Boak & Bailey's Belgian binge

We’re off to Brussels for a long weekend in a couple of days. We’ve been a couple of times before but this time we’ll be armed with laptop and camera for instant blogging.

We’re putting together some plans for what we’re going to try but wondered whether any of you had suggestions for how to navigate the enormous universe of Belgian beers. Are there any beers you think we should definitely “try before we die”? How about some themes for beer crawls (perhaps a geuze night, or a night on beers less than 5%…) Or are there some amazing beers you’ve never tried that you want us to attempt to track down and review? We like a challenge…

We’ve found that Belgian Beers is a useful place to start – as well as reviews of Belgian beers, one by one, Andreea lists breweries and bars. Nice photos too.

We’ll be based in Brussels but plan to do some day trips. We have three complete days, and possibly an extra night depending on how late we get in on Thursday.

Any ideas?

4 replies on “Boak & Bailey's Belgian binge”

I’m heading that way myself next month and one of the things I’ll be looking out for is the availability of the Westvleteren beers. I’ve had them in Belgium before, but hadn’t realised that every single person who sells you one is breaking an oath to the Almighty’s disciples not to resell. Is there any sort of moral code among the tavern-keepers, or is it just “Have a beer and **** the monks”?

Yes, we were wondering if a trip to the brewery is feasible. We think not, not without a car. The more I read about the monks, the more fascinating it gets. I love their homepage which puts the brewery fairly low down in the ranking.

Is it wrong to suggest the whole exclusivity thing is a very good marketing exercise?

PS – really liked your article on beer in Norway. I’ve included the link here for everyone else’s benefit.

Seems to me that touring the trappist breweries is the sort of thing you need a car for. Nevertheless I like the idea of just going to Chimay to say “Hooray, I’m in Chimay”, or going to Rochefort to say “Hooray, I’m in Rochefort”, even though there is bugger-all of interest in either town (I actually did this in Erding – a very clean, quiet Bavarian commuter town). Chimay and Rochefort both have railway stations.

I have considered that the Westvleteren guys are being cynical, but there’s something in the fact that they’re a) Belgian and b) monks that suggests to me that they’re serious. The whole phone up, give us your car reg, show up at a specified time and only get one type of beer rigmarole does not suggest a business on the make to me. Plus this is Belgium, where no amount of clever marketing will make people buy a sub-par beer.

Glad you liked the Norway schtick and I hope someone finds it useful: when you’re paying those prices you want to keep trial-and-error to a minimum.

ha! that sounds like a lot of fun. there are some beer festivals going on (one close to wavre, 30min from brussels) where you could get by train. i’ve posted on all of them on the google calendar. other than that let me know if you need last minute tips – we’ll be in brussels with visitors of our own so help could be on hand. so looking forward to your beer reviews – i have been lagging behind on mine …

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