Mar 22, 2013

In Bruges: Part 2

This post should probably be entitled "That time we drank our way through Bruges," but for the sake of not sounding like a complete drunk right off the bat, I saved it for the first sentence. The rest of this post however? Just stop reading now if you hate having fun. Anywho, D and I had an absolute blast in Bruges. It's probably one of our favorite cities in Europe (behind London, Paris, Rothenburg, & Prague). The photos from Tuesday's post were glimpses of just part of our first night...the photos in this post are what happened after we did all the cutesy Christmas market things...and what we continued to do every night thereafter. DRINK BEER. Before moving to Europe, I wasn't much of a beer drinker. Wine...YES! Beer? A Bud Light Lime was about all I could stomach. I know, eww. After moving to Germany, the German Hefeweizen (a wheat beer) began to grow on me. I found myself quite enjoying the half-liter Hefe's I got served on a regular basis at every restaurant around town. I even thought drinking a liter at Oktoberfest was no big thing. Bring them on! BUT, then we took our first trip to Belgium...Bruges to be exact...and I haven't drank a German Hefeweizen since. Belgian beer is lightyears better than German beer. And so much more complex. They're really barely comparable. You can get Belgian beer in almost every flavor under the sun...from the stout dark porters that taste like espresso and caramel (my personal favorites) or the fruit beers that taste like strawberry, raspberry, and even weirder, banana & coconut. I tend to stray away from the fruity ones. If I wanted a fizzy fruit drink, I'd order a Fanta. Beer, on the other hand, has to pack a punch. And most Belgian beers (aside from those fruity ones) range in alcohol content from 6%-13%. Ironically enough, the tastier ones tend to be 10%-13% alcohol by volume. Precisely why limited and leisurely drinking when Belgian beer is involved, is recommended.

Do you think D and I followed those recommendations our first Belgian beer go 'round? Not hardly. D's got the dog poop boots to prove it. But that's a story I'll save for later. For now, feast your eyes on one of our favorite bars in Bruges...Cambrinus!



A few things to note if you're planning on drinking the night away at Cambrinus:
1) If you want dinner, make reservations. The place is super popular and gets packed quickly. If you're coming just for the beer, there's a decent amount of bar space, as long as it's not already full. If full, be patient. Tourists often come in for just a drink before heading off to other restaurants for dinner, so seats at the bar will open up long before a table will.
2) The Cambrinus beer menu is extensive. Over 400 different beers are served here (some on tap, most in bottles) and the list is ever-changing. As overwhelming as that sounds, never fear. The bartenders give GREAT suggestions and are very knowledgable on all the varieties of Belgian beers.
3) As with trying any new kinds of beer, start your night from light to dark. Unless you're a pale ale, pils, blonde, white, or triple beer fan. I do urge you to at least try a good dark or amber Belgian beer. They hold the most complex flavors. I'm a dark beer convert, for sure. 
4) Keep it to a 3 beer maximum. 2 drinks if you're a lady, or especially unfamiliar with Belgian beer and its potency. Snack or consume a meal before and after you drink. Trust me. If you stick to the fruit stuff (not recommended), it'll take more than 2 beers to get a buzz on. Most fruit beers are only 2%-4% alcohol by volume. Although, you'll be in for a sugar tummy ache later.
5) Steal coasters. We grab a coaster or two from every bar we visit around Europe, kind of as souvenirs and memorabilia for our future "bar/rec room". Try and snag the ones of the beers you tried and liked. Our stack of coasters is becoming mountainous. *Note, we do not condone stealing in any other capacity. Coasters are where we draw the line. :)


As for our favorite Belgian beers...whew...that's a hard one. D and I both have similar tastes in the Belgians...dark, bold, and non-hoppy. Our {current} top 10 (in no particular order):

1) De Struise Pannepot Grand Reserva Vintage 2008 (10% alcohol- hard to find, tastes like heaven)
2) De Struise Tsjeezes Reserva Port Edition (10% alcohol- also kind of hard to find)
3) De Struise Black Albert (13% alcohol- coffee, chocolate, dark fruits flavor)
4) La Trappe Quadruple (10% alcohol- Trappist malty beer, fig & dark fruit notes)
5) Triple Karmelite (8% alcohol- smells like flowers, the only triple I really like)
6) Westvleteren 12 (10% alcohol-highly coveted Trappist beer brewed by monks)
7) Gulden Draak Dark Triple (10.5% alcohol- spiced, creamy, & raisiny)
8) Rochefort 10 (11% alcohol- Trappist beer)
9) Bush Amber (12% alcohol- spicy malt beer)
10) Bush Noel (12% alcohol- Christmas beer)

I promise the next Bruges post won't be as beer heavy. But, there will still be beer. I told you, not much to do in Bruges but drink! Cheers to the weekend, friends! Drink responsibly. ;)

11 comments:

  1. You're making me want to go back to Bruges RIGHT NOW! I completely agree about Belgian beers...nothing compares!!!

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  2. Looks amazing and I love the coaster idea... now I just need to get to Europe.

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  3. Looks like you guys had a great time! I love the idea of grabbing coasters, I'm all about fun little travel mementos like that. :)

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  4. Love this! Looks like y'all are having so much fun. (:

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  5. I am not much of a drinker and I never drink beer ever talk about yuck..........lol

    That said it does sound like a nice place......

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  6. Oh wow, looks like a fun time! :)

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  7. First, I want every glass you drank of, because as we know I love glasses. The gold rim are so fun and I need! Second, I love your notes on the beer! I am coping them down, bc sometimes at Specs or HEB we can find German beer. Great post!
    Cortne
    cocoinmagnolia.com

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  9. My husband is a huge beer snob, and would *love* this post. Belgians are great- and your night makes you sound like travels after our own heart! <3

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  10. I can't believe they're all like 10%! And I love how they always serve it in the specific beer's proper glass! So neat!

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  11. Looks like fun times! Love all the pictures!

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I appreciate your feedback, friends! I read every comment and try my hardest to respond to each one, but if your email address isn't attached to your blogger profile, you might find my response in the comment thread instead. As always, thanks for reading!

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