Aah, jet lag! I fell asleep at 8:30 last night.
All right, so Ghent is an easy day trip outta Brugge. This place (Bierhuis) was good to visit because they have their own house brew that is really hoppy and is made by De Proef. Smiller will probably have more to say, and perhaps I got the details wrong. The De Proef brewer is the secret genius behind a lot of beer (De Proef means "the prof") , but he keeps a very low profile. Next time I go to Belgium I definitely want to visit their brewery. Toronado has their Deux Brasseurs on draft right now (for a startling $9.50) and it's delicious.
The Belgians are very proud of their "Belgian broojdes", which are sandwiches which seem basically just like French sandwiches.
After Brugge we left our charming hostel (sample dialogue from the flirting teens hanging out in the lobby: I love Weezer!) and made an absurd trek to the town of Watou. We did things all wrong as far as getting there, but now we know. We stayed at an amazing place way out in the country. It's adjacent to the Saint Bernardus brewery. It used to be the brewer's house (hence the name brouwerhuis), but now it's an elegant B and B. Here's the view from our window. This place has actual grounds. And a tennis court.
Here's the room where we were served our delicious breakfast.
Best part? Refrigerator full of FREE St. Bernardus brew!!!!!!!!!!! All this for 75 motherfucking euros a night! Unbelievable. That's the same as we paid for the hostel in Brugge.
We were lucky to get a tour of the St. Bernardus brewery. Brewery pictures are kinda boring so I'll keep it to a minimum.
The dude who gave us the brewery tour was taking a client to Watou for lunch and he invited us to come along. We ate at t'hommelhof. They were serving hop shoots, which is a delicacy that is only in season a few weeks a year. Those are the shoots on top of a cut of locally-raised pork that had an intense rim of fat on it! So good.
We rented bikes at the B and B and set out. There are rad bike trails everywhere. We rode to this nearby local pub. Watou is near the French border, so suddenly everyone just speaks French instead of French, Flemish and English. The local Watou beer besides St. Bernardus is hommelbier, and they are very proud of it. There's also the Watou Wit. You see all of these beers in SF stores.
Here's a mysterious cat we encountered on the ride. Immediately after this it said "farewell" adn disappeared in a puff of smoke. Weird.
Here's the countryside. This area smelled more intensely of cowshit than any place I've ever encountered, and I grew up in a rural area.
Lest our bike ride seem idyllic and perfect, I'll let you know that I hit a fat thorn about an hour in. My tire instantly went flat and we were very sad. We walked into this French village (it was cool to bike across a country border) and tried to find a bike shop with no luck. We walked really far back to the B and B and never got to complete the 40 km bike ride which went past windmills and such. Guess I'll just have to go back and do it! Also in this area there is a mysterious abbey up on a mountain that I would like to bike to. It's very pointy and ominous-looking. Smiller, can you refresh my memory about that abbey? They make brew, right?
Here's some hop-related art that was on a door in the B and B.
Artsy photo taken by smiller. Classic woodpile.
We had this fou foune brew in the room. If you ever see this Cantillon brew, buy it and damn the cost. It's a seasonal apricot lambic.
Here's the outside of the B and B. Nuts! I felt like a queen for a day.