The following day we set out to get to the Van Honsebrouck Brewery in Inglemunster. On our way we passed through the town of Roeselare and decided to stop at Brouwerij Rodenbach to see if we could maybe get a tour that day as well.
Unfortunately we were told that they didn’t have any tours that day. As we were leaving, a guy named Bert came out and told us to at least check out the visitor center on the other side of the building.
He walked us there and inside while telling us a little about their history, and expansion, and who else they bottle for. I peered in some glass doors and asked if we were allowed to walk in and check out the barrels. He origionally said no, but then looked around and said he wasn’t busy and he would come with us.
Afterwards he even took us into the bottling area where he said they usually don’t allow visitors and tourists. If you look at the picture below and see the tank with all the bubbles? I was amazed that it was bubbling so violently, and that’s the excess carbon dioxide released during active fermentation.
After our unexpected and impromptu mini tour of Rodenbach, we rode back into the city center to grab a beer and some lunch.
Of course Rodenbach was available on the menu and I got the Grand Cru at 6% abv.
The Grand Cru is a Flemish Red Ale, which means its going to be a sour ale. Apple cider vinegar, slightly tart, woody, oak. I think the Grand Cru is their best beer, really nice representation of the style.
Another funny food story, the menu was all in Flemish, but I knew I was ordering waffles, I just didn’t know what they would have on them. So I just pointed and guessed, thinking that it would be some combination of whipped cream, bananas, or strawberries. Which all seemed to be the standard toppings. When they brought out the waffles, they also gave me a tiny pitcher of very viscous yellow liquid. I assumed that it would be wonderful and drenched my waffles in it. The guy at the table next to ours must have heard me ask Jack what they heck it was, so he leaned in and told me it was egg yolks and liquor. I was pleased that I guess-ordered such a wonderful new topping!
We hopped back on the bikes and took a nice ride down the canal to Inglemunster to visit Kasteel. When we got there we couldn’t really find the visitors’ office. But we heard voices coming from an office down the hall, so we walked down to ask about tours.
We accidentally walked into the managers office and he mistook Jack for a distributer that was supposed to be visiting! But once I walked into the room he knew we weren’t the distributors. After telling us they aren’t doing tours because they plan to move the brewery site in two years, he invited us to stay and join him for a drink anyway! He was only having a Redbull, but he called down to his secretary and had her bring us up the Kasteel Cuvee du Chateau at 11% abv.
It was so nice to get to chat with a Belgian! He discussed their move, their beers, their history. And then he turned the discussion to American politics and health care! I was truly surprised to find out how well informed the Belgian people are with American news!
He also discussed the other beers they produce there and again called down to his secretary and had her bring up one of everything for us to try!
We also had the St Louis Gueuze Fond Tradition at 5% abv. I’ve had this only once before in DC at Brasserie Beck and it was amazing!
We also tried the Brigand which I think is a very easy drinking beer, but somewhat common. Although, it is one of their best selling and most competitive beer.
And we had the Bacchus, an Oud Bruin, which was also a sour beer.
When we were leaving, I know we took up most of his afternoon, he insisted on giving us beer to take with us. Unfortunately on bikes and traveling we just couldn’t take any bottles. So he ended up giving us six Kasteel glasses, a Kasteel platter, Kasteel aprons, and Kasteel bar runners. We were loaded! He even walked us to our bikes and helped us secure our things. So, thank you very much Phillipe! The visit to Kasteel was wonderful and unforgettable.
Although, the bike ride home after all those beers was quite a challenge! We eventually managed to make it back to Roeselare to sober up a little and find some dinner!