596. Oud Beersel Oude Kriek Vieille

596. Oud Beersel Oude Kriek Vieille



I purchased this at Downtown Wine & Spirits along with a bottle of Oude Kriek Boon. I served it at around 50º F in my New Belgium glass.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij Oud Beersel
Alcohol: 6.50%
Serving: Bottle, 375 mL
Style: Fruit Lambic, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (5.0): Pours a cloudy, deep burgundy. It's topped by a fluffy, two-finger, pink head that sticks around as a quarter-inch layer.

Smell (4.0): Sharp acidic tartness, sweet cherries and a mild funkiness, that almost seems to be musty. This is a characteristic of Oud Beersel lambics that I've noticed. Swirling brings out the funkiness, but it's still relatively mild.

Taste (4.0): Sour throughout, but fairly mild. The fact that the sweetness is relatively low helps to accentuate the sourness. There are also sharp cherry flavors that mingle with the sweet flavors. There's a mild medicinal quality in the finish, which has a light pucker as well as some woodiness and a mild earthiness that's accompanied by a low bitterness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Light-bodied, low carbonation, with a mildly dry finish.

Drinkability (4.5): Sourness is present, but isn't overpowering.

Overall (4.25): Milder, but still has some nice lambic qualities.

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Links

595. Viking Light Beer

595. Viking Light Beer



Christian, my friend/labmate, had a layover in Iceland on his way to Germany and brought me back a can of Icelandic beer. This comes in a blue 500 mL can. I served it right out of the fridge in on of my Harpoon IPA glasses.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Viking Brewery
Alcohol: 2.25%
Serving: Can, 500 mL
Style: Light Lager, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (3.5): Pours a crystal clear, light golden with a two-finger, fluffy, white head that fades to a heterogeneous film leaving patchy lace.

Smell (2.0): Light sweet malts and a light graininess.

Taste (2.0): Lightly sweet upfront, almost flavorless in the center, with some grain and an almost imperceptible bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel (2.5): Light-bodied and watery with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability (3.0): Decently drinkable until it starts to warm.

Overall (2.45): I said it for High Life Light and I'll say it for this, I've had better and I've had worse. I think this is a little better than high life light.

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594. Oude Kriek Boon

594. Oude Kriek Boon



I haven't been terribly impressed with the Boon lambics that I've had in the US, I don't have notes on the Gueuze, so perhaps I'll revisit that soon. I find the Kriek and Framboise to be overly sweet.

I remember reading about Brouwerij Boon in The Brewmaster's Table. Garrett Oliver spoke highly of the Boon Mariage Parfait lambics. So when I saw Boon Oude Geuze Mariage Parfait at Moeder Lambic in Brussels I jumped at the chance to try it, and was very impressed. I saw the Oude Kriek at several bars in Belgium, but I never tried it, and assumed that I wouldn't get another chance to unless I worked out a trade or returned to Europe. I was surprised to see it on the shelves when I stopped by Downtown Wine & Spirits Thursday night, so I grabbed a bottle, undeterred by the $10.45 price tag.

This comes in a corked and caged green 375 mL bottle. With a burgundy label that says "Oude Kriek Boon." The back of the bottle has an awesome Best before date of 12/22/2025. The back also has this blurb:
Boon Oude Kriek is 100% spontaneously fermented, aged in oak barrels and made with a minimum of 300 grams of real cherries per liter. A delicious, full flavored, and traditional lambic experience!
I had this beer last night and served it in my New Belgium glass at around 50º F.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij Boon
Alcohol: 6.50%
Serving: Bottle, 375 mL
Style: Fruit Lambic, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (5.0): Pours a very cloudy, deep burgundy. It's topped by a thick, fizzy, pink head that fades quickly to a very persistent quarter-inch layer.

Smell (4.5): When sitting the dominant aromas are a sharp tart aroma along with cherries, and a mild, earthy funkiness that increases when the dregs are poured in. Swirling really brings out the funkiness, making woody and wet wool aromas evident.

Taste (4.0): The first flavor to hit the palate is a sweet cherry fruitiness. An acidic sourness quickly becomes dominant and remains so to the finish, though it never completely overshadows the sweet fruitiness. The finish is sour with woody and earthy flavors. Very nice, though the sourness could have been a little stronger.

Mouthfeel (4.5): Medium-bodied, thicker feeling than most other lambics. Though it does have the characteristic low carbonation and strong dryness in the finish.

Drinkability (4.0): Sour, but balanced well by the sweetness. Nice crisp dryness.

Overall (4.35): A very nice fruit lambic. I wish it weren't so expensive. At this price it's cheaper per ounce to buy a Cantillon.

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593. Scott's Ranch

On the morning of Thursday the 21st I rented a car and drove to my friend Scott's mom's house on the north side of San Antonio. Our friend Eric arrived shortly after I did and we packed up Scott's truck for our trip out to Scott's ranch near Junction, TX. We stopped by an HEB and bought some beer. Scott and Eric picked up two 18-packs of High Life Light, and two cans of Foster's. I picked up a six-pack of New Belgium 1554 and a 750 of Chimay Blue.

The drive out was pretty uneventful. We stopped at a country story near the ranch to by some deer feed, we also bought some homemade beef jerky.

When we arrived we spread some deer feed at one spot and then had some target practice with a revolver that Scott brought. After returning to the cabin we had some chicken salad sandwiches that Scott's mom had made for us, and we sat around drinking beer until five or so when we started the campfire. After we got the campfire started we drank more beer and then made hot dogs and smores after it was dark. We walked away from the cabin and campfire to look at the stars. The difference between what's visible at the ranch and in the city is amazing. We hung around the fire until midnight or so and then went to bed.

