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Belgium Another tourist heading to Belgium

Discussion in 'Europe' started by DimensionX, Mar 19, 2013.

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  1. DimensionX

    DimensionX Initiate (0) Oct 1, 2010 Oregon

    I will be in Belgium from May 1st through May 5th, traveling with 2 friends and driving a rental car, Lille France will be our start and end destination. Unlike some of the other incredibly informed and well researched BAs out there this is more of a seat of the pants operation and has been in the active planning stage for about 17 hours... in other words sorry for the same old boring questions.

    Any advice or tips would be very welcome, beer is the focus of this trip but we would also like to experience other aspects of Belgian culture and history.

    Any Brewery tours not to be missed? Of course Cantillion is a must see but do you have any other favorites? We've seen plenty of breweries so it would need to be something pretty special, otherwise a visit to the tasting room will do. Favorite hotels or restaurants? Tours? Bottle shops?

    Extremely rough itinerary -
    May 1-2nd - Should we spend 2 days in Bruges or Brussels?
    't Brugs Beertje
    Bierbrasserie Cambrinus
    De garre
    De Bistronoom

    May 3 - Brussels
    Cantillion brewery tour and bottle shop
    possibly De Heeren
    Musee Royaux des Beaux-Arts or other attractions

    May 4 - head southeast to Luxembourg area
    possibly hit 3 Fonteinen on the way out of town
    stop by Fantôme Brewery

    May 5th
    Orval Brewery tour? any good?
    Bouillon castle tour?
    back to Lille - need to return car by 8pm.
    possibly the Hops Cafe or La Capsule before catching the train back to Paris.

    Other possibilities would be to skip the south and hang out in Antwerp for a day
    Tiliquin - hard to find much info

    Only a month away, I can't wait! I had better start prepping my liver for action, gonna be a busy 5 days:slight_smile:
  2. BelgianBeerPope

    BelgianBeerPope Initiate (99) Aug 10, 2012 Belgium

    It depends ... Are you looking to stay in a medieval city, choose Bruges ... If you like more the buzz of a capital city, choose Brussels ! They both are great to visit and have a nice selection of pubs.

    In Bruges you can visit brewery 'De Halve Maan', it's easy accesible and they do regular tours, in Brussels you have Cantillon ! For other breweries, inform yourself proparly as they don't do regular tours, mostly only for groups of min. 10.

    If you want an inside view on the monks, Orval is the only trappist brewery which cater some kind of tour so if you're interested, I would take the opportunity.

    There are many POI in Belgium but it all depends on your personal interest, is it only the beer or do you have other interests like art, medieval, WWII, ...

  3. DimensionX

    DimensionX Initiate (0) Oct 1, 2010 Oregon

    Well as an American I've got stick with medieval, it can be hard to find rocks that are that old around here.

    thanks for the tip on De Halve Maan, I have not heard of that brewery. Glad to hear that Orval has a good tour, it would be nice to visit at least one Trappist brewery. I'm still conferring with my friends so the itinerary could change depending on what everybody else feels like.

    I have a feeling that our interest in the classic tourist attractions will vary depending on the levels of our collective hangovers.

    thanks for the tips!
  4. DStoked

    DStoked Aspirant (257) Sep 28, 2011 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    You're just missing me! I'm going with a buddy May 8-15. Have fun and leave some beer for us!
  5. CoverMePorkins

    CoverMePorkins Initiate (0) Sep 17, 2012 Delaware
    Beer Trader

    If you are going to be close to Luxembourg country in SE Belgium go to this bottle shop. http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/16548

    If you like lambics and other hard to find euor craft beers this is a great shop. It is also home to Chris of the famed JeanChris line of beers.
  6. DimensionX

    DimensionX Initiate (0) Oct 1, 2010 Oregon

    Nice! That place looks great and we might be staying in Arlon.

    It is also looking like we will stay for a day in Ghent instead of 2 in Bruges. Any tips on Ghent?
  7. trevorjk

    trevorjk Initiate (0) Aug 28, 2009 Netherlands
    Beer Trader

    May 4th there is the Zeebra Extreme Beer Fest in the south west of The Netherlands. I think its only a few threads down if you are interested :wink: I'll be there.

