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Saturday, 29 May 2010

Bruges, Belgium (Part Two)

View of a Bruges canal
For the last 20 years I have been going to Belgium for a four day break with a group of friends. This year we have just returned from Bruges, a fabulous place with a large medieval town at it's centre. It's famous for lace-making, chocolate-making and, like all of (making and drinking).
There are some bars that carry hundreds of beers and they always serve each one in it's own special glass.

The Markt, Bruges on Market day (top) and Bruges Zot
The local brew produced at the Halve Maan (Half Moon) brewery is a 6% fruity, spiced blonde beer of character called Bruges Zot. You can see it being made during hourly tours of the brewery although they only brew about two weeks of every month.
Trappist monks have been brewing for hundreds of years as a part of their need to be self-sufficient. In times of cholera they could survive on beer because of its nutritious qualities when water was too dangerous to drink.
Nowaday a genuine 'Trappist' beer is made in one of the seven trappist abbeys. 'Abbey' beer is made in the trappist style.
Two great beer-cafes in Bruges are De Garre and Herberg Vlissinghe, which claims to be the oldest continually run pub in the world. Cheers!
A beer bar since 1515!


klahanie said...

Hello bazza,
Bazza of Bruges. No doubt you had a terrific time in that beautiful little city.
You have come up with some fascinating facts. I wonder how much beer cost in Herberg Vlissinghe in 1515? I wouldn't know. I'm not that old:-)
I once went out with a 6% fruity spiced blonde lady. But that's another story..
Take care and welcome back..

bazza said...

Gary: Hmmmm....Bazza of Bruges - I like it! I did have a terrific time thanks.
Isn't it sad when a beer is more likely to make one salivate than a fruity blonde? Maybe I've passed my sell-by date.

Mr. Stupid said...

A Bar since 1515? That's amazing. The Bruges Canal looks great. Glad you had a good time.
Have a good day!:)

David said...

Dear bazza,
When I think of Bruges I always tend to think of the film "In Bruges", with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. So, for me, Bruges always conjours up images of hit men in need of redemption, slightly racist, drugged up dwarves and fat Americans (it's a geat film!). It's nice to know, though, that it has a brighter side, to do with beer and chocolate!
Glad you had a good time and thanks for, once again, such an informative post.
Yours with Very Best Wishes,

bazza said...

Mr Stupid: Everything in the centre of Bruges is very old or a recent replica. The city is surrounded by and riddled with canals and the whole place is charming.
Thanks for your good wishes.

David: I have been told that the film is excellent but I have not seen it yet. From the tourist perspective Bruges is very friendly and full of charm. As I am sure you will be aware, any location can be made to appear to be any kind of place on film. Perhaps there is a criminal underbelly which I have not seen!

Joanne Fox said...

I went to Bruges a few times when I was visiting a friend who worked in Brussels. I loved Bruges and your pics brought back great memories, thanks. Also Ghent is very nice, and less touristy than Bruges.

bazza said...

Hello Joanne: Yes, I like Ghent too. Also Antwerp is similar to Ghent but is surrounded by a larger city. In fact I rather like the whole of Flanders!

Bob said...

I'm amazed that some bars serve hundreds of beers and that each has its own special glass.

I read somewhere that Catholic countries tend to drink wine and Protestant countries tend to drink beer.

I last went to Bruges in my teens and can't remember anything about it now. I guess it's time I thought about revisiting it.

Thanks for the account of your trip Bazza. It must be fun going with friends that you know so well.

bazza said...

Bob: There are places in Bruges offering up to 400 beers.
The glasses aren't just the right shape but have the makers logo on them as well. A frothy beer tends to use a tulip-glass to keep the froth. The Trappist beers use wide necked bowl-type glasses to give the drinker smell and taste at the same time and wheat-beers like Hoegarden use thicker glasses to keep them well chilled etc, etc.
I believe Belgium is a roughly equal mix of Catholic & Protestant.

joanne said...

The first photo in your post just knocked me out. What a picturesque area, and then on top of that such a huge variety of beer... and chocolate ... and sharing time with friends. Who could ask for more than that?

(I'd love to see the lace-making too).

Kelly said...

Ver, very cool. I loved every shot you took of Bruges. The ancient buildings and their reflections on the water and the brewery shots, as well. It's hard to imagine a pub still existing from 1515. I wish we had beers like the ones you described/have pictured in America. I love foreign beer. I've had authentic Japanese beer and German beer before and loved it.

bazza said...

Joanne: Quite right - that's why we keep going back. I think you can see lace being made at certain exhibitions and folk-art museums but in the tourist area they are more interested in selling it... and it's expensive!
I think my companions had a greater interest in seeing beer being made.

Kelly: Although I did take plenty of good pictures I must admit these are equivalents I found on the net because I have had trouble uploading pictures from my computer. Blogger only seems to offer the option of using pictures from a URL, my blog or by signing up to Picassa.
I particularly like Japanese Asahi Black beer but you don't find it in many places in the UK.

Mimi Lenox said...

Cheers to you, my friend!

bazza said...

Mimi: Schol! (That's Flemish, that is)