The next morning we woke up at around eleven. We started the campfire again, put a pot of coffee on the embers, and made breakfast smores. We then moved a deer feeder from one part of the ranch to another. We left the ranch at around 2:30 to drive back to San Antonio.

We stayed at Scott's mom's house in San Antonio on Friday night. She made delicious fratellis (I think that's what they're called) for dinner and then we watched Bad Santa before getting in the hot tub.


View from the cabin


Target practice


Scott's dog Belle


Sunset


Campfire


Eric and Scott


Stars

593. Miller High Life Light

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Miller Brewing Co. / SABMiller
Alcohol: 4.50%
Serving: Can, 12 oz.
Style: Light Lager, BJCP Style Guide

I just drank these out of the can, so I don't have full notes. Overall this was a pretty standard light beer. There was mild sweetness and some light grainy bitterness. It was watery with not a lot of flavor, but for the trip this wasn't bad to have. I've had better light beers and I've had worse

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592. Cricket's Visit #2

The night my aunt's family arrived in town I took my younger cousins (15 and 18) to Cricket's, where we met up with Win, Jordan and Bethany. We played shuffleboard and pool for awhile. I spent some time determining which beers on the menu I hadn't had, but in the end only had two new ones because my cousins wanted to call it an early night since they'd been up since 4 AM PST.

592. Hacker-Pschorr Münchner Dunkel


Beer Stats:
Brewery: Hacker-Pschorr Bräu GmbH
Alcohol: 5.00%
Serving: Tap
Style: Munich Dunkel Lager, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a clear, ruby-brown with a dense, one-finger, beige head that fades to a patchy film.

Smell (3.5): Caramel, dark fruit and a light roastiness.

Taste (3.5): Some nondescript sweet malts, hints of caramel, light fruitiness and moderate roasty bitterness.

Mouthfeel (3.0): Watery with low carbonation.

Drinkability (3.5): Easy enough to drink.

Overall (3.55)

I also had a Red Hook IPA, which I was more impressed with than when I had it at The Muddy this summer.

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588-591. Cricket's Visit #1

Needing to get out of the black hole of entertainment that is my grandparents' house, I headed to Cricket's for some beer on Monday the 18th. When I arrived I called Win and Jordan. Jordan arrived first and we played darts for an hour or so. Win arrived later, after we had moved to a table on the balcony.

I started off with the always tasty Live Oak Hefe before moving on to new beers.

588. New Belgium Saison Harvest Ale


Beer Stats:
Brewery: New Belgium Brewing
Alcohol: 6.50%
Serving: Tap
Style: Saison, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a clear copper with a thick off-white head that fades to a film leaving patchy lace.

Smell (3.5): There's a light Belgian yeast fruitiness, bananas are particularly evident. There are some hints of grain as well as some peppery spice.

Taste (3.5): Some toasty malts and sweet fruitiness. The finish is peppery with some citric tartness and a low but lasting bitterness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Medium-bodied, high carbonation.

Drinkability (4.0): Tasty, but I was hoping for a bit more.

Overall (3.7)

589. 60 Minute IPA

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Alcohol: 6.00%
Serving: Tap
Style: American IPA, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a clear, copper color with a thick off-white head that thins to a patchy film.

Smell (4.5): Some light, toasty malts and some floral and grassy hops.

Taste (4.5): Toasty malts upfront followed by some sweet caramel. The finish is a strong grassy hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation with a touch of oiliness.

Drinkability (5.0): Sessionable as hell.

Overall (4.4)

590. Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest-Märzen


Beer Stats:
Brewery: Hacker-Pschorr Bräu GmbH
Alcohol: 5.80%
Serving: Tap
Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a clear amber with an off-white head that thins to a film.

Smell (4.5): Rich and malty with lots of caramel and toffee and a little bit of a tart fruitiness.

Taste (4.0): Some light toasty malts that meld with sweet caramel and toffee flavors. There's a very light bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Medium to full-bodied and creamy with low carbonation.

Drinkability (4.0): Nice, but a little rich.

Overall (4.1)

288. Live Oak Liberation

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Live Oak Brewery
Alcohol: 6.00%
Serving: Tap
Style: American IPA, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Very lightly hazy copper with an off-white head that thins to a patchy film.

Smell (5.0): A bit of toasty malts, but the aroma is dominated by a wonderful citrusy and grapefruity hop aroma.

Taste (4.0): Toasty upfront with some light citric sweetness and tartness, followed by a bit of peppery spice. The finish is a nice grapefruit and grassy hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Medium-bodied, low carbonation with a smooth oiliness.

Drinkability (4.5): Nicely balanced with a great grapefruit character.

Overall (4.25)

591. Münchner Kindl Weissbier

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Staatliches Hofbräuhaus
Alcohol: 5.10%
Serving: Tap
Style: Hefe Weizen, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.5): Pours a cloudy, straw golden with a white head that fades to a patchy layer.

Smell (4.5): Bananas, citrus, bubble-gum, cloves and a light graininess.

Taste (4.0): The taste is much like the smell. There are strong bananas, light bubblegum, cloves and a light graininess in the finish.

Mouthfeel (4.5): Medium-bodied, low carbonation

Drinkability (5.0): Tasty and very easy to drink.

Overall (4.35)

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584-587. The Flying Saucer

I flew into Dallas on Friday the 15th and stayed at my sister's apartment Friday night. We went to the Flying Saucer in Addison with two of her friends, none of whom are into beer. I was able to successfully recommend some quality beers that my sister and her friends liked (Lindemans Framboise, Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse and Chimay Grande Réserve).

584. Foret


Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brasserie Dupont sprl
Alcohol: 7.50%
Serving: Bottle, 11.2 oz.
Style: Saison, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a hazy, amber-golden with a thick white head.