    As for Ghent and Brugges. Tell me the days you will be there, and i just might stop by... if the wife allows haha. I plan on being in Portland this June when i back in the states... so if im not able to meet up in Belgium this time, maybe in Oregon this summer :slight_smile:
  8. trevorjk

    trevorjk Initiate (0) Aug 28, 2009 Netherlands
    Beer Trader

    Also, if you are going to the south east of belgium towards luxembourg. I recommend stopping at Brasserie Du Bocq. Was by far the best tour i have ever been on. Small, and very personal. And a free glass of one of the best wheat beers you will ever have in Blanche De Nemur :wink:
  9. tendermorsel

    tendermorsel Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2006 Massachusetts

    I am of the strong opinion that it is better to do more nights in one city that to do one night in multiple cities. Be careful. Don't spread yourself too thin. You won't and can't do everything on one 5 day trip. Bouncing from city to city you end up traveling more than actually seeing the city and experiencing the culture. You can always go back after all and you probably will. Belgium is a wonderful place. I honestly can't stay away at this point:slight_smile:

    I would choose Brugge Ghent or Antwerp over Brussels. Not the biggest fan of Brussels with the exception of the Lambic of course.

    Good looking out on De Bistronoom. Awesome awesome place. Especially for the food.
  10. Bierman9

    Bierman9 Poo-Bah (4,283) Dec 20, 2001 New Hampshire
    Beer Trader

    Yes, the time spent packing, unpacking, moving, etc really takes a toll on a traveller... I parked in Maastricht for 6 nights last year and made my way around to Tilburg, Amsterdam, Bastogne.... Had to fit in some WWII stuff, you know? ;-)

  11. DimensionX

    DimensionX Initiate (0) Oct 1, 2010 Oregon

    It is looking like we will be in Bruges May 1st and Ghent on the second, would be great to meet up for a beer or three. Otherwise definitely hit me up when you make it out to Portland, this is a great beer town. Unfortunately it doesn't look good for the Zebra festival.

    My friend already booked hotels so it looks like we will be moving around every day, I'm hoping it won't be too bad as the drives should all be short. Or we could just wear the same clothes every day to save on packing/unpacking time:wink:
    tendermorsel likes this.
  12. bartjebeergeek

    bartjebeergeek Initiate (0) Nov 5, 2012 Belgium

    i can show you the way in bruges...if you whant
    Michigan, DimensionX and Brabander like this.
  13. Brabander

    Brabander Initiate (0) Oct 10, 2009 Netherlands

    And trust me when i say that Bart knows his way in Brugge. Beergeek avant la lettre!

    Michigan likes this.
  14. jazzyjeff13

    jazzyjeff13 Poo-Bah (3,102) Nov 6, 2010 United Kingdom (England)

    I'm surprised that it hasn't been mentioned, but seeing as you have a car you could consider heading towards Westvleteren and trying to grab one of the most famous trappist brews. Not a crate but some bottles from the cafe.....

    Could be doable when you're in Bruges or the day you leave.
  15. belvedere86

    belvedere86 Initiate (188) Apr 1, 2013 Belgium
    Beer Trader

    if you stay in Bruges the brewery from De Dolle Brouwers, Bockor and Bavik aren't that far away! (+-40min, dolle brouwers might be closer)
    DimensionX likes this.
  16. DimensionX

    DimensionX Initiate (0) Oct 1, 2010 Oregon

    Actually I'm not a huge Westy fan, I like it but wouldn't go out of my way to pick some up. That being said I will probably pick some up.

    ohh Dolle Brouwers would be incredible but looks like they are only doing tours on the weekends and I will be there mid week. I will have to settle with getting some from the bottle shops. :grinning:
  17. jazzyjeff13

    jazzyjeff13 Poo-Bah (3,102) Nov 6, 2010 United Kingdom (England)

    Fair enough, although de Struise are also there. But having said that, they have a nice bottle shop in Bruges so there's probably no need to go rushing around the countryside looking for them.....

    Hope you have a good trip :slight_smile:
  18. DimensionX

    DimensionX Initiate (0) Oct 1, 2010 Oregon

    Wow just returned from Belgium, we had an incredible time, truely an amazing place. Somewhat surprisingly the beer wasn't really the highlight of the trip.

