Keeping it real … Real Ale
Every time I visit Bruges I think I fall in love with it even more! It was so quick to get from our hotel in Ostend that it took 40 minutes to get from one hotel to the other and cost only 4 euro’s per single. We checked into our hotel (hotel Academie which I have to fully recommend to anyone thinking about going to Bruges for its great location and very high standards!) around 10 am and Bruges was incredibly still and tourist free peaceful , a first and probably last moment I shall experience that! So we took full advantage of the empty space and sat down to have some breakfast courtesy of Ostend spar. We actually started the day with being a bit touristy and done a canal tour which I did really enjoy as places such as Bruges and Amsterdam the soul of the city is the canals. We also visited the Historium attraction in markt which was quite fun but maybe not worth the 11 euro’s entry fee. But enough of that let’s get down to business… Bruges cafes, pubs and beers! Other then our last stop (somewhere I will go every time I am in Bruges) we visited all new establishments to us and with 80 beers around Bruges book in hand we visited…
2be (the beer wall)
It is criminal to go to Bruges and not have a look at the beer wall with camera in hand but it is also a great spot to hang out in their outside terrace and wave at all the people on their canal tour. It was around midday and the sun really was shining down on us so with this is mind I ordered and Steen Brugge whit beer which was thirst quenchingly perfect for the moment!
The misses loves her dark beers and went with their brune beer. Attached to the beer wall and the bar is a huge shop with hundreds of beers, cheeses, pate and beer clutter to take up your time looking at which you can also sample in the bar but you can also get a few on tap including kwak, delirium and both Bruges zots among a few others.
Just pull one of their beer menus hanging from the ceiling on elastic string… And don’t be tempted to ping them off into the ceiling!!!
Duvelirium (duvel bar in Historium)
Once you have completed your Historium tour looking at the story of Jan Van Eyck and his famous painting Virgin and child you can sit down and enjoy a nice cold drink with views over markt.
They stock the Moortgat brewery range so you of course have Duvel, La Chouffe, La Chouffe Holboun, Liefmans etc on tap as well as in bottles. If chasing parrots round a 14th century Bruges or following girls into hot baths isn’t your thing then you can skip the Historium tour and head straight to the bar! The misses love for La Chouffe meant there was only one drink she was having and I went with the very British ale like La Chouffe Houlbourn although to be honest it is a little rude not to drink a Duvel in the Duvel bar!
I love something a little different and bitter sweet is something a little different to what is usually on this blog! This cake and sweet shop doesn’t have a huge beer selection like most my reviews, it doesn’t have rare beer on tap or is it full up with beer lovers but what it does have is an owner who is incredibly friendly and one beer! Just the one which I didn’t even see on display anywhere but did get a lovely big smile and chuckle when I ordered it! Phros is something as rare as a sweet shop being on a beer blog, in the 80 beers book it says that bitter sweet like having things no one else does in Bruges and to claim they have a beer no one else has in the oasis of beer in Bruges is something that deserves much credit!
Phros is a sweat caramel tasting beer with very slight sour after taste which is rather fitting to be in a place called bitter sweet! The owner was very interested in our days plan and loved the 80 beers book and I hope like us many using it takes a punt on something different and visit bitter sweet you won’t regret it.
De Verloren hoek
De Verloren Hoek (roughly translates to the lost/forlorn corner) is around a 10 minute walk from markt and well worth it on a hot sunny day like this was. Last time we visited this area we had a drink in the Windmolen cafe which is opposite De Verloren Hoek. The sun was starting to set and it was really nice sitting outside enjoying the last moments of sunshine with lovely views of the windmills on the outskirts of Bruges.
It’s not the beer list that brings you here but you can get both Bruges Zots on tap and also a small but heavy hitting Trappist bottled beer list but it is the food that makes that 10 minute walk out of town all worth it. Home cooked meals at very reasonable prices, the menu isn’t huge but it doesn’t need to be because the quality is so good.
I had a Flemish beef stew cooked in Bruges Zot and the misses enjoyed meatballs cooked in a thick tomatoes sauce accompanied by a big bowl of chips costing 13 and 14 euros each, well worth the money for the size too I was stuffed and had to tap out before the chip bowl was empty!
Poatersgat (Monks hole)
I was disappointed I wasn’t able to visit this place first time we visited Bruges but good things comes to those that wait! You’re taken back by the great cellar room you enter when you first enter poatersgat and we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves! Very dark only candle light in the monks hole which all adds to the atmosphere. Fair few beers on tap but the bottle list is massive! Unfortunately it wasn’t fully stocked as the first two beers we picked out of the list lucky dip style wasn’t available but on the bright side of that we got to talk to the friendly bar staff and he made some good recommendations. In all we tried De Ranke Saison De Dottignios, Gouden Carolus Triple, Saxo and Troubodour Obscura which ended up being one of our favourite beers of the trip. Although it was empty other then us and the slightly crazy/drunk old Belgian who was talking to us about James Bond I have been told that it gets pretty busy down in the monks hole on weekends and is popular amongst locals. If in Bruges this is a top 5 place to visit!
Those who haven’t read my post on my first visit to T’Brugsch Bieratelier then click here for an in depth account of this favourite Bruges bar. Returning to T’Brugsch Bieratelier was equally as good and it was as welcoming and friendly as before.
It was also great to say hello to my Belgian beer buddy Elien again who made my first visit so enjoyable. Among us was a steady flow of couples popping in to try the 12 beers on tap which had a few different beers from last time. I was happy to see that the knock out beer Black novice was still available but along this was the new comers of st Bernard 12, Moinette, De Ranke Guldenberg and Bourgogne Des Flanders Brune all of which tasted great! T’Brugsch Bieratelier may not have a bottle selection over 100 like some other of the top Bruges bars and cafes but it’s atmosphere, friendly staff and beers not often seen anywhere else puts it up in the same league as the top bars around Belgium. When booking the hotel I honestly didn’t realise it was so close to T’Brugsch Bieratelier it was in fact only two doors down (a wobbly two minute walk to our room!!) I strongly advise people visit T’Brugsch Bieratelier while in Bruges to sample it’s great beers and lovely smiles and I am sure like me and the other couples commenting in there you will love it too!
Hopefully it won’t be too long till I am next in Bruges and I am already planting the seed of suggestion of a visit to the beer festival in February but till then… Cheers!