2016 Antwerp and the Trappist

Thursday 6 October 2016

It being a TM organised trip, the journey was by train, leaving Aldershot at 6.02 to catch the 8.55 Eurostar out of St Pancras and the 12.20 from Brussels to arrive at Antwerp at 13.06. The journey went smoothly but the short walk to our hotel went past a recommended bar and, the group needing some liquid refreshment, we diverted. 

 

Bar

Location

Code

Bier Central

De Keyserlei 25, Antwerp

B-2018

Comment

This large beer café is on the main drag from the central station to the old city. This comfortable bar was not overly busy this afternoon and we settled near the entrance for a calming drink. With 20 beers on draught and a bottled list of 300+ it was just the place to start.

And PC did start on his A-Z of Belgium beers. Good luck with that!

Brewer

Beer

%

T

 

Comment

De Proefbrouwerij

Viven Porter

7

X

B

Black, burnt and lovely

Abbaye de la Ramee

Ramee Blonde

6.8

X

B

Hoppy and slightly floral

Bras. de la Senne

Stouterik

4.5

X

B

‘The Brussels Stout’; unfiltered

             

 

Eventually we headed off to our nearby hotel. Unfortunately, they were digging up the main ring road (to put the tram lines underground) and there were many obstacles on the way to the Hotel Colombus (Frankrijklei 4 B-2000) but we managed it and booked in.

After depositing the bags and a quick wash, we headed to Bolivarplaats on Tram 12 and our first brewery. PV managed to find the seat on the tram on which some nice person had pissed themselves.

 

Bar

Location

Code

Huisbrouwerij ‘t Pakhuis

Vlaamsekaai 76, Antwerp

B-2000

Comment

This large concrete edifice had a micro-brewery at the front and a bar at the back. Brewery tours are available and at least 3 went through during our visit. The seating was basic and rather uncomfortable but the food was reasonable and very welcome. The first two beers were pretty average but the chocolate stout was overly burnt and had excessive chocolate.

Brewer

Beer

%

T

 

Comment

‘t Pakhuis

Antwerps Blond

4.9

X

D

Light and refreshing

‘t Pakhuis

Antwerps Bruin

4.6

X

D

Brown & mild; just up FN’s street

‘t Pakhuis

Den Zwarte Sinjoor

6.7

X

B

Not that good

             

 

When in Antwerp you must visit Kulminator, so we did.

 

Bar

Location

Code

Bierhuis Kulminator

Vleminckveld 32-34, Antwerp

B-2000

Comment

I was almost impossible to get into the bar – most of the floor space was occupied by beer crates and boxes of beer mats. So we headed up the two steps onto TM’s mezzanine to find some seating. Not much available but a friendly Spaniard and his four female companions welcomed us to share their table.

After a couple of beers (never again will we let FN choose anything apart from his own) PV embarked upon a Hopfest – all the Duval Triple Hop beers use Saaz and Styrian Goldings with a different hop added to the mix each year. There was very little taste difference between the two tried.

Brewer

Beer

%

T

 

Comment

Lupulus

Hopera

6

X

B

Dry hopped

De Hoorn

Jack the RIPA

8

X

D

Bloody awful

Duvel

Triple Hop 2016

9.5

X

B

HBC291 from the Yakima Valley, USA

Duvel

Triple Hop 2013

9.5

X

B

Sorachi Ace 

             

 

Then back to the hotel after a nice easy start to the trip.

 

 

Friday 7 October 2016

New day and time for the first Trappist brewery of the trip, La Trappe, located near Tilburg in Holland. The journey as explained by DB (SNCB got it entirely wrong) was 10.45 depart Antwerp, 11.20 arrive Roosendaal and change for 12.08 to Tilburg, arriving 12.20. Then it was merely a ride on bus 141 to the monastery at Berkel-Enschot.

 

Bar

Location

Code

La Trappe

Eindhovenseweg 3, Berkel-Enschot

5056

Comment

Brewing only started in this Dutch Trappist in 1991 and this is reflected in the modern tap located in the monastery grounds. All very eco friendly - the roof of the Proeflokaal (tasting room) was made of straw. We enjoyed a beef stew along with the beers. The Blond was the one enjoyed most by PV.

All the beers were available in draft and bottle or to take away from the brewery shop.

Brewer

Beer

%

T

 

Comment

La Trappe

Puur

4.7

X

D

Dry, light and slightly floral

La Trappe

Witte Trappist

5.5

X

D

Easy going wheat beer; Saphir hops

La Trappe

Blond

6.5

X

D

Slightly sweet, soft bitterness, malty

La Trappe

Dubbel

7

X

D

Rich and fruity 

La Trappe

Tripel

8

T

D

Slightly sweet with a dry aftertaste

La Trappe

Quadrupal

10

T

D

Sweet but very smooth 

             

 

After a visit to the shop there was a wait for the bus back to Tilburg – fortunately there was a shelter of some sort to hide behind as the liquid consumption took its course. The journey back was a reciprocal of the travel there and we arrived back in Antwerp at 17.40.

