A beer drinker’s holiday

Attention beer drinkers. Specifically, Belgian beer drinkers. More specifically, lambic style beer drinkers. This may be a post for you.

Ms. S&C recently took 10 days to spend some time in London, Belgium (Bruges and Brussels), and Amsterdam. When you’re on a holiday such as this one, it’s hard not to visit a pub or a beer bar *at least* once a day. Ms. S&C would argue it’s one of the best ways to settle into a new city, get to know a neighborhood and just get off your feet for a bit. And when visiting these cities in particular, the most interesting — and perhaps the most refreshing — thing to order is beer.

In London, you’re gonna order a pint and you’re gonna order something on draft. Or, there may be a time or two when you order a half pint and that half pint may be cider. Either way, cheers!

In Belgium, ordering beer can be intimidating. Even the smallest of beer bars will have a hundred or more beers to choose from. Ms. S&C stuck mostly with lambic style beers. They’re funky and earthy, and sour, and sometimes with a touch of sweetness. They’re complex. And despite my choice of adjectives to describe them, they’re really, really good.

Here’s an almost complete list of what two beer drinkers can drink in three short days in Belgium (in order of appearance):

  • De Ranke XX Bitter
  • 3 Drei Fonteineri Oude Gueze
  • Girardin Gueze (black label)
  • Girardin Kriek
  • Boom Mariage Parfait
  • Cantillon Gueze
  • Moinette Blonde
  • Brugse Zot
  • Rochefort 6
  • Saison Dupont
  • Troublette
  • Duchesse de Bourgogne
  • Hanssens Artisanal Oude Gueze
  • De Garre Triple (on tap)
  • Gulden Draak (on tap)
  • Petrus Gouden Triple
  • Duvel (triple hop)
  • Cuvee De Ranke
  • Saison de Dottignies De Ranke
  • Cantillon Faro
  • Cantillon Lambic (on tap)
  • Cantillon Kriek (on hand pump)
  • De Rank Gulden Berg
  • Houblon Chouffee
  • Boon Oude Gueze
  • Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus
  • Oerbier

When visiting a new city, one may ask: how do you know where to go? Sometimes you can rely on just popping into the nearest place when your legs are too tired to take you any further. But much of the time, you can benefit from a little research beforehand. For instance, Tim Webb’s Good Beer Guide to Belgium is worth the purchase. Rick Steves is a pretty reliable source too (he also recommended our favorite bar: t’Brugs Beertje in his travel guide). A few spots Ms. S&C would like to find herself drinking a beer again:

  • The Lamb and the Fog (London)
  • Lounge Bohemian (London, cocktails)
  • The Rake (London)
  • The Jugged Hare (London)
  • t’Brugs Beertje (Bruges)
  • De Garre (Bruges)
  • Poatersgat (Bruges)
  • Chez Moeder Lambic (Brussels)

When in Amsterdam, after seven days on the road, you might want to chill out, have a smoothie and stick with a beer you know. Amstel, particularly Amstel Light, has always been a personal go to. But, it’s also a city when you may just want to sit back at a coffeehouse overlooking a canal, drink some mint tea and watch the bicycles go by.

posted by Ms. S&C

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