Smell (4.0): Sweet malt and fruit aromas are dominant, there are notes of raw sugar and citrus. There's also a little alcoholic spice and a hint of earthiness.

Taste (4.5): High carbonation upfront masks initial flavors, but the initial flavors are sweet, but quickly become lemony and tart. The finish is grassy with a nice light, but lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): High carbonation, light-bodied with a mild dryness.

Drinkability (4.0): Tasty and balanced with a nice bitterness.

Overall (4.2)

585. Sierra Nevada Porter


Beer Stats:
Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Alcohol: 5.60%
Serving: Bottle, 12 oz.
Style: American Porter, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.5): Pours a dark black with ruby tints. A one-inch, creamy, brown head tops the beer, but fades to a film leaving patchy lace.

Smell (4.5): Roasty with a bit of fruitiness, nice chocolate aromas.

Taste (4.5): A little bit of tart fruitiness, chocolate, roasted bitterness and juicy hops.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Medium-bodied, high carbonation, creamy.

Drinkability (5.0): Delicious.

Overall (4.5)

586. Dogtown Pale Ale

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Lagunitas Brewing Company
Alcohol: ?
Serving: Bottle, 12 oz.
Style: American Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a clear copper with a fluffy, one-inch, off-white head that thins to a film leaving patchy lace.

Smell (4.0): Hops dominate the aroma, predominantly grapefruit/citrus. There are some malty caramel notes.

Taste (4.0): Toasty malts, high citric tartness, with a nice grassy and citric hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel (3.5): Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation, some hop oiliness.

Drinkability (4.0): Definitely tasty and sessionable.

Overall (3.95)

587. Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout


Beer Stats:
Brewery: North Coast Brewing Co.
Alcohol: 9.00%
Serving: Bottle, 12 oz.
Style: Russian Imperial Stout, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (5.0): Black as night with a thick, creamy, brown head that retains as a quarter-inch layer leaving patchy lace.

Smell (4.5): Strong roasted aromas of chocolate and coffee as well as some hops.

Taste (5.0): There are nice flavors of chocolate throughout, as well as some tart fruitiness. The finish is roasted with notes of coffee as well as some hops.

Mouthfeel (5.0): Full-bodied and creamy with low to moderate carbonation.

Drinkability (4.0): It's a high alcohol RIS, but I definitely wanted more when I finished the bottle.

Overall (4.8)

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583. Flemish Primitive Wild Ale (Surly Bird)

583. Flemish Primitive Wild Ale (Surly Bird)



I purchased a 750 mL bottle of this at Downtown Wine & Spirits and served it in one of my Duvel tulip glasses. There are several different labels, all with Flemish Primitive artwork, I'm not sure if these are different beers or not.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: De Proefbrouwerij
Alcohol: 9.00%
Serving: Bottle, 750 mL
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (5.0): The cork hit the ceiling when I opened the bottle. Since the yeast is a compact layer on the bottom of the bottle this pours a brilliant, clear golden. The thick, white head fades slowly leaving patches of thick lace.

Smell (4.5): Medicinal phenols, Brett aromas, as well as some nice fruitiness, especially sour apples.

Taste (4.5): Fruitiness upfront including bananas, sour apples, which are present through the center before they meet a peppery and alcoholic spice. The finish is very strong on the Brett. There's some phenolic character as well as a nice persistent bitterness.

Mouthfeel (4.5): Light-bodied, high carbonation with some warming alcohol and a dry finish.

Drinkability (5.0): Crisp and very flavorful.

Overall (4.65): Very interesting. Fruity with a good dose of Brett.

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Dinner at Cambridge Common

I had dinner at Cambridge Common on the 8th. I had two pints of this with dinner.

582. Berkshire Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale


Beer Stats:
Brewery: Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
Alcohol: 5.30%
Serving: Tap
Style: American Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a lightly hazy copper with a thin head that fades to a ring.

Smell (4.0): Some light maltiness, toasty with a bit of raw sugar, and some leafy hops.

Taste (4.0): Toasty malts that move into mild sweetness. The finish has a nice hop bitterness with some spiciness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): High carbonation, light to medium-bodied.

Drinkability (4.5): Balanced, a great session beer.

Overall (4.05)

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A few Fridays ago I went to the CBC to have dinner and some beer.

120. Charles River Porter


Beer Stats:
Brewery: Cambridge Brewing Company
Alcohol: 5.90%
Serving: Tap
Style: American Porter, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours an opaque black with a thin beige head.

Smell (4.0): Roasted coffee and chocolate in the nose.

Taste (4.5): There's a nice roasted bitterness that dominates. There's also some dark fruit sweetness and a mild sourness. The aftertaste is roasted and hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel (4): Medium-bodied with mild carbonation.

Drinkability (4.5): Nice and roasty and very drinkable.

Overall (4.25)

581. Pisser Mauvais

I had two or three glasses of this. From the website:
Inspired by the famous Mannekin Pis, Brussels’ fountain statue of a young boy urinating. The name translates very loosely as “Wicked Pissah.” Brewed in Autumn, 2004, this black beer was aged in oak barrels which previously held the funky-yet-famous Benevolence. Fermentation ensued spontaneously in the barrel from the various wild yeast and other organisms residing in the porous wood, and after fermentation it rested for twenty-four months. Following this extended quiescence, the beer was racked and blended, conditioned, and chilled for your pleasure today. The nose features an obvious lactic tartness, notes of hay and horse blankets, and an underlying maltiness with hints of chocolate and burnt oak (in a good way). The palate has a nascent sharp sourness leading to flavors reminiscent of a lambic beer, finishing dry with plenty of oak and a clean roasty finale. Initially challenging, this beer becomes quite accessible, and opens up considerably as it warms in the glass.
Beer Stats:
Brewery: Cambridge Brewing Company
Alcohol: 7.00%
Serving: Tap
Style: American Wild Ale

Appearance (4.0): Pours an opaque brown-black with a two-finger, brown head that fades to a film leaving patchy lace.

