Keeping it real … Real Ale
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside… Ok Ostend is the first part of my 5 day Belgian trip. It’s been a busy month or two with both our works and both having a great wedding each to go to on the Saturday we thought a day and a bit laying on a beach somewhere would be good. So why not have a good beer in hand while doing so… Ostend is kind of like the Southend of the Belgium Rivera. The city on the sea boasts a pretty huge beach and had pretty good sand quality no stoney Brighton beach here! Just under an hour and half from Brussels to the seaside resort of Ostend offers those laid back Belgians sunny retreats. The town has a good amount of shops which are open all week and enough fish restaurants to shake a Kipper at! You can get a better beer selection then you could on Southend seafront in any of the bars Ostend have to offer but I am going to look at a couple of places worthy of a good shout out from me to go visit when you ain’t sunbathing on the beach!
This English style pub stocks one of the biggest beer menus I have ever seen (literally the menu is massive and has a stick attached to it!!) 12 beers on tap and around 300 or more bottled beers! My Mum and Dad recommended this one and have stayed in their hotel many a time (wish we had but the less said about our hotel the better!) it also has a restaurant next door. The decor of this place was great lots of old English beer posters and road signs saying how long it was to certain breweries. We had hopus, Ostend’s own Keyte triple and dubbel triple, Bush and Urthel Hop-it among a few others! You can also sample all the beers on tap in 15cl glasses which the table next to us purchased.
I have to say it’s weird seeing Guinness on at a bar under the special section but I guess its fairly rare to see on tap in Belgium!!!
T’Koelschip Beer shop
Little bit past Ostend casino you will find T’Koelschip Bottled beer shop. A great beer shop with a huge and very reasonably priced beer selection with a huge stack of Westvleteren Trappist beers outside (which you can buy for 7-9 euros the cheapest I have seen it) with simple stacked shelves in this two level shop of bottles glasses and beer signs.
Well worth a visit to pick up some goodies to take home, I picked up a bottle of kettle triple and Cuvee Jean Homme with reviews to come soon…
Lafayette Music Bar
If you didn’t know Marvin Gaye spent time in Ostend then you must have had your fingers in your ears recently as I have seen two documentaries and several newspaper articles in the last month about it! So there was always going to be a moment that I see Marvin somewhere! For those who don’t know during his darker times he really hit rock bottom with his sex and drug addiction so Marvin was sent to Belgium (the home of beer and legal prostitution????!!!) to sort himself out! In this time he did get back on track a little bit and in doing so wrote and recorded the world famous and career saving ‘sexual healing’ but as most know unfortunately Marvin Gaye’s demons was never fully cured in Ostend and his life was tragically ended too soon. A thought that is impossible not to think while sitting underneath a huge photo of the man himself looking down on you from above the DJ.
Lafayette’s is a lively jazz bar found halfway down the night life road in Ostend and it makes my blog because it has a very impressive bottled beer list of around 30 with dekoninik on tap in the middle of a few famous face beers. The bottled beer list however consists of your usual Belgian beer lists of duvel, la chouffe, Palm, grimbergen etc but flick the list over and you have the full la trape list, westmalle, Rochefort, straffe hendrik quadruple, wolf 9, all the chimays and even Westvleteren at 9 euros!!!! The tunes was great mix of new and old jazz and chill out music which you can nod your head away to while being peacefully watched soon by the great man himself.
I’m not going to pretend Ostend is this huge party central … it isn’t but if you are looking to sleep on a decent beach in the sun and eat some very good seafood while being 15 minutes from Bruges then yeah Ostend has it! It was just what we needed to prep us for the next couple of days traveling….