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Belgium Planning trip to Brussels from Portland in November

Discussion in 'Europe' started by box_social, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. box_social

    box_social Savant (405) Oregon Mar 6, 2013 Verified

    hey all, i'm fairly new to BA, but stoked to be going to Belgium in five months! I'll be going with my non-BA friend, planning on staying in Brussels and making a few day trips to see castles and abbeys, get Westy, etc etc. I've got a good idea of where to go and what to see thanks to the search function, and i wouldn't mind meeting up with a few BAs out there for a bottle share or some trades (looking for Armand'4, Armand and Tommy, Framboos, Blaber, Fou Foune, etc - nothing too surprising haha.) Coming from Portland, i'll most likely be bringing a bunch of stuff from here and Oregon/California like Deschutes, Boneyard, Russian River, Block 15, Crux, Commons, Logsdon, and the like. The trip is a bit far out, but it never hurts to start laying groundwork. Any and all recommendations welcome!
  2. box_social

    box_social Savant (405) Oregon Mar 6, 2013 Verified

    finally got my trip details sorted out and will be arriving 11/23 and leaving 11/28. i'll be staying at the Sandton Brussels Centre hotel the entire time and taking day trips to Brugge, Antwerp, and Amsterdam. I won't be getting a rental car and plan on taking trains and other transit to some of the easier places to visit. I'm still open to a bottle share or some trades, not exactly looking for bottles of the ridiculous stuff i listed above as i plan on relaxing instead of bottle hunting and enjoying some nice vintage stuff in a few pubs. If anyone wants to set anything up, feel free to send a BM.
  3. There's a chap on here called Dennoman - he'll sort you out on BlabAer !
    atomeyes and Dennoman like this.
  4. trevorjk

    trevorjk Savant (330) Netherlands Aug 28, 2009

    ha. Dennoman will be glad to tell you about blabaer :p

    Also, when you come up to Amsterdam Ill meet up with you for a beer. Could trade you some Westy 12 as well if you are interested.
    Dennoman likes this.
  5. Dennoman

    Dennoman Advocate (505) Belgium Aug 20, 2011

    -stretches the rant muscles-
    Padraig likes this.
  6. box_social

    box_social Savant (405) Oregon Mar 6, 2013 Verified

    Yeah I'd love to meet up and have a beer with some locals! I have friends with a bunch of Westy 8/12 with some years on em, so I'm ok on that. I have to ration the space I have for taking bottles back and Westy didn't make the cut. I'm really just hoping to get things I can't get in the US but not expecting any walez or rarities. I'd be happy if I can get a bottle of some LPs, maybe 50E and Fou Foune if they are still available or any 3F geuzes, along with any non-lambic beers that I come across. I'm really wanting to try a bunch of different local Belgian styles that may just be "shelf beer" but is really solid and definitive. My Belgian beer palate is very young so i'm hoping to gain a stronger appreciation during my time there.
  7. trevorjk

    trevorjk Savant (330) Netherlands Aug 28, 2009

    Fair enough, I'd still be willing to get a beer :) Also, when you are in the Netherlands, i could show you some awesome local breweries :)
    box_social likes this.
  8. box_social

    box_social Savant (405) Oregon Mar 6, 2013 Verified

    turns out the Cannabis Cup will be going on when i first arrive. what kind of atmosphere does that generate? is it a big loud party or just a bunch of tourists looking for pot? i'm debating on whether to go to Amsterdam that Sunday when it's still going on or Tuesday after it's all over.
  9. trevorjk

    trevorjk Savant (330) Netherlands Aug 28, 2009

    i will ask my friend. He might be able to give me information. Most likely it is just a bunch of tourist looking for weed. Unless of course you pay for a pass to get in.
  10. box_social

    box_social Savant (405) Oregon Mar 6, 2013 Verified

    hey all, getting a little closer to my trip and i've got a nice small itinerary in the works, looking something like this:

    Saturday: arrive in Brussels in AM, visit 3F, local stuff, possible bottle share?
    Sunday: possible early trip to Brugge or Antwerp, back to Brussels to catch a Union Saint-Gilloise match
    Monday: Brussels all day, Cantillon, Moeder Lambic and other beer spots to split vintage bottles, tourist misc
    Tuesday: day trip to Amsterdam, back to Brussels
    Wednesday: Brussels all day, museums and other tourist stuff, beer
    Thursday: depart in AM

    i've talked to a few people about IP trades, i should have the upcoming bottles of HotD Matt and Otto, Block 15 Brewer's Brunch Blend and hopefully Golden Canary and Figgy Pudding, upcoming batch of RR FFaC, most upcoming SARA bottles, along with any interesting upcoming releases (hoping for Fantasia and Peche n Brett to be out before i leave)

    aside from IP trades, i'd still be down to crack open a few bottles with the locals or split some vintage bottles somewhere in town.
  11. i have some extra bottles of Blabaer, mate. Denomen gave them to me.
    if he falls through, let me know.