Smell (4.5): Lambic-like tart aroma, medicinal phenols and a mild earthiness.

Taste (5.0): Tart with a light cherry like sweetness, though the tartness is still eveident. There's a medicinal character with a light, woody roastiness that contributes character, but not bitterness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Medium-bodied. Low but prickly carbonation.

Drinkability (4.5): A delicious sour ale.

Overall (4.55)

122. Great Pumpkin Ale

I'm not ashamed to say that I like pumpkin ales to be sweeter, rather than balanced and to have spicing that really reminds me of a pumpkin pie. CBC's Great Pumpkin Ale fits the bill.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Cambridge Brewing Company
Alcohol: 4.20%
Serving: Tap
Style: Pumpkin Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a clear amber with a thin head that fades to a ring.

Smell (4.5): Very strong aromas of pumpkin with secondary nutmeg and cinnamon aromas.

Taste (4.5): Sweet pumpkins upfront, with nutmeg and cinnamon spices. The finish is lightly bitter.

Mouthfeel (4.5): Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation, smooth.

Drinkability (4.0): Sweet, but not overly so, though my opinions on the style may differ from others.

Overall (4.35): A great pumpkin ale!

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Belgium 2006, Overview

I've finally finished posting everything from our Belgium trip. Everything has the Belgium 2006 tag. I've listed the posts below in chronological order.

Brussels
Day One: Flight; Grand Place; Manneken Pis
Day One: Brasserie Cantillon
Day One: Delirium Café
Day One: Dinner, Moeder Lambic
Day Two: Poechenellekelder, Mort Subite, Ploegmans
Day Two: Warm Water, Delirium Café, Absinthe
Antwerp
Day Three: Arrival in Antwerp, De Berenbak, Sightseeing, Oud Arsenaal
Day Three: Dinner, Paters Vaetje, Waagstuk
Day Four: Lunch and Sightseeing, Kulminator, Dinner, Elfde Gebod
Ghent
Day Five: Departure/Arrival, Aba-Jour, Gravensteen
Day Five: De Hopduvel
Day Five: Deus, Trollekelder, Waterhuis aan de Bierkant
Brugge
Day Six: Sightseeing, Lunch, Brouwerij De Halve Maan
Day Six: Kelk, De Garre
Day Six: Brugs Beertje, Dickie's
West Flanders
Day Seven: Kortrijk, Ieper, Poperinge, Paix, Ter Posterie
Day Seven: Kortrijk, Boulevard
Day Eight: Westvleteren
Brussels
Day Eight: Poechenellekelder, Delirium Café, Packing
New York
Day Nine: Flight, New York City
There are few general observations about Belgium that I have.
1. I've been cheated out of knowing more than one language becuase I've grown up in the US. Almost everyone in Belgium spoke at least two to three languages. According to the bartender at Moeder Lambic they start teaching English in schools at around age 10 or 12.

2. Belgians are crazy drivers. We were constantly being passed at high speeds when we had rented the car, and we were speeding somewhat.

3. Belgian restrooms are strange. There's often a single door for men and women that opens into a room with a sink, that room has doors for men and women, but it also often contains a urinal.
Stories that I didn't include in the main post.
1. An aspiring DJ in Antwerp helped us determine the best Tram stop for us, which also happened to be his stop. When we got off he waited until the very last minute before he went down into the subway to say "By the way, your president is an asshole."

2. We were getting cash from an ATM in Antwerp, Ghent or Brugge (David?) when a guy came up to us and started speaking in Dutch. When I said we only speak English he then said "Do you have a joint to spare."
We've decided to go on beer trips to Germany, The UK and The Czech Republic at some point in the future. I think we've decided on The Czech Republic as our next stop.

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Day Nine: Flight, New York City

Our flight left Brussels at around 10:00 on Sunday morning and arrived in New York at around noon. We woke up at around 6 AM, got ready and left before 7 AM. We made the mistake of walking from our hostel to Bruxelles-Nord, about a mile, which was painful with the two heavy bags. We took the express train to the airport, and were chastised by the guy who punched our tickets for sitting in the first-class section when we only had second-class tickets.

We checked in and had the bag with the beer labeled fragile. We went to the duty free shop so David could buy a book, and then went through security. We had breakfast and coffee at Coffee Corner near our gate. David later picked up a deck of Manneken Pis playing cards.

The flight was uneventful. We played Sudoku, mocked the Sky Mall catalog, read and played War with the cards. When the plane landed our oxygen masks fell down, not the entire plane's, just ours. The customs agent who I talked through was a pretty easy going guy with a thick New York accent. He asked what kind of beer I had. I told him it was brewed by monks. "Is it dark?" "Yeah." "Is it strong?" "Yeah" "Alright! Drink in moderation, and don't drive."

We made it back to David's apartment, dropped off our bags, and then went to Kitchenette for a late brunch. We stopped by Columbia Deli & Market and picked up a bottle of Southampton IPA, which we drank while watching South Park. Afterwards we went to see Casino Royale and then called it an early night.

580. Southampton IPA



Beer Stats:
Brewery: Southampton Publick House
Alcohol: 6.50%
Serving: Bottle, 22 oz.
Style: American IPA, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.5): Pours a hazy orange with a flufyy, off-white head that persists, leaving thick lace.

Smell (4.0): Some caramel maltiness with nice grassy, herbal and citric hop aromas.

Taste (4.5): Toasty malts, with some light sweetness, followed by a nice resiny and herbal hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation, with oiliness from the hops.

