Belgium 4 days and 40 destinations (Belgium)

Discussion in 'Europe' started by jimpdx, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. jimpdx

    jimpdx Aficionado (230) Oregon Jan 10, 2012 Subscriber

    Hello friends. My wife and I have four days to pack in some beer tourism in June before driving to Paris to visit friends. Two days in the north around Brugge and two in the south. We have been to Brussels only so we are skipping there most likely.

    I created this handy map of the places available to us:
    https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=212133732643101812853.0004d4fc5e778fe44d356&msa=0

    I know that you can't really "tour" Trappist breweries but that most have cafes and bars in the region to drink fresh on tap. I will do my best to get a pickup of westy 12 but I might have to settle on a few bottles from a shop in the north (Neal Cuvelier perhaps or Beertiempel). We already have a hotel two nights in Brugge.

    We are definitely visiting Westy/In de vrede, Rodenbach, Dupont, Verhaeghe Vichte (Duchesse) and Caracole near Dinant. We are stuck on where else to go and where to stay in the south. We can stay near and visit Chimay or go east and visit Rochefort. Neither give tours I guess. We could go further south to Orval but same problem. Perhaps only a local cafe would be accessible and perhaps not worth the drive? We had already ruled out Trappe, Westmalle and Achel due to distance and limited access.

    We would love some advice on the map, routing and places we hope to visit. You can tell by the list I gave which styles we like. Won't be hitting Cantillon, Hoegaarden, Leffe, etc. Looking for the best Flemish reds, goldens. Doubles and Trips, BPAs and abbey style.

    Cheers!
     
  2. Hello,

    Don't go to Rochefort: abbey is not public accessible, no cafes or something like this. City is not so nice as other small Belgian's towns. Chimay have a good cafe and abbey is opened and have some excursions. Orval is a great place to visit, you can go inside old abbey(6 euro), walk through ruins, visit "beer museum", buy some cheese and drink orval on tap at cafe.

    We also visited Abbey des Rocs, where we had a nice visit to the brewery and owner was so polite that he showed us entire brew process and sold us some his great beers. Nice place to visit, but you should speak French.

    Also you may skip Maredsous(nothing special there) and St. Bernardus(only small shop available).
     
  3. I will be @ the abbey of Saint Sixtus around the 20th of june? Would you be able to make it there on that date?

    Thijs
     
  4. trevorjk

    trevorjk Savant (330) Netherlands Aug 28, 2009

    If you are planning on visiting Westvleteren, 10 minutes away is De Struise. Otherwise, they have a shop that is open on Saturdays right in the heart of Brugge. Well worth visiting.
     
    northside likes this.
  5. jimpdx

    jimpdx Aficionado (230) Oregon Jan 10, 2012 Subscriber

    GREAT feedback, thanks. We are *definitely* hitting De Struise, forgot to mention it. Will shoot for the Saturday afternoon brewery visit and also the bottle shop in Brugge. Guess we will drop the Rochefort area and try for Orval, my true love. I think that is doable, particularly because we are driving to Paris the next day.

    @Thijs we are there specifically on 13 and 14 of June (north) then 15 and 16 in the south. We will miss you by a day. However we will be in AMS on the 12th most of the afternoon and evening, taking the train to BRU the next morning.
     
  6. DStoked

    DStoked Savant (335) Ohio Sep 28, 2011

    Fantome seems like it would be a pretty awesome place to visit...
     
  7. DStoked

    DStoked Savant (335) Ohio Sep 28, 2011

    Solid Google Maps skills, btw.
     
  8. You should get Tim Webb's Good Beer Guide Belgium. No matter where you are, it has listings for nearby breweries/bars/bottle shops.

    Fantome is pretty unique but only open Saturdays (like most others). Somewhat similar, in that it's a one-man operation, is Docther van de Korenaar. It's in a pretty interesting town in the north, Baarle-Hertog.

    If you do go to Orval, I think Brasserie Rulles is somewhat close by. They make great stuff as well.
     
  9. DStoked

    DStoked Savant (335) Ohio Sep 28, 2011

    I looked into getting this, but it's kinda pricey being that it's been out of print so long.
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_s...s,198&rh=i:aps,k:tim webbs belgian beer guide

    I ended up picking up a copy of Michael Jackson's book, which doesn't have the directory-like feature of Webb's, but is decent. Maybe worth springing for Webb for the directory, but I haven't seen it.
    http://www.amazon.com/Michael-Jacks...8&qid=1367271201&sr=8-1&keywords=belgium+beer
     
  10. It is pricey, but if you're spending a lengthy amount of time in Belgium and doing some in-country traveling, I find it worth the money. You could be in a strange town, hungry for a bite (or thirsty for a beer), and the book will likely have a recommendation. But if you have a budgeted itinerary, then yes, it might not be worth it.
     
  11. Jwale73 likes this.
  12. Jwale73

    Jwale73 Champion (750) Rhode Island Aug 15, 2007 Verified

  13. +1 on Tim Webb's book, it will tell you which breweries allow you to visit and hours. Not all breweries are open to visit to the public and the ones that are usually have specific days and hours. If you want to get a tour of breweries including some of the Trappist ones I would contact Regnier at [email protected] Regnier lives in Brugge so that would be a good time to hook up with him when you are staying there. Via Regnier the trappist places I have visited are Rochefort, Achel, Orval, Westmalle and LaTrappe and the cafe at Westy and he has great contacts at De Dolle, Van Steenberge, Silly, Caracole, Bavik, Bosteels, Rodenbach and a number of other places. Here is his facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/beertourism
     
    northside likes this.
  14. jimpdx

    jimpdx Aficionado (230) Oregon Jan 10, 2012 Subscriber

    Thank you everyone! I wish Tim Webb's book was available on Kindle but perhaps he can mail a copy before our trip. I will contact Regnier about planned tours and visits as well. One Belgian beer we like a lot in the US is "Rince Cochon" but I am unable to find exactly which brewery is making it? BA says it is "Roman" brewery but their website does not list it. Another site says that Delirium Tremens (Huyghe) is somehow involved. Does anyone know for sure?