    trying to get some hard to find stuff, like Banquet Beer
    bushycook likes this.
  12. Just returned from Belgium yesterday(9/22). Visited Cantillon and Moeder Lambic on Saturday. Seems as though your timing may be right on in November as Cantillon will be releasing their more popular brews in the coming weeks. Right now they've got a lot of great product bottled and stacked that is right in your face during the self-guided tour, but it's currently unavailable for purchase (so maddening). Just try to pay no attention to all the dusty hidden gems you'll see as well. Some Lou Pepe, Vigneronne and 50N-4E for consumption on premise only right now.

    Moeder Lambic is a busy spot and certainly worth the visit. Downstairs @ Delirium, too, but go early. Delices et Capirices just up from Delirium was closed on Saturday but I understand you really gotta' hit it. Beer Mania, too, for retail.

    Bruges ? It's an amazing place and you'll soon hate yourself for spending so much time in Brussels. Hate - Your - Self !!!
    Anywho, start @ Café Rouge Red then walk back to Cambrinus which is close to De Struise Beer Shop(Th-Sat), De Garre' and The Bottle Shop. If more time, shop at Bierpaleis (Caractere Rouge for 7.5 Euro ! I snagged two). Should you stay later, find De Kelk - a cool Beer Geek's spot next to Bierboom. Chat them up, they know beer and they're partiers.

    Don't forget: When you leave the states save plenty of room for the trip back in your checked bags. Dress warm and have a blast.

    box_social likes this.

  13. Bruges: De Kelk is amazing, especially if you like Struise beer. Cambrinus is a rip-off, but hey, bottles of Westy 8 on the menu. but total tourist trap.

    Moeder Lambic is so very great. i had no reason to go Delirium. i loved the vibe at the newer ML.
    for food, eat at http://www.ratebeer.com/p/nuetnigenough-brussels/15910/ . In a touristy area, but who cares? Bottles of Fantome saison and amazing Belgian food.

    Anyone who slags Brussels just doesn't get it. really cool city. a poor man's Berlin. you have to walk around and get the vibe and the area and the food. lots once you walk away from the Grote Markt. Bruges is what it is. some guys like the really pretty girl who's all done up, and others like the gritty, fun girl.
    box_social and DimensionX like this.
  14. DimensionX

    DimensionX Savant (335) Oregon Oct 1, 2010

    Bruges is amazing but a day trip is enough, there is basically no nightlife.
    Agree about Cambrinus but as an American I have a hard time knocking a place that has a selection of Gueze to choose from, food is not great.
    Ghent is pretty Amazing, probably my favorite town in Belgium but no real beer highlights
    box_social likes this.

  15. exactly.
    if your focus is beer, then the order of preference:


    If your preference is beauty, the order is


    If your preference is coolness, then:

    Antwerp tied w/Ghent

    the rest
    Boozecamel, box_social and DimensionX like this.
  16. box_social

    box_social Savant (405) Oregon Mar 6, 2013 Verified

    thanks for the input, all. looks like i won't be doing any IP trades, but i'm down to bring some Block 15/HotD/etc goodies if a few parties are interested in a bottle share.
  17. Heretic42

    Heretic42 Advocate (535) Texas Aug 31, 2011 Verified

    I really liked Cambrinus for food (+ decent beer selection) in Bruges, so I'm curious what else you'd recommend
  18. DimensionX

    DimensionX Savant (335) Oregon Oct 1, 2010

    Honestly we didn't find a ton of good food in Belgium other than the frites and waffles. Probably the best (and most expensive) place we ate was in Ghent at a rather nice restaurant along the river in an old white building that had about a million Euros worth of work done to it, not sure on the name.

    In Brussels we ate at a cool little place called Restobieres that was pretty good with a decent beer selection.

    If you want good food go to Italy, if you want good beer go the Belgium.
  19. Vanlingleipa

    Vanlingleipa Savant (475) California May 19, 2011 Verified

    Agree. Saw a lot of overpriced spaghetti dinners for 20 euro (one exception in Bruges was the Brasserie Medard which serves a hefty plate of spaghetti under a mountain of cheese for the ridiculously low price of four (4) euro. Unfortunately, you have to be assertive to get the servers to recognize you).

    Mostly ate at a chain of bakery stands in the train stations serving tasty sandwiches on rolls for 3-4 euros. Some stations also have beer vending machines selling cans of Jupiter. Yum!

  20. Bruges is a tourist trap, so if you want great food, you have to go away from the centre of the old town. not sure if we had any memorable meals in bruges, but i've been told that there are some good places.

