Brouwerij Straffe Hendrik / Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan
Ratings: 64 | Reviews: 41 | Display Reviews Only:
United Kingdom (England)
2.55/5 rDev -34.6%
Been there twice during my three-month stay in Belgium last year. The first time I was there the immediate guided tour was full so I decided to taste the beers before spending more money on this brewery, as the tour was quite costly. I tried both regular beers they had on draught and both proved reasonably flavoursome, but were served way too cold (for me). And the service was slow as well, but it was slowed down mainly due to a large group of German tourists who joyfully occupied the whole place. Grabbed several bottles of their own beers (750ml), only to find out that in a small supermarket on the outskirt of town the same beers were sold just two-thirds the price at the brewery!! Outrageous...
On my second visit (on my friend's request as he just arrived in Belgium, otherwise I would refuse to go back), my friend and I only managed to find seats outside, but it was nice as Brugge was bathed in rare sunshine the whole afternoon. After almost seven minutes no waiter approached and I had to ask the ignorant and idling barman at the outside, temporary bar for a drink. He served me two glasses of their Spring beer on tap (Brugs Lentebier) there and I had to carry the drinks back to the table on my own, whereas later on I saw him serving other customers at their tables. The beer itself was my cup of tea but the service pissed me off for the rest of the day. I for one would never go back again, and would not recommend this place to any beer enthusiasts. For, one can obtain their beers at a lower price outside the brewery (is it not news??), and the place itself is overly tourist-orientated, apart from their lousy service as I witnessed.
05-25-2005 02:20:42 | More by wl0307
2.74/5 rDev -29.7%
We visited in September 2009. We tried to have lunch before the tour, but failed--we sat down on the outdoor patio, looked at menu, picked out food, and waited. We tried valiantly to make eye contact with the waitress, to no avail. After 15-20 minutes we went inside, my husband really wanted a beer but I needed food desperately. I asked at the bar if I should order food at the bar or at a table, and was told to sit down and a waitress would be along. My husband ordered his beer, and I went across the street to get a sandwich. We then took the tour, which was pleasant but not particularly informative (well, if you knew nothing about brewing beer, you'd probably learn something). We got to go up on the roof for some great views of the city, which was cool. The tour comes with a complimentary glass of Brugse Zot, which is an enjoyable beer but not outstanding. I would not go here just for the beer or food, but if you are looking to kill some time and want to take a tour then it's fine.
10-11-2009 20:48:27 | More by skberke
2.85/5 rDev -26.9%
My wife and i were there in september 2010.It is a nice place where you can eat and drink their beers.We first have waited for a while before the brewery tour starting took place.Sadly ,we could not hear the explanations in our idiom(spanish),the guider was a woman that talked too fast(she might be tired of saying always the same things to the different touristic tours).She showed us the old brewery,there were enormous beer tanks over the roof ,we could go upstairs and had a view of the city.The information i could understand was general,nothing very interesting to me.
After the tour,we have drunk some Brugse Zot beers,we just drank the blonde one, it has an average taste, a bit cloudy but enjoyable.Not a place to visit twice.
01-30-2012 02:43:34 | More by Tebuken
2.93/5 rDev -24.9%
Took the 2:00 pm tour of the brewery on 3/26/07 with my wife. That was a lot of fun. Lasts about one hour. Our tour guide was very informative, and you get to walk all around the brewery, go on the roof of the building to get a great view of the city, then get a beer afterwards to end the tour. The tour part of De Halve Mann was fun and well worth it.
We went into the dinner area so I could have some lunch after the tour. Kinda looked like an average brewpub in the US, nothing special but not bad. Waited for an eternity for the waitress to take my order. I got the beer and cheese soup. Tasted like chicken noodle with four cubes of cheese plopped in the bottom. Not good. Too bad, because other people's food around me looked decent. Oh well.
Come for the tour, for sure, but skip the food.
03-29-2007 16:56:44 | More by morebeergood
2.95/5 rDev -24.4%
Went here for a tour (which was great). We were served a Zot Blonde at the end of the tour, which was nice. We enjoyed the beer enough that we wanted to stay for lunch.
