OT: Best Beer

8893

Curiouser
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Figured I'd drop this over here instead of on the travel board... I'm headed to Belgium in September. Other than trying to get my hands on some Westvleteren 12, anyone done a beer tour there or find any gems not known to us in the USA? Home base will likely be Ghent, although we expect to spend a little time in Bruges and Brussels and possibly The Hague (yeah, I know the latter isn't Belgium).
I don’t know if you can get Cantillon here anymore; if you can, I don’t think it’s easy to find and I am sure they have gems there that don’t make it here. A good friend went there as part of a Belgian beer trip and he raved about it. IIRC you may not like lambics though; if that’s the case, then definitely don’t go there as that is all they make (albeit in a very wide variety).
 
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Figured I'd drop this over here instead of on the travel board... I'm headed to Belgium in September. Other than trying to get my hands on some Westvleteren 12, anyone done a beer tour there or find any gems not known to us in the USA? Home base will likely be Ghent, although we expect to spend a little time in Bruges and Brussels and possibly The Hague (yeah, I know the latter isn't Belgium).
Go to Brussels and spend an evening in Grand-Place people watching while perusing trough a pub's multi-page beer menu and enjoy (I prefer Le Roy, though its a bit crazy). If Westvleteren 12 is not on the menu, ask a local sitting near you, he/she will likely know where it can be found. If you are hungry, the pubs there do also have food menu's, though its hard to beat Restaurant Row (Rue des Boucher) nearby as the competition keeps the prices reasonable for a tourist trap and there is a lot of variety. Bruges is basically the same, except its a smaller city and the fun is finding the 'right' pub for your liking along one of its many canals. Unfortunately, I don't have any recommendations for Bruges as my memory of both visits is a little foggy. One from a bad case of jet lag and the second was a crazy evening after the group I was with got swallowed up by a large contingent of Swedes who were in town for a EuroCup football match.

PS - There is a travel page on Boneyard.
 
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Figured I'd drop this over here instead of on the travel board... I'm headed to Belgium in September. Other than trying to get my hands on some Westvleteren 12, anyone done a beer tour there or find any gems not known to us in the USA? Home base will likely be Ghent, although we expect to spend a little time in Bruges and Brussels and possibly The Hague (yeah, I know the latter isn't Belgium).
You can find all the Westy's in pretty much any good beer shop in Belgium. No need to go all the way to the brewery, although you could if you're into Trappist stuff. It's a bit out of the way, though.

I don’t know if you can get Cantillon here anymore; if you can, I don’t think it’s easy to find and I am sure they have gems there that don’t make it here. A good friend went there as part of a Belgian beer trip and he raved about it. IIRC you may not like lambics though; if that’s the case, then definitely don’t go there as that is all they make (albeit in a very wide variety).
Cantillon is a must stop. You do have to like sours a bit, but Lambic is so interesting that you might find it worthwhile either way. Other than grabbing a waffle, it's really the only worthwhile thing in Brussels. The city sucks. There's a self-guided tour with samples at the end. Zwanze Day is usually in September, so you should check back to see when they announce the date later if you'll be in country then. It's basically "Cantillon Day" around the world, but I have to imagine it would be fun at the brewery.

Other Lambic/sour/saison breweries to check out or try if you see them somewhere:
Drie Fonteinen
Tilquin
Bokkereyder
De Cam
Fantome
Girardin

The best Lambic bars
Moeder Lambic
De Heeren van Liedekercke
In de Verzekering tegen de Grote Dorst

As for Ghent, Dranken Geers is a great bottle shop. Waterhuis and Trollekelder are good places to drink beer.
 

storrsroars

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PS - There is a travel page on Boneyard.
I've posted about my trip there already, but the posters over there and the posters over here don't have a big overlap on the Venn diagram.
You can find all the Westy's in pretty much any good beer shop in Belgium. No need to go all the way to the brewery, although you could if you're into Trappist stuff. It's a bit out of the way, though.