Drinkability (4.0): Not too sweet, with a nice strong hop presence.

Overall (4.3)

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Having arrived in Brussels we checked in to the hostel. The first thing I did was shave, then we decided to head out for dinner and beer. Our first stop was Poechenellekelder where we had a dinner of croque monsieurs and a round.

572. Urthel Hop-It


Beer Stats:
Brewery: De Leyerth Brouwerijen
Alcohol: 9.50%
Serving: Bottle, 11.2 oz.
Style: Belgian IPA

Appearance (4.5): Pours a cloudy golden with a thick, four-finger head that fades to an irregular film leaving heavy lace.

Smell (4.0): Fruity with peppery spice, alcohol and light hops.

Taste (4.0): Sweet fruits upfront, there are some cherry notes. The finish is peppery before moving into a significant hop bitterness that has a nice interplay with some lemony tartness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): High carbonation, light to medium-bodied.

Drinkability (4.0): Good hoppiness to provide balance.

Overall (4.1)

573. Barbãr Winter Bok


Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brasserie Lefèbvre SA
Alcohol: 8.00%
Serving: Tap
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (3.5): Pours a hazy brown with a beige head that thins to a ring leaving patchy lace.

Smell (4.0): Dark fruit, spices and an almost evergreen aroma.

Taste (3.5): Sweet fruit and maltiness upfront. The finish is spicy with a light bitterness. A little too sweet.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation.

Drinkability (3.5): Easy to drink, despite sweetness.

Overall (3.65)

After finishing dinner and our beers at Poechenellekelder we went to Delirium Café for a few more rounds. The bar was pretty crowded, but we were able to find seats at the bar.



574. Gentse Tripel

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Alcohol: 8.00%
Serving: Bottle, 11.2 oz.
Style: Tripel, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (3.5): Pours a cloudy golden-amber with a white head that thins to a persistent film leaving no lace.

Smell (3.5): Cherries and caramel. Odd aromas for a tripel, but it smells nice.

Taste (4.0): Some tartness and toasty malts upfront. There's an almost a honey sweetness before the finish, which is peppery, grainy and lightly bitter.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Medium-bodied, high carbonation.

Drinkability (4.0): Quite nice, not too sweet.

Overall (3.8)

575. Abbaye De Rocs Blond

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
Alcohol: ?
Serving: Bottle, 11.2 oz.
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (3.0): Pours a very light blond color with a white head that thins to a ring leaving little lace.

Smell (3.0): Sweet maltiness with some tart fruit (maybe sour apple). Very light.

Taste (3.0): Sweet and fruity throughout. There's some light tart apples, light pepper and light bitterness.

Mouthfeel (3.5): Light to medium-bodied, moderate carbonation.

Drinkability (3.5): Not terribly flavorful.

Overall (3.1)

After the first round we each had an Orval. My bottle was from September 2006 and David's was from July 2006. The Brettanomyces aroma and flavors were much more evident in David's bottle. Just two months had made a huge difference in flavor and aroma.

576. Saison De Pipaix




The bartender said he hadn't seen this one, and that he'd have to look. He brought back a dusty bottle with a best by date of August 2003.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brasserie à Vapeur
Alcohol: 6.00%
Serving: Bottle, 750 mL
Style: Saison, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a cloudy orange-amber (though our first pours were crystal-clear). It's topped by a thick, off-white head that thins to a film leaving heavy lace.

Smell (4.0): Sourish almost lambic-like hints, cherry fruitiness and some light maltiness that's hard to place.

Taste (4.5): Sour cherries with some light medicinals, some Brett character and a mild bitterness. Nice tartness

Mouthfeel (4.0): Light-bodied, low carbonation, with a mild dryness.

Drinkability (4.0): Quite drinkable and interesting.

Overall (4.2): Even though the best by date had long since passed this beer had aged quite well.

577. Het Kapittel Dubbel


Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij Van Eecke N.V.
Alcohol: 7.00%
Serving: Bottle, 11.2 oz.
Style: Dubbel, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a cloudy ruby-brown with a brown head that fades to a quarter-inch layer leaving little lace.

Smell (3.5): Light, but notes of caramel malts and dark fruit.

Taste (3.5): Sweet upfront with raisins and brown sugar. The finish is lightly peppery with hints of roastiness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Full-bodied, moderate carbonation, and light warming alcohol.

Drinkability (3.5): A little too sweet.

Overall (3.65)

578. Het Kapittel Pater


Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij Van Eecke N.V.
Alcohol: 6.00%
Serving: Bottle, 11.2 oz.
Style: Belgian Dark Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a hazy amber-brown with an off-white head that fades to a quarter-inch layer leaving patchy lace.

Smell (4.0): Caramel maltiness, with an intriguing smoky character.

Taste (3.5): Caramel sweetness, light pepper, toasty malts with a neutral finish.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Medium-bodied, low carbonation.

Drinkability (3.5): Too sweet.

Overall (3.75)

We still needed to pack, so we left Delirium Café and started the walk back to our hostel. Across the alleyway from the bar is the Janneken Pis, the female counterpart of the Manneken Pis.


Janneken Pis

I still needed to buy chocolate for the lab so decided to stop at a chocolate shop on the way back to the hostel. The Manneken Pis themed chocolatier was eliminated because of sheer kitsch, as evidenced by the photo below. We ended up stopping at Corne Port Royal where I dropped 25 € on a box of chocolates, 2 milk chocolate bars and two 77% cocoa bars. The lab was very pleased.