 

Bar

Location

Code

Bier Central

De Keyserlei 25, Antwerp

B-2018

Comment

We were a bit thirsty after the journey and it is on the way back to the hotel, we thought we might as well. The two Buffalo beers are top fermented so it is not surprising they taste like English beers.

Brewer

Beer

%

T

 

Comment

Van Den Bossche

Buffalo Belgian Stout

9

X

B

Very like an English stout

Van Den Bossche

Buffalo Bitter Ale

8.5

X

B

Very like an English bitter

               

 

After a quick wash and brush up it was back onto the mean streets and a short walk.

 

Bar

Location

Code

Beerlovers Bar

Rotterdamstraat 105, Antwerp

B-2060

Comment

This modern bar caters for the ‘craft beer’ lovers of Antwerp. It is owned and run by Ben Floren who is not only very keen on drinking beer, but also very knowledgeable about it. There were only a few punters in when we arrived and these soon left, leaving Ben to cater to the highest average aged party seen in his bar. The place did pick up later.

There were a couple of English beers available but we steered clear of home products.

Mikkeller is a Danish gypsy (cuckoo) brewery and the beer tried here was brewed at De Proefbrouwerij, Lochristi, Belgium. The Brewfist/ To Øl collaboration is between Italy and Denmark while the Cabardouche ‘Stout Mokke’ (‘Naughty Girl’) is another gypsy and brewed by Brouwerij Anders!

Brewer

Beer

%

T

 

Comment

Mikkeller

Deception Session

5

X

D

Excellent hoppy beer

Du Brabant

Amirillo Mon Amour

7

X

D

Sharp citrus taste

Brewfist/ To Øl

Space Frontier

6.5

X

D

IPA with grapefruit notes per Ben

Dupont

Saison Cuvee

6.5

X

B

Dry hopped with Brewers Gold 

Cabardouche

Stout Mokke

9

X

B

Stout indeed.

             

 

Then it was time to check out the dodgy late night kebab shop before retiring to bed.

Saturday 8 October 2016

Another day, another Trappist brewery, this time Westmalle. The 410 (destination Turnhout) from the main bus station in Antwerp takes you along N12 to the monastery just outside the town of Westmalle. The café building is on the opposite side of the main road to the monastery buildings, which themselves are some way from the road.

 

Bar

Location

Code

Café Trappisten

Antwerpsesteenweg 487, Westmalle

B-2390

Comment

The monks have followed the trend of other Trappist beer producers and provided a modern, smart and comfortable bar to try their products. There is ample parking for cars and bikes with the electric versions of both provided with charging points. The café was very light and airy and the service very good. Most tried the soup to wash down the beers which, on the whole, were better than the previous day’s monk’s offerings.

The ‘Extra’ is brewed twice a year for the monks and is only available from the Abbey café.

Brewer

Beer

%

T

 

Comment

Westmalle

Extra

4.8

X

D

Light and refreshing

Westmalle

Dubbel

7

X

D

Dark reddish brown; smooth & tasty

Westmalle

Tripel

9.5

X

B

Pale, smooth; too easily drinkable

Westmalle

Half & half

8.7

X

 

Interesting blend of Dubbel & Tripel

               

 

After the café there was time for a walk down to the Abbey before the bus back. Fortunately the drive was tree lined and provided ample bladder relief cover. Still, as the bus journey to Antwerp would take an hour TM had built in a transit break at Wijnegem.

 

Bar

Location

Code

Volkscafe de Vroege Morgen

Turnhoutsebaan 268, Wijnegem

B-2110

Comment

The rather rustic but comfortable ‘peoples café’ was open but as there was a private event starting at 17.00 we would have to be on our way by then. The owner, Sven, was busy setting up for the party but managed to keep us supplied with beer. Other party organisers arrived as eventually did the guests, but nobody seemed to mind the English party seated at the front of the café. As time went on it became apparent the party was in aid of a local charity and after negotiation a €50 donation secured Sven’s T-shirt, a poster and cards – as they say, been there, done it and Mike’s brother’s got the T-shirt. Seemed we had blended in with the crowd, particularly with the fully charged up mums among them. A very pleasant visit.

On the beer front, Sven informed us Maredsous had been taken over by Moortgat who were buying up many small breweries; the difference to many such takeovers being they keep the purchased brewery in production and inject cash to upgrade the plant etc. The Verstraete beer was brewed by Deca.

Brewer

Beer

%

T

I

Comment

Maredsous

10 Tripel

10

X

D

Sweet, malty with a touch of caramel

Pirlot

Mokke Blond

6.5

X

B

Tart and bitter

Verstraete

Papegaei

8

X

B

Unfiltered; citrus taste 

               

 

As Wijnegem is the terminus for the No.5, we took the tram back into Antwerp. However, this time we managed to avoid Bier Central and instead headed for the University quarter.

 

Bar

Location

Code

Afspanning t’Waagstuk

Stadswaag 20, Antwerp

B-2000

Comment

We had been to this multi roomed eclectic bar before and enjoyed the nubile service. Multiple misfortunes then struck – Lucy was no longer about, Peter, the new owner, had broken his leg and consequently could not prepare any food! No wonder the place was quiet; apart from the beer tasting session being run by the previous owner. In the end there was some food – barbeque sausage in baguettes for the meat eaters and some heated up vegetable lasagna for those who don’t. The purchase of the Duvel Triple Hop Selection did not go down well with some punters so PV decided to throw a wobbly and resign from beer choice duty.