Outside in the courtyard, the atmosphere is fantastic- you feel like you're back in the old-world. But inside the atmosphere is quite sterile. Not much character in there. So it seems most appropriate to give it an above-average rating on Atmosphere overall.
The beer is decent. And the place was generally kept clean... but the tables weren't. They were littered with crumbs from other patrons. Never got to observe the quality of other facets of their operation; so a slightly above-average rating is fitting, I suppose.
We asked the bartender about lunch, and she suggested that we take any open table and that a server would be right over. We found a table and waited for 25 minutes, and nobody ever came over to help us. So we got up and left. Absolutely awful service.
A good selection of their house beers could be found on the menu. Nothing more. Not bad, although we never got past the first beer given with the tour.
03-24-2010 21:15:01 | More by jgasparine
3/5 rDev -23.1%
I've gone through this place twice now in 2 years (2 different travel partners), and the first time I went, I was really impressed (I didn't know much about beer). The tour here is a nice tour, but very simple and designed for casual tourists, not beer enthusiasts. What was amazing was watching the tour guide spout off the same spiel first in French, then in Dutch, then in English, while keeping a group of 30 people moving up and around and down about 150 steps... 2 thumbs up! There's lots of old equipment and empty bottles and such to make museum buffs enjoy themselves, plus a decent view of the city from the rooftop.
They don't brew here any more (one tour guide says they use it for occasional, special brews, the equipment looks unused).
Same with their two beers- a blond and a brune. Basic Belgian brews that are thirst quenching and beat the tar out of American macrobrews, but are quite plain when compared to Belgian siblings. When you buy the tour, you get one glass of blond (not a Tripel, as suggested by another reviewer) included in the price, a second beer for a couple of Euros and you have tried their complete line of beers.
Worth stopping by just to say you have done it, but don't expect anything special.
10-11-2004 22:41:10 | More by Dukeofearl
3.05/5 rDev -21.8%
Finding De Halve Maan was a great part of the fun. For this, I set my bearings, put away my map, and followed the smell of malt. Through red brick alleyways upon stone cobbled pavement we traversed as all the while that wonderful aroma grew more pungent. At long last we came upon a rather funny scene.
Before us stood a wide courtyard behind which rose an attractive brick brewery more akin to a late 19th century American or British brewery than to those I have typically witnessed in Belgium. Its entry way and windows, however, were ornately dressed to the point of approaching Disney Land. I began to worry that we had stumbled into a tourist trap.
In the far corner of the courtyard, near the entryway, a narrow bar topped with the familiar Bruges Zot tap handles rested upon the cobbles. On the left and the right were well set tables covered in neat white table clothes. The sun shown over our heads for the first time since our arrival in Belgium, a country whose climate bests Seattle's as the world's most miserable.
Then something odd started happening, the waiters and waitresses started scurrying about, rapidly moving tables to create a lane down the center of the courtyard. Out of nowhere a small blue tractor hauling a cart drove right down the aisle, nearly hitting several dining guests and stopped below a large window. The window swung open. A shoot slid down. Heaps of hot, moist spent malt began pouring into the cart on their way to a local dairy farmer no doubt. The smell was enticing to say the least and it was time for a beer. More importantly, however, we confirmed that we had not tripped into a tourist trap at all. This was real live working brewery, and if that meant that the customer's lunch had to be disturbed for few moments to continue the work of the brewery, so be it.
We drank the Bruges Zot, the Bok, and the Dubel. I recall drinking a wit as well but I did not takes notes on it so perhaps I'm wrong. Our lunch was quite good. I enjoyed a healthy heaping of Vlaamse Stovery with fries and salad. It wasn't the best I had in Belgium but it was adequate. My companions ate a bouillabaisse of sorts and a wonderful salad. The food was above average and a value by Bruges standards. The beers were as they always are from this brewery - clean, pleasing, appropriate to their styles, but not exceptional.