Kitsch

We got back to the hostel and packed. We had two six-packs of Westvleteren to pack as well as a 750 mL bottle of Cantillon St. Lamvinus, an 11.2 oz bottle of Duvel Gefilterd and an 11.2 oz bottle of Verboden Vrucht. The Westvleteren and the Cantillon were highest priority. We put David's clothes in my bag, and put the beer in David's small duffle. We wrapped each bottle of Westvleteren in socks and then newspaper and placed them back in the six-pack holders. We wrapped the Cantillon in a shirt. We padded the bag heavily with paper and then put the beers in. We left the Verboden Vrucht and decided to drink the Duvel Gefilterd.

579. Duvel Gefilterd


I did this blind and side-by-side with a normal Duvel, which we bought from the hostel bar.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat NV
Alcohol: 7.50%
Serving: Bottle, 25 cL
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance:
Duvel: Hazy golden with a huge white head.
Gefilterd:
Clear golden with a huge white head.

Smell:
Duvel: Bananas, pepper and some graininess.
Gefilterd:
Bananas, pepper and some graininess, but much fruitier than the standard Duvel.

Taste:
Duvel: Fruity, but less so than the Gefilterd. It is more peppery, more grainy and more bitter than the Gefilterd.
Gefilterd:
Fruity, mostly bananas with peppery spice in the finish, alcoholic warmth with a little bit of burning. Sweeter and fruitier than the Duvel.

Mouthfeel:
Duvel: High carbonation, light-bodied.
Gefilterd:
High carbonation, light-bodied.

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Day Eight, Westvleteren: Westvleteren

We had to return the car by noon on Saturday. We figured we'd have plenty of time to drive to Westvleteren, buy beer and return to Ieper to return the car. We had planned on arriving at the abbey's café at 10 AM, when it opened, which would give us ample time to return the car before noon. Estimating an hour drive from Kortrijk, we planned to leave the hotel at 9 AM. After waking up and having breakfast, which was essentially identical to a hostel breakfast, we were on the road by around 9:15.

We took A19 from Kortrijk to Ieper and then got onto N8, which we again couldn't seem to follow due to abysmal signage. We were eventually able to successfully navigate to N321 using our map, but the fuel light came on so we had to drive to Poperinge to get gas. After getting fuel we headed back towards the abbey on N321, and arrived by 10:30. I purchased four Westvleteren 12 and two Westvleteren Blond, and David purchased 3 and 3. We would have stayed for a beer, but we needed to return the car. I would have taken some pictures, but we were feeling a little rushed.

We drove through Poperinge to Ieper where we had some difficulty navigating to the train station. Eventually we found it and dropped off our bags in a luggage locker. From the station it was an easy drive to the dealership, where we arrived only to find that the manager who could unlock the safe and give David his credit card wasn't there. He arrived promptly and we walked from the dealership back to the city center.

Belgian drivers are crazy. We were probably the slowest moving vehicle on any of the roads, and we were usually speeding. Cars would constantly pass us, seemingly going dangerously fast.

Having neglected to bring a razor, I was suffering from having not shaved the entire trip. We stopped at a grocery store and purchased some disposables and shaving cream. This lead to a joke about shaving on the train back to Brussels, which eventually led to the idea that someone shaving, with razor and shaving cream, on the subway in NYC would pretty much be ignored.

We had a lunch of pasta bolognese at In't Stadhuis before returning to Brussels via train.

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Day Seven, Kortrijk: Boulevard

We returned to the hotel in Kortrijk and headed to a bar called Boulevard. The inside reminded me of a house, there was a distinct front room filled with tables. The waitress, who wore a bright red hat, took us through the menu and was very friendly. I was impressed at how easily she moved through the packed bar carrying a tray. It was crowded so we ended up having the first round standing. The waitress eventually found us a spot at a large table where a young couple was sitting. We talked with them until they had to leave. I don't remember the context, but the guy said, "The Germans also made mistakes."

David's careful examination of a bottle of Cantillon caught the eye of the couple at the next table, they were probably late 50s or early 60s. They invited us over and bought us a round, we chose Rodenbach. We talked for a while, but language was a little bit more of an issue. Somehow the topic turned to WWI or WWII and the guy said "Without the Americans we would all be Germans." The quote isn't exact because his construction of the statement wasn't exact.

We also had a great plate of snacks that included cheese, sausage with mustard, cornichons, yellow cocktail onions and pine nuts. In addition to the new beers listed below, we had a bottle of Cantillon Broucsella Grand Cru, which was brought out in a champagne bucket, and the Rodenbachs that were purchased for us.

569. Moinette Blond

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brasserie Dupont sprl
Alcohol: 8.50%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a cloudy golden with a thick, white head that fades to a persistent, quarter-inch layer leaving patchy lace.

Smell (4.0): Bananas, pepper and graininess.

Taste (4.0): Well attenuated, there are notes of fruit that lack the accompanying sweetness. Pepper in the finish gives way to grainy flavors as well as some light bitterness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation.

Drinkability (4.0): Very nice and not too sweet.

Overall (4.0)

570. Urchon

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brasserie Des Géants
Alcohol: 7.50%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Belgian Dark Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a hazy brown with a thick, brown head that fades to a quarter-inch layer leaving patchy but light lace.

Smell (4.0): Raisins. caramel, toffee and some light cherry aromas.

Taste (4.0): Malty, like the smell there are raisins, caramel and toffee. There are also some toasted malt flavors. The finish has a light spiciness and a light bitterness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Medium-bodied, low carbonation.

Drinkability (4.0): Quite nice.

Overall (4.0)

571. De Ranke Guldenberg




Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij De Ranke
Alcohol: 8.50%
Serving: Bottle, 750 mL
Style: Tripel, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a hazy golden with a white, whipped-cream head that fades to a thin film leaving patchy lace.

Smell (4.0): Light fruitiness and some peppery spice.

