Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 2: Brussels -Belgium

After 11 hours sleep I was up for the start of my beer drinking journey on Belgium, and had just had brekkie and gone for a quick lap around the block the hostel was on, when as soon as I was about to walk back through the front door, who should arrive but Jaimi (perfect timing). Straight away we dropped off his gear and went for a walk into the centre of town. We did a lap of the streets surrounding Grand Place and got to catch on things as we went. I had to control myself going past bottlo’s and pubs and even the set up of tents in Grand Place, and we were able to get into the area without security coming after us to get a pic of us in front of the Trappist tent.

We then went and had lunch (ok, so not traditional Belgium, but we felt like pizza. I went the 4 cheeses) then back to the hostel for a kip so we would be right for the night. We arrived back at the square just before 6 and grabbed a chocolate covered waffle each, then got in line to get our tokens so we could start drinking. After 30 mins we finally got into the drinking area, only to see it had been full of people since 4pm (industry types) and all of the Westvlerten was gone already, so went for the two trappist that were on tap, the Westmalle Dubbel and Chimay Triple. The triple had a decent caramel fruity smell and the alcohol does kick in early as the flavour of the beer is not able to contain the alcohol taste in it. There is a late hope aftertaste that lingers and with bubblegum on midpalate. The Westmalle Dubbel was my first beer in Belgium (as I remember with dark malt flavour and dark bubblegum with alc tht hits later as you swallow but does not linger), then we moved onto the Achel Blond and Achel Bruin (fairly similar with more alcohol present in taste), Chimay Blauw (similar dark beer to Westmalle), Orval (more citrus notes and one Jaimi preferred with its lighter flavouring and alcohol), then when we found the rochefort was gone, another Westmalle dubbel with a Westmalle Triple. So ended on a couple of Leffe Blonde’s on the way home and crashed after midnight. At times the drinking area was pretty packed out and was hard to get beer and bring it back to an area where we could drink in comfort. Jaimi had his beer spilled once, but I was lucky not to waste a single drop the whole night. On our first beers we got talking to some Swedish folk who distribute Belgium beers in their homeland. They had just had 4 days traveling Belgium and said the best place they went to was Rochefort (yes, my beer-dar still works). I asked them about beers that are booming in Sweden and they said the amercian IPA’s, and I gave them a spiel on Moo Brew, their vintage stout and how disappointed I am with mainstream beers still being the big sellers in Oz (yes, it will take time…). After them we were chatting to a couple from England (near Birmingham), before finding this American couple from Detroit. Was soon very impressed as found Alison was the one who had really wanted to come to the festival, at which time a asked if I could kill Scott so she could marry me.

Scott was already in the bad books with us, as it seemed he got one of the last Rochefort’s of the night, making us have to miss out til the morning when we also need to get the Westvlerten. So we took a photo of him with his wife’s handbag. They also didn’t get to try the Westvlerten, so we may be able to meet up with them again at 11, when the drinking starts again. I have only managed about 4 hours sleep (woken up by some late night revelers and was to excited about drinking more Belgium beers today to go back to sleep), so could be a harder day, but happy not to have jet lag or feeling doughy after the first drinkingday. Jaimi is still in bed at 9:30, but will storm the room soon to get things rolling so we get to the tents in time.

Here is to better luck today


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