    I would rather visit Orval is possible so seeing Rulles is a great idea, maybe we leave out Rochefort Abbey/Town altogether.

    Cheers.
     
  15. jimpdx

    jimpdx Aficionado (230) Oregon Jan 10, 2012 Subscriber

    Awesome, thanks. I have also added Des Dolles to our list of must see spots. I think my wife has convinced me to have a guide or driver so we can maximize the drinking opportunities. If we hired a private driver do you have any idea how much this cost per day? Also what is the most direct (not cheapest) way to get from AMS to Brugge by train?
     
  16. I really dont have an idea how much a driver would cost. probably quite a lot. how much breweries would you like to visit on 1 day? the most direct way will be from Amsterdam to Brussels and then take the train to Bruges I'm afraid. You could take the thalys from AMS to Brussels (will cost you 79 euro http://www.thalys.com/be/en/) and then take a regional train from Brussels to Bruges (this may cost between 10-15 euro I think)
     
  17. Regnier (mentioned above) used to charge 100 euro a day for up to 10 people plus the van rental, if it is just two of you that would be pricey but better than a DUI.
     
  18. jimpdx

    jimpdx Aficionado (230) Oregon Jan 10, 2012 Subscriber

    Thanks, that is a good guide. I emailed him but have not heard back yet.
     
  19. Just keep in mind that de dolle wont be open in the week. I see you are staying in the north of Belgium on Thursday and Friday.
     
  20. I posted Regniers old email address, his current one is [email protected]
     
  21. DStoked

    DStoked Savant (335) Ohio Sep 28, 2011

    Renting a car in Brussels was very affordable...is that an option for you?
     
  22. jimpdx

    jimpdx Aficionado (230) Oregon Jan 10, 2012 Subscriber

    We have a rental scheduled from Brussels to Paris, which is fine (and affordable). However if we are using Reigner for a tour of breweries, I am rethinking whether we just take trains to Brugge, trains to Dinant (area) and then back to Paris by train via Brussels. I need to figure it out ASAP.
     
  23. Since you mentioned Dupont and Caracole (two great ideas), I'd say there is plenty of beer-hunting to do around them, in Hainaut province. With a car, I'd swing by Brasserie a Vapeur in Pipaix for a gawk at the old timey farmhouse brewery and pick up some of their saison. I might check out the situation for touring Ellezeloise. Fantome is within easy reach (again, by car). Plenty more around with Ecaussinnes, Silly, Enghein. For memorable places to have a couple -- not the hardest-to-find beers, but the sort of environs you might fantacize about -- there are the abbeys of Maredous (brewed by Duvel Moortgat) and Floreffe (by Lefebvre). Tournai and Mons have plenty of old stuff worthy of a bit of tourism, with the Tim Webb to guide you to drinking/eating on the spot.
     
  24. If the car is affordable go that route. You really need it to reach most of the breweries and then you can also set your own schedule.
     
  25. jimpdx

    jimpdx Aficionado (230) Oregon Jan 10, 2012 Subscriber

    Update on our trip. We leave tomorrow! We decided to take the train from Schipol directly to Antwerp and stay there overnight Wednesday. Will check out Kulminator that evening. Still planning Thursday and Friday in the north. Gave up on getting a full Westy 12 allocation but will try to get a six pack from Regnier in Brugge. Priorities for the north are Dupont, Westvleteren (cafe), De Struise, Rodenbach/Palm, Verhaeghe (sp?) and attending an event at Huyghe Friday night. Emailed Van Steelberge about a Gulden Draak tour as well.

    We booked a room at the Best Western Dinant (Castel Pont A Lesse?) from which we will try to see Caracole, Brasserie du Bocq, Orval (or Chimay) and Fantome.

    Updated the Belgian map with more places:
    https://www.google.com/maps/ms?msid...=0.54571,1.448822&iwloc=0004dac043df1e41995f9
     
  26. jimpdx

    jimpdx Aficionado (230) Oregon Jan 10, 2012 Subscriber

    Oh yes, will also try for Achouffe and Rulles too if we can align the days and times they are open. We are only in the Ardennes region over the weekend when most are closed :(
     
  27. fyi, de struisse is only open on Saturday.
     
  28. jimpdx

    jimpdx Aficionado (230) Oregon Jan 10, 2012 Subscriber

    Thanks for the reminder. I guess we will have to settle for De Struisse Beer Shop in Brugge, or have it on tap in a local cafe. I really want to get to Fantome Saturday - anyone know the opening hours? My notes just say Saturday. I bought the Tim Webb book which is a good guide which convinced me not to visit Westmalle or Chimay, but it does not specify best days or times to visit, unless I am looking in the wrong place. Also any tips on visiting Rulles on a weekend?
     
  29. For Fantome I think it's open the entire weekend (if my french is good ;) )

    Rulles is only open on Saturday from 9am till 12 am.