Where is The Raccoon?
Where is The Raccoon?
The Best Beer in the World
Westvleteren has been voted the best beer in the world. By … you know … people who do those kinds of things. Westvleteren is a trappist brewery – one of only 6 in Belgium. And though the beer is exteremely popular, the monks haven’t raised the prices or production – they make enough money to live on and to do their good works. Of course, this year part of their abbey became condemned and they’ve started to try to sell a little more.
Anyway, after much research, we found out that we could go and have a beer at their cafe between certain hours. Generally they don’t sell any for you to take off campus, and certainly not to be resold … but we could taste the elixir! We ordered one of each kind that they have – my favorite was the 10.
The cafe itself was pretty nice – we ordered some meet and cheese to go with the beer …
But mostly it was about the beer.
As it turned out, they were selling some beer today. You were allowed up to 6 bottles per person of either the 6 or the 8. We were travelling ryan air, so we couldn’t bring much … but we bought 3 of each kind of beer, and a couple of glasses to keep for ourselves.
For more on Westvleteren: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westvleteren_Brewery#International_reputation
Brugge in the light of Evening
Much like Ghent and Brussels, we were mostly guidebook free … so we just wandered the city and enjoyed the sights.
This chocolate shop was AMAZING. All of the chocolate flavors were crazy – there was onion, and lavender, and mango, and hot pepper, and mint, and all kinds of combinations. We bought an assortment and ate it very very slowly. It was great. I think it’s called The Chocolate Store. It was the most interesting of all of the shops we went into.
It’s a romantic city … no?
(Have you seen that movie? Everyone said I should see it before I went to Bruges … I couldn’t figure out how to see it, so I didn’t. But I hear it’s good.)
Brugge is in northwest Belgium – and it was our last stop. It’s a tiny, but adorable city – and so … I have lots of pictures.
Our first night we picked a restaurant in the old town in Bruges. It turned out to be excellent. After dinner we wandered through the old town admiring the way the buildings looked all lit up.
Views and Fun in Ghent – Belgium
The more I look through our pictures from Ghent, the more I realize that we must have been moving really slowly through the city. But then … that’s not a bad way to see a city like this one.
The only guide book we had was only for beer … and places to drink beer, so I don’t know what most of teh stuff was that we looked at… but I think that didn’t really matter much at the time. Look at this place!!
My first real Lambic was a Cantillon, which is supposed to be a pretty good one. I had always enjoyed lambics previously – but on this trip I learned that most of the lambics we see are sweetened with fruit juices. Traditional lambics are bit of a dirtier endeavor – with the yeasts and dirt clinging to the beer house ceiling ending up in the open vats of beer. Yeah … Anyway, that wasn’t a problem for me as much as how *sour* the drink was. Later I tried some Gueuze, which was similarly sour … but somehow … better. Still quite palate cleansing though – and not ideal for more than one drink, in my opinion.
A Stop in Ghent – Brussels
Ghent was a pit stop on our way between Brussels and Brugges. Ahh the beauty of a road trip – you get to see so much!
Our first stop was for lunch. We had a light lunch with bread, cheese, meats … and a round of beers.
After lunch we wandered around to check out the city a little more … it was a pretty adorable town.
The riverside was one of the most picturesque areas. It was wide open on one side, and with all kinds of neat facades on the other.
We had fun on the riverside posing with our Belgian beer guide tour book. We used this book for recommendations for beer bars as well as restaurants. It is also a rating guide for beer houses and beers. It completely made our trip – we highly recommend it if you’re going to Belgium to try the beer. And if you’re not going to Belgium to try the beer … well, then I can’t help you anyway. :)