can degust with the best of ’em given half a chance but sadly it wasn’t to be. I went back to the waiting taxi a disappointed man. So, while I’d love to add a recommendation to this place I cannot. Yes, I know there are people with real problems in the world. Sigh.