Brewer

Beer

%

T

 

Comment

Chimay

Blauw (Blue)

8

X

D

Limited edition on draught

Scheldebrouwerij

Hop Ruiter

8.5

X

D

Dry hopped with American hops

Duvel

Triple Hop

9.5

X

B

Selection; Nr1 2007 Amarillo 

 

 

 

 

 

                 Nr3 2013 Sorachi Ace

 

 

 

 

 

                 Nr4 2014 Mosaic

 

 

 

 

 

                 Nr5 2015 Equinox

 

 

 

 

 

                 Nr6 2016 HBC291

Van Steenberge

t’Waagstuk

10

X

D

Very smooth

De Proef

Zeppelin

9

X

B

Had landed; dark chocolate

               

 

Some then took a taxi back to the hotel as FN’s hip as playing up (but he and MG still managed another beer before retiring).

 

Sunday 9 October 2016

TM with support from PC really rated the Het Anker and so it was all off to Mechelen on the 10.48 (don’t be late). Exiting the station, the rolling advertising screen, seemed to indicate there was a beer festival on in the town – why hadn’t our leader mentioned this? The brewery is some 2 miles from the station and too far for FN’s hip, so 4 took a taxi while the rest walked.

 

Bar

Location

Code

Brouwerij Het Anker

Guido Gezellelaan 49, Mechelen

B-2800

Comment

This is a large brewery with a separate smart modern tap/restaurant on the main road. The tap was already busy with families out for Sunday lunch so there was no chance of Mengo getting a table inside, let alone a meal. Never-mind, the brewery was hosting the limited edition bottle range of the Mechelen Bier Festival in a tent in the courtyard. And limited would be one word to describe the 8 beers still available. Rubbish would be another word.

Normal beer festival rules applied; small 25cl tasters obtained in exchange for jetons.

Brewer

Beer

%

T

 

Comment

Gaverhopke

Redenaar

6.5

X

T

Almost drinkable

Het Anker

Cuvee Van de Keizer

8.5

X

T

Blauw 2000 version is like treacle

Het Anker

Indulgence Cuvee

9.8

X

T

Sauvage; Blond blended with lambic 

Bossche

Buffalo Grand Cru

9

X

T

Chewable

               

 

It would have been a mistake not to venture to the Grote Markt and sample the main festival. FN heroically agreed to walk.

 

Bar

Location

Code

Mechelen Bier Festival

Grote Markt, Mechelen

 

Comment

The festival was set up in the market square next to the cathedral. There were some 30 beer tents forming the festival boundary with food stalls and bench seating in the middle. The festival was quiet when we arrived and there was plenty of seating available; it was very pleasant sitting in the sun eating some street food washed down with a few beers. The full title of the Hedonis beer is Excuse me while I kiss my Stout.

Brewer

Beer

%

T

 

Comment

Anders!

Thorberg Five Hop

6.5

X

T

Belgium IPA

Danny

Steynemolen

7

X

T

Belgium IPA with Nelson Sauvin hops

Anders!

Anglium Extra Hop

6.5

X

T

Excellent hoppy beer

Anders/Fisser

Flierefluiter Hop Hop

5.8

X

T

Nice hoppy IPA

Anders!

De Winning 7PK

7

X

T

PK=Horse power because 5% oats 

John Martin

Waterloo Strong Dark

8

X

T

Stout by any other name

Hedonis

Excuse Me..Kiss My..

6.2

X

T

Excellent stout

Anders/BOM

Triporteur Special R..

9

X

T

Medium Toast; experimental Roast

Stallhagen

Baltic Porter

7

X

T

Finish brewery; Winning black lager

             

 

Apparently the train journey back to Antwerp was a bit of a pain but can’t really remember why?

 

Bar

Location

Code

Paters Vaetje

Blauwmoezelstraat 1, Antwerp

B2000

Comment

This small bar next to the Cathedral brought a sense of déjà vu – it was the bar we visited last time in Antwerp before heading to Kulminator. This time we settled inside and tried their food while listening to some good music, The Sounds of Silence by Disturbed was particularly enjoyed. Focus was a close second. And for the first time this trip we finished with a Jenever.

Brewer

Beer

%

T

I

Comment

Duvel

Vedett IPA

5.5

X

B

IPA

D’Achouffe

Houblon Tripel IPA

9

X

B

IPA, again

Het Anker

Hopsinjoor

8

X

B

Hoppy enough

Jenever

Bols Jonge

34

X

 

Young balls for the boys

               

 

Sunday 10 October 2016

Of course, on the way back to the station is………………

 

Bar

Location

Code

Bier Central

de Keyserlei 25, Antwerp

B-2018

Comment

Called in for lunch before heading home.

 

 

Brewer

Beer

%

T

I

Comment

De La Senne

Tarras Boulba

4.5

X

B

Extra hoppy

             

 

Then back to the trains, arriving St Pancras at 18.06 and home by 20.00 to rest!