Taste (4.0): On the sweet side, but it balances out. Fruity with a significant peppery spice. A sour apple tartness emerges in the finish with a light bitterness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Medium-bodied with high carbonation.

Drinkability (4.0): Very drinkable.

Overall (4.0)

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We had breakfast at the hostel in Brugge and then caught the train to Kortrijk. We walked around the city and saw what there was to see, which was essentially just the Stadhuis. We stopped for lunch at a restaurant called "Pomodoro, Pomodoro," where David had an alleged slice of pizza and I had salmon ravioli.

Having exhausted the tourism opportunities in Kortrijk, we decided to take to train to Ieper, rent a car and drive to some of the WWI grave sites in the surrounding countryside. The rental place was a Ford dealership on the edge of town. We were able to rent a Ford KA without any problems, though the guy thought it was weird that we just wanted it for one day. We stopped for gas (petrol!) and purchased a road atlas of Belgium. The picture below isn't the car we drove, but it gives you an idea of how small the car was.


The tiny Ford KA

We drove to various WWI cemeteries around Ieper including the German Cemetery.


WWI cemetery


WWI cemetery


WWI cemetery


WWI cemetery


A monument to Canadian soldiers


German cemetery


German cemetery

After driving to the cemeteries, which where wholly depressing, we decided to drive to Abdij St. Sixtus to see if In De Vrede, the brewery café, was open. We tried to take N8 to Westvleteren, but due to abysmal signage, we were unable to follow the road. We ended up getting lost and taking a circuitous route. Finding the abbey on the back roads was difficult as well. We eventually found it, but the café is closed on Fridays so we weren't able to get anything.

We then drove into Poperinge for dinner. The plan was to eat at Paix, which was listed in the Good Beer Guide, but the food was a little too haught. Instead we stopped at a Belgian fast food palce. I ordered a burger and fries (with mayo) and a can of Hoegaarden, and David ordered a chicken kabob with fries (with ketchup). The burger was okay, but the fries were good. As we were leaving the fast food place we saw the guy we rented the car from in line, though he didn't notice us.

We then went to Paix for a round before heading to Ieper.



565. Queue De Charrue Brune


Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brasserie Vanuxeem
Alcohol: ?
Serving: Bottle, 11.2 oz.
Style: Belgian Dark Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (3.5): Pours a clear ruby with a thin brown head that fades to a sudsy film.

Smell (3.5): Notes of cherries with some medicinal phenols.

Taste (3.5): Cherry sweetness with a flash of tartness and a medicinal finish. Too sweet overall.

Mouthfeel (3.5): Medium-bodied, low carbonation, a bit syrupy.

Drinkability (3.5): Too sweet and syrupy, but otherwise not bad.

Overall (3.5)

566. Queue De Charrue Blonde


Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brasserie Vanuxeem
Alcohol: 9.00%
Serving: Bottle, 11.2 oz.
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a cloudy golden with a thick, white head that fades to a persistent quarter-inch layer leaving patchy lace.

Smell (3.5): Grainy with some pepper and light citrus.

Taste (4.0): Subdued fruity sweetness upfront with a peppery and grainy finish with a light bitterness.

Mouthfeel (3.5): High carbonation, light-bodied with a grainy dryness.

Drinkability (4.0): Good, sweet and spicy.

Overall (3.85)

After leaving Paix we headed to Ieper and went to Ter Posterie for a round. We were the only people in the bar aside from a large group of British people who asked if I was writing a thesis on beer, and later called us tickers under their breath.



567. Yperman

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij Leroy
Alcohol: 5.50%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Belgian Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a lightly hazy amber-golden with a thin off-white head that persists as a thin layer.

Smell (3.5): Light fruit, sugar and peppery spice.

Taste (3.5): Light sweetness, fruit and toasty malts upfront. The finish is peppery with some mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Medium-bodied, low carbonation, lightly dry finish.

Drinkability (4.0): Decently drinkable. Not too sweet.

Overall (3.7)

568. Kuurnse Witte

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij Bavik
Alcohol: 7.00%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Witbier, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a hazy golden with a thick, ecru head that fades to a thin film leaving heavy lace.

Smell (3.5): Sweet and fruity with bananas, tart orange, some sweet malt, pepper and coriander.

Taste (3.5): Sweet bananas, some orangey tartness, with a light spiciness and a light graininess in the finish.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Medium-bodied, low carbonation, dry graininess and warming alcohol.

Drinkability (3.5): Too sweet.

Overall (3.65)

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We arrived at Brugs Beertje, which means "The Little Bruges Bear." It's a small two room bar with a nice shabby atmosphere. The walls are covered with beer signs, a picture of which is on the cover of The Good Beer Guide. We sat in the front room at a table near the German guys who we had seen earlier in the day. As the guide says, there's a"virtual guarantee of meeting like-minded beer travelers from everywhere." The beer list was extensive with a lot of quality beers by solid breweries. Having skipped dinner we ordered a snack plate, which had sausage, pâté, cheese and garnishes. I'm now convinced that plates like this are the perfect bar snack.

We ended up socializing at this bar much more than at other bars that we'd been to. Perhaps it was the alcohol taking effect. Whatever the reason, it was a great time.

The Germans:
We spent quite awhile talking to the German guys who we'd run into three times already. The conversation was mostly about politics and the EU. At one point David said "Right now Americans think they can destroy everything." To which one of them replied, "Yeah, there was a time when the Germans thought we could destroy everything too." Not knowing if this was a joke or not David and I remained silent until they started laughing themselves. They eventually moved on to Dickie's, where we would run into them later.

The Brewer and Wife:
A British couple came in who we also talked with. He was the Brewer for Green Jack in the UK. They were ostensibly there on vacation, but his wife seemed to think that on this trip he had managed to bring work into it by the virtue of being at a bar talking about beer. He said his brewery was near St. Peters, and that all of "the boys that work at St. Peters drink my beer because St. Peters is shite." We mostly talked beer. He couldn't say enough good things about American hops.