The one problem we encountered was service. The servers were stressed and rude and that was only on the rare occasion that they were present. We waited and waited to order our beers, waited for twenty minutes or more to get them, waited again to order, waited for what seemed like forever to get our lunch and to order another round, etc... They were busy and it would have been forgivable had the staff been apologetic but instead they pointed their noses in the air and acted as if the long delays were somehow of our own making.
Overall: What would have been an above average meal at a great price and some decent beers in a absolutely top notch setting was turned sour by absolutely dismal service. Don't go unless you have a lot of time on your hands or are able to go when it is slow.
07-26-2010 16:41:56 | More by DaPeculierDane
3.31/5 rDev -15.1%
This historic brewery is a must stop while walking the city. I reccomend going early to buy your brewery tour tickets as the tour is limited to 30 people. Also if you plan on doing the tour be prepared for lots of steps (approx 150) and wear sneakers. The tour is commonplace knowledge wise, but a must to see the very old facilities there they used to brew and cellar their beer. Your tour guide will try to explain that it is still a working brewery.. but in reality they contract brew the tripel and the brune. The tour includes one beer after the tour in the "bar area". The bar is well appointed and has a huge fireplace. Beer bottles from all over Belgium and hops decorate the place. The only beers offered are their tripel and brune but at good prices (2-3 euro). Service is well just so so... you will have to seek out another round for yourself. The location is great.. the tour ends on the roof that gives you a great view of the city.. but it is more beer history that beer bar. The menu looked ok.. but we did not eat.
04-08-2004 03:30:59 | More by frank4sail
3.31/5 rDev -15.1%
I was in Belgium a couple years ago, before I was a BA. So imagine my joy when I was looking through my trip journal when I came across a page I wrote when I was sitting at the brewery drinking! It was early August, in the midst of tourist season, and while the tours were busy, my tour didn't seem all that rushed. I was there alone on this trip, which was kind of fun, so I got to (er, trying to) talking with the tour guide. A very knowledgable older lady, spoke in monotone the whole time, while making wonderfully dry jokes along the way, very Ben Stein-like. I rememebr she took great delight in noting that hops are a cousin of marijuana. Anyway, the tour was great for a tourist, as I was, and I was a bit beer saavy then, going through a Belgian phase, so I asked a lot of questions about the process, but didn't get too much out of her. Anyway, the brewery was beautiful in that historic sense, and ending at a very attractive bar, we were served the blond, which I was pleased with. Had another beer, but didn't make a not of it, and that was it for the beers, which was disappointing. The beers were good though, and the courtyard was a great place to sit down in the shade and sip away, but the service was not so great. Granted, there were some awfully large groups going through, but still. Anyway, Straffe Hendrik is a must see if you're in town for a few days. Only takes a few minutes, and its a nice, easy tour.
04-07-2006 13:23:31 | More by objectivemonkey
3.31/5 rDev -15.1%
After visiting the convent down the street we had a thirst for beer and happened upon De Halve Maan. The entrance off Walplein across from a small group of establishments was unassuming but pretty easy to find due to the line of people from a tour group waiting to go inside. Once you walk inside you see a courtyard filled with tour groups, mostly retirement aged and tables. Inside a few tables had patrons but most sat empty.
We settled in to some outside seating and after moments of not having anyone come to take our order went to inquire about having a draft. The lady informed us she would come over shortly and she did. They had two beers, TWO, the bruin and the blonde and neither was overwhelmingly good so we opted not to take the tour. The service was OK, but nothing outstanding. At one point the entire group of retirement aged individuals stood up in unison as if they were going to sing the Halleluah Chorus and went in for the tour. A bit spooky, and yet utterly fascinating.
I cannot say I would every return to De Halve Maan. A nice courtyard and good place to hit the WC and have some non-offensive beers for a fairly good price.
Oh, if at De Halve Maan in the late summer/early fall, sit near the cellar on the right hand side of the courtyard. Each time the tour exits the cool musty air helps to mediate the temperature
Visited on September 14, 2006.
10-16-2006 22:51:13 | More by GCBrewingCo
Brouwerij Straffe Hendrik / Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan in Brugge, Belgium
88 out of 100 based on 64 ratings.