    Ghent: there are some very good restos. there's a vegetarian restaurant near the red light district that is great. the turkish or moroccan food is also great.

    Brussels has EXCELLENT food. again, avoid most of the touristy areas. i forget the actual street name, but it is the square just off of St Catherine and not that far from the Grande Place. It has a few great places.

    Brussels is the type of city where you have to dig to discover all of its gems. what you see on the surface is not the true Brussels - as opposed to Bruges, which is what it is.
  21. Your probably talking about " de beenhouwersstraat " , rue de bouchers in Brussels ,
    That is indeed a touristtrap !
  22. od_sf

    od_sf Savant (430) California Nov 2, 2010

    Belgium is known for amazing food, you just need to do some research and not walk into the first tourist trap you come across.
    verbalessence and Tut like this.

  23. Yeah the food at DHVL is rubbish !

    Italy is great for pasta and shit but there's no good beer to speak of !
  24. DimensionX, I could weep for shame, and I apologize for your bad food experience. There’s excellent grub all around, even in the touristy neighborhoods. Never need need to fall back on spaghetti (although there is a big Italian population in Brussels, both immigrant and expat, so plenty of their good cooking, not involving spaghetti).

    beerpirates, it sounds like atomeyes is referring to Place St. Catherine itself on either end of the church, or else the quais on the side of the church along the former canal. It still gets a lot of tourist traffic there, but also a place where people from all over Brussels go to dinner, so plenty of options. La Villette is probably the beer hunter’s choice, not for wide selection but a few goodies that pair well with the excellent old-school cuisine belge. Plenty of other ways to go, though. Rue des Bouchers is avoidable but even there, locals (with expense accounts) wouldn’t sneer at a dinner at Aux Armes de Bruxelles and l’Ogenblik. There’s plenty of other good dining in pockets of the center. Conversation for another day/forum.
  25. Tut

    Tut Savant (460) New York Sep 23, 2004

    Belgium has excellent food and many places that specialize in beer cuisine. It's too bad you didn't know where to go. Your experience doesn't reflect what's available there.

    It's Jupiler, BTW, and it's Belgian Budweiser. "Yum!" ???
  26. yeah. missed this total headscratcher.
    Jupiler in cans is a shame because you spent a lot of $ on water.

    and italian in Belgium? um, French, i understand. but Dutch food's delicious. other than eating Middle Eastern food in Belgium, which makes sense due to the population that lives there now, this would be one of the strangest food discussions i've read.
  27. By Middle Eastern you might be thinking of Moroccan and Turkish (we'll give you partial credit). But Italian is the biggest European ethnic population in Belgium and is probably more represented on the dining scene. (To be clear, if the menu has spaghetti bolognese, ham and cheese or four cheese, it's not what I'm referring to as "Italian." Then again, if the strongest positive remark in this thread is about *Dutch* food, then this really IS a strange discussion!) Anyway. box_social, if you have questions in this regard (beer cuisine, other good Belgian food, other good food, other non-good food...).
    roblund likes this.
  28. DimensionX

    DimensionX Savant (335) Oregon Oct 1, 2010

    haha didn't mean to start an international incident here! Sorry about that:eek:

    Obviously my statements were a vast simplification of the true possibilities of Belgian cuisine, in truth we had many good meals and the overall quality was very satisfactory.

    But lets be honest here, the food in Italy is pretty incredible;)
    doopiedoopiedoo likes this.
  29. Vanlingleipa

    Vanlingleipa Savant (475) California May 19, 2011 Verified

    After one too many misleading posts, I have finally gotten my lazy ass in gear and created a new macro.


    Short tale of the rail: saw a factory worker in Mechelen purchase five or six Julipers from the beer machine and stuff them in his overcoat before boarding the train. He noticed me ogling him and laughed. Whatever makes your commute easier, I guess.
    doopiedoopiedoo likes this.
  30. trevorjk

    trevorjk Savant (330) Netherlands Aug 28, 2009

    I have had the best steaks in my life in Belgium. They dont mess around when you say rare(which I like) The pub across from De Struise served the best Drunken Mussels that I have ever had. And a small "tourist trap" restaurant gave me the best leg of lamb I have ever had. All of those meals, probably never would have happened unless a local resident didnt tell me where to go. Pro Tip: Ask the locals. They are usually willing to help :)
  31. shnsajax

    shnsajax Savant (435) Idaho Jul 2, 2013 Verified

    The steak I had in Watou with Abt 12 sauce was awesome.

    Brouwerij 't IJ was a great tour in Amsterdam.
  32. box_social

    box_social Savant (405) Oregon Mar 6, 2013 Verified

    two weeks. very very excited.