Bob and Shelagh:
Bob and Shelagh were a couple from the UK, Edinburgh if I remember correctly. David was practicing coaster flips when Bob asked him to try it left handed. A task at which David failed miserably. Bob wrote the following in my book:
David, the cocky bastard, lost to a UK pensioner at left handed beer mat flips.
23/11
Ha Ha, Bob Richards
Bob was a consummate joker, so our choice of Belgium over the UK as a vacation destination was ridiculed with, "Name five famous people from Belgium." When he found out I was a grad student at MIT he said "Name me five famous people to graduate from MIT." Somehow the topic of stature came up and I referred to myself as thin. Bob responded by calling me "porky" for the rest of the evening, "are you sure you should be wearing that sweater porky? Horizontal stripes are a bad choice for you." David was also talking about author Ian Rankin, but couldn't remember a title. Bob wrote this in my book:
"I know every Ian Rankin book I just cannot remember one title."

Bob and David


Bob and I


David and Bob

We eventually decided to head to Dickie's to finish out the night.

559. N'Ice Chouffe




Where I got it and serving details.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brasserie d'Achouffe
Alcohol: 10.00%
Serving: Bottle, 750 mL
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a hazy brown-amber with a thick, brown head that thins to a film leaving good lace.

Smell (4.0): Sweet, notes of caramel, cherries and raisins with light pepper on swirling.

Taste (4.0): Sweet and fruity malts: light cherries and raisins. There's lots of pepper in the finish with some nice roasted flavors.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation, lightly dry.

Drinkability (4.0): Good drinkability for a strong winter beer.

Overall (4.0)



560. Watou Tripel

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Alcohol: 7.50%
Serving: Bottle, 11.2 oz.
Style: Tripel, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a hazy amber with a thick white head that retains well leaving patchy lace as the glass is emptied.

Smell (4.0): Mixed fruit aromas, bananas and sour apples. There's also some honey sweetness.

Taste (4.0): Banana, berry and sour apple fruitiness. The finish is peppery with a moderat hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel (4.5): Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation, dry finish.

Drinkability (4.5): Very drinkable.

Overall (4.1)

561. Het Kapittel Abt

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij Van Eecke N.V.
Alcohol: 10.00%
Serving: Bottle, 11.2 oz.
Style: Tripel, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.5): Pours a cloudy golden with a thick, white head that remains as a persistent half-inch layer leaving heavy lace.

Smell (4.0): Fruity, mostly sour apples with a leafy hop aroma

Taste (3.5): Some fruity sweetness, some tartness, moderate peppery spice with a light bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Medium-bodied, low carbonation.

Drinkability (4.0): Very drinkable.

Overall (3.9)



561. De Dolle Extra Export Stout


I let the brewer for Green Jack try this. He thought it was a good stout, but you could tell it was Belgian.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers
Alcohol: 9.00%
Serving: Bottle, 11.2 oz.
Style: Foreign / Export Stout, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (5.0): Pours an opaque black with a thick brown head.

Smell (4.0): Nice stout roasted aromas of chocolate and coffee as well as some tart cherry aromas.

Taste (4.5): Cherry and chocolate with a nice sourness. The finish has some nice roasted bitterness.

Mouthfeel (4.5): Medium to full-bodied, velvety, moderate carbonation.

Drinkability (4.5): A very nice and tasty stout.

Overall (4.5)

563. Wostyntje

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij De Regenboog
Alcohol: 7.00%
Serving: Bottle, 11.2 oz.
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a cloudy orange with a fluffy, white head that leaves patchy lace.

Smell (4.0): Fruity, peppery. I can't smell mustard.

Taste (3.5): Fruity and sweet banana flavors. The finish is spicy with some pepper and mustard, which is surprisingly, not overpowering.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Medium-bodied, low carbonation.

Drinkability (4.0): Not bad for such a strange beer.

Overall (3.8)

564. Jan Van Gent

I've made a note to myself in the book not to trust the numbers because I'm drunk, so I haven't put them here (overall: 4.05).

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij Liefmans
Alcohol:5.50%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Belgian Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: Pours a lightly hazy golden with a white head that retains well and leaves no lace.

Smell: Some light fruitiness, with noticeable grainy aromas.

Taste: Sweet and fruity with some dry graininess.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, medium-bodied and lightly dry.

Drinkability: Very!

We left Brugs Beertje and headed to Dickie's where we saw the Germans again. This time we got a picture with them as they were leaving.


With the Germans

We didn't have anything new, though David had a Chimay before I cut him off, while I had a Chimay and two Orvals.

There was a large group of people in the back singing Irish folk songs. It was a mixed group, there were three Irish people, and Englishman and a few Belgians. David walked over and got them to start singing James Taylor. Then David and I sang all three verses of Mercedes Benz, though when we were on the second and third verses they were still singing the only verse people know. They invited us to sit with them, so we talked for a while, about what I don't remember.

There was a lot more singing, but eventually we got into pub games, like blowing cards off of a glass. David, being David got competitive and started to irritate the laid back Europeans. He was chastised four times by various people, five if you count what the owner said to me.
1. Ex Belgian Military - "You have to be who you are."
2. Englishman - "Don't kid a kidder."
3. Portuguese Owner - "You are in Europe, not America. Try and learn something.
4. Belgian Tour Guide - "You're so competitive you can't help but defeat yourself."
5. Portuguese Owner (to me as I was paying) - "Your friend is too American, you're not, but your friend is."






We somehow managed to stumble back to our hostel. I have no idea how we found it, but we did.

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