Cantillon is a must stop. You do have to like sours a bit, but Lambic is so interesting that you might find it worthwhile either way. Other than grabbing a waffle, it's really the only worthwhile thing in Brussels. The city sucks. There's a self-guided tour with samples at the end. Zwanze Day is usually in September, so you should check back to see when they announce the date later if you'll be in country then. It's basically "Cantillon Day" around the world, but I have to imagine it would be fun at the brewery.

Other Lambic/sour/saison breweries to check out or try if you see them somewhere:
Drie Fonteinen
Tilquin
Bokkereyder
De Cam
Fantome
Girardin

The best Lambic bars
Moeder Lambic
De Heeren van Liedekercke
In de Verzekering tegen de Grote Dorst

As for Ghent, Dranken Geers is a great bottle shop. Waterhuis and Trollekelder are good places to drink beer.
Sad thing is, I'm not a big sour fan. Especially since IMO, US microbrewers have gone completely overboard and have thrown the concept of "balance" out the window. I recently had a sour at a highly-regarded brewer in LA (Monkish) that might as well have been kombucha. No thanks. Nor have I really enjoyed fruited lambics in the past.

That said, I don't eat tripe in the US, but I do in Mexico and Italy because they know what to do with it, so I assume I'll at least give sours a go as I'd think in Belgium they'll be as good as they can get.

I'm good with farmhouse ales and dubbles/trippels. Don't recall having Flemish red ale before, so will try that. I'll probably be trying at least one of every style I encounter, even Gueuze, just to get that experience. So I'll probably be intoxicated quite frequently.
 
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I've posted about my trip there already, but the posters over there and the posters over here don't have a big overlap on the Venn diagram.


Sad thing is, I'm not a big sour fan. Especially since IMO, US microbrewers have gone completely overboard and have thrown the concept of "balance" out the window. I recently had a sour at a highly-regarded brewer in LA (Monkish) that might as well have been kombucha. No thanks. Nor have I really enjoyed fruited lambics in the past.

That said, I don't eat tripe in the US, but I do in Mexico and Italy because they know what to do with it, so I assume I'll at least give sours a go as I'd think in Belgium they'll be as good as they can get.

I'm good with farmhouse ales and dubbles/trippels. Don't recall having Flemish red ale before, so will try that. I'll probably be trying at least one of every style I encounter, even Gueuze, just to get that experience. So I'll probably be intoxicated quite frequently.
Flemish/Flanders Red is also sour :oops:. It has a little more of an oaky/sherry vinegar note compared to other sours you may have had. Rodenbach or Duchesse de Bourgogne are probably the most common versions in the US market.

I do recommend still going to Cantillon and doing the self guided tour and samples at the least. It's an easy walk from one of the major train stations (although not the nicest neighborhood). If you don't like their beer, no big deal. It's still fascinating to learn about spontaneous fermentation and to experience the full body experience that is the smell of the barrel room.

It sounds like the experience you're looking for is more along the lines of going to the Delirium Cafe in Brussels. Or Kulminator in Antwerp. I mentioned the two places in Ghent already. Cambrinus in Bruges is probably the best place there.

Unfortunately, pretty much all of the Trappist breweries are out of the way and you can't really "visit" them for a tour. It's more like go to our cafe/gift shop and buy stuff. Probably better off going to the beer bars and drinking their beers/getting vintage bottles.
 
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storrsroars

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Flemish/Flanders Red is also sour :oops:. It has a little more of an oaky/sherry vinegar note compared to other sours you may have had. Rodenbach or Duchesse de Bourgogne are probably the most common versions in the US market.

I do recommend still going to Cantillon and doing the self guided tour and samples at the least. It's an easy walk from one of the major train stations (although not the nicest neighborhood). If you don't like their beer, no big deal. It's still fascinating to learn about spontaneous fermentation and to experience the full body experience that is the smell of the barrel room.

It sounds like the experience you're looking for is more along the lines of going to the Delirium Cafe in Brussels. Or Kulminator in Antwerp. I mentioned the two places in Ghent already. Cambrinus in Bruges is probably the best place there.