    Anyway more details when I have time.
  19. DimensionX

    DimensionX Initiate (0) Oct 1, 2010 Oregon

    Some quick notes for a couple people that have pm'd me

    De bistrnoon is closed.

    Brugge is fascinating and beautiful but kind of a weird time capsule and completely packed with elderly folks. We stayed at the hostel in town and it was great with a fun bar but bring earplugs and a pillow if you plan on sleeping.
    Cambrinus has great beer list and meh food and atmosphere.
    The tower tour is amazing.

    I liked Ghent the best and could have stayed longer. It is a real city with amazing midevil architecture (and a castle) in the middle of town. We found good beer and decent food pretty easily. I also found a record store that was having a fire sale! But I digress...
    Go to Ghent.

    Brussels is insane. I'm glad I saw it and I was glad to leave. We did find a cool bar called... ? Rookem or something? Has a horse head logo and djs playing good music.
    Cantillion tour was amazing. Dropped more euros.

    Stopped by 3f tasting room and dropped some euros. Stepping out of the car and one sniff is all it takes to recognize lambic country. The sent us to a bar in Dworp right down the road for a great beer or 3. De Zwan I think. Highly recommended. Hansens is in dworp as well but they were closed. Well worth it. And there is a castle.

    Stopped by Fantome and had a great saison in their backyard. The Belgian countryside is incredibly beautiful.
    Had a great time, people were great and they even speak English in the north(bonus).

    What I learned is that it is easy to find a good beer in Belgium but relatively difficult to find a great one, again relatively speaking. So while there were some great beer highlights beer wasn't really the highlight of the trip.

    All I e got for now, time for dinner in Torino.

    DStoked and trevorjk like this.
  20. Shankopotamus

    Shankopotamus Initiate (0) Mar 7, 2011 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    "Cantillion tour was amazing. Dropped more euros."

    Was 50n4e still available for purchase to go? I will be there a week from tomorrow...
  21. DimensionX

    DimensionX Initiate (0) Oct 1, 2010 Oregon

    Disaster just struck.

    I was forced to leave a bottle of Cantillion kriek at the airport due to kilogram issues.
    I will get over it.
    In time.
  22. DStoked

    DStoked Aspirant (257) Sep 28, 2011 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    Dude, I left a bottle of Lamvinus there yesterday for the same reason. Heartbreaking.
  23. DStoked

    DStoked Aspirant (257) Sep 28, 2011 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    As of Friday, yes, but you kind of have to finesse it. Definitely buy a couple bottles for each bottle of 50N you want. They also clearly had crates upon crates of LP Kriek sitting there, but told us they were sold out. They definitely do whatever the hell they want, so you have to play your cards right.
  24. DimensionX

    DimensionX Initiate (0) Oct 1, 2010 Oregon

    Ouch. I ended up giving my bottle to a guy outside changing ad signs outside the airport. He seemed genuinely excited about it so it made me feel a little better about the whole thing, it isn't every day that somebody hands you a free bottle of amazing beer while you are at work at 7am.
  25. bostonbeans

    bostonbeans Initiate (171) Apr 19, 2012 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    I already told my wife that we're buying an extra suitecase if we have too... She is ok with that which means I'll be waiting by the airport for guys who need to get rid of amazing beers.
  26. riko

    riko Aspirant (208) Jan 18, 2008 California
    Beer Trader

    We were there a week ago Friday, too. The crates were full of LP Framboise. If only you'd asked for that :wink:
  27. DStoked

    DStoked Aspirant (257) Sep 28, 2011 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    Yeah, got 2 of those. There were crates upon crates of LP Kriek that they wouldn't sell.
  28. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,222) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    So you know for a fact those crates were not already sold and waiting for pick up or shipping? How did you find that out? Just asked?
  29. Duffman929

    Duffman929 Aspirant (279) Nov 27, 2010 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    They have signs up saying what they have and what is sold out for most bottles. The LP Fram wasn't up yet, as it was still coming out. You can still buy a bottle of LP Kriek to drink there, but the sign for take away said sold out.
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