Unfortunately, pretty much all of the Trappist breweries are out of the way and you can't really "visit" them for a tour. It's more like go to our cafe/gift shop and buy stuff. Probably better off going to the beer bars and drinking their beers/getting vintage bottles.
I have thought of renting a car and going down to St. Bernardus as it's only an hour or so trip and they have tours. From there, the Westvleteren abbey isn't too far away and they do offer tastings in their gift shop - not like I'm buying a case to bring home - I'd cry if any broke or blew up in cargo hold. Also thinking of getting up to Westmalle, but you're probably right in that most will be consumed at various bars.

Apparently there is an infamous beer tour in Brussels with a guide named Sebastian who drops a lot of F bombs that hits 8 places and covers a lot of varieties.
 

Dove

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San Diego's Mikkeller Brewing is now available in CT. I have their IPA called Windy Hill. Hazy, subtly hoppy yet dry. A nice drink.

Also have purchased a tasty lager from Hooker Brewery called Farm to Can. CT-grown malts in this one. Old school taste.

I am now officially a fan boy of Hoax Brewing. They brew at East Haven's Beeracks facility. In 9 days they begin a weekend celebrating their 1st anniversary. Looking forward to attending.
 

Fishy

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In NY love Singlecut (softly spoken magic spell is the best), Mikkeller brewery in Queens also. Industrial Arts with Wrench.
Industrial Arts is opening a second brewery this spring.

It’ll be in Beacon, NY, right off Route 84 just before the Hudson River. Beacon’s an easy afternoon trip from western Connecticut and well worth it for the beer/distillery/restaurant scene.
 

Rico444

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I'm going to have a few black and tans at home on Saturday, being that it's St. Patty's day this weekend and all. I know most people use Guinness and Bass to make theirs, but you can really use any dark beer and lager/ale. What are all of your favorite beers to use to make your black and tans?
 

8893

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I'm going to have a few black and tans at home on Saturday, being that it's St. Patty's day this weekend and all. I know most people use Guinness and Bass to make theirs, but you can really use any dark beer and lager/ale. What are all of your favorite beers to use to make your black and tans?
Even though I am mostly off of beer, I still enjoy Guinness; but these days I do my black and tans as Snakebites, which is Guinness and cider. The original recipe calls for pear cider, but I use any semi-sweet or semi-dry ciders and have found that they work equally well.
 
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I'm going to have a few black and tans at home on Saturday, being that it's St. Patty's day this weekend and all. I know most people use Guinness and Bass to make theirs, but you can really use any dark beer and lager/ale. What are all of your favorite beers to use to make your black and tans?
Just don't order a black and tan in Northern Ireland, same goes for an Irish car bomb.
 

Dove

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I'm going to have a few black and tans at home on Saturday, being that it's St. Patty's day this weekend and all. I know most people use Guinness and Bass to make theirs, but you can really use any dark beer and lager/ale. What are all of your favorite beers to use to make your black and tans?
If I was to do this I would use Harp as the tan.
 
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Industrial Arts is opening a second brewery this spring.

It’ll be in Beacon, NY, right off Route 84 just before the Hudson River. Beacon’s an easy afternoon trip from western Connecticut and well worth it for the beer/distillery/restaurant scene.
And if you're doing that then keep heading west on I-84 and hit Equilibrium Brewing in Middletown, NY. Their beers are awesome. I haven't had one from there that wasn't outstanding.
 
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Had Civil Society’s Fresh last night. Solid beer.
Had it from the source last weekend. Thought it was decent.
I went there this fall when I was in the Jupiter area for a wedding. Pretty cool spot in that pop-up downtown thing they have going on there, reminded me of downtown Storrs or that little area by the mall in Manchester. Ate lunch at the Wine bar across the street to make my wife happy and then had dessert over at the brewery :)
 

Fishy

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And if you're doing that then keep heading west on I-84 and hit Equilibrium Brewing in Middletown, NY. Their beers are awesome. I haven't had one from there that wasn't outstanding.

I just read that Equilibrium has started construction on a new taproom and restaurant in another location in Middletown. Going to be much larger than their current building.
 

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