Rodenbach and Kasteel

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.

IMG_2315

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.

IMG_2317

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.

IMG_2318

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.

IMG_2319

After our unexpected and impromptu mini tour of Rodenbach, we rode back into the city center to grab a beer and some lunch.

IMG_2322

Of course Rodenbach was available on the menu and I got the Grand Cru at 6% abv.

IMG_2323

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.

IMG_2324

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.

IMG_2325

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!

IMG_2326

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!

IMG_2327

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.

IMG_2328

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!

Climbing at the Gunks!

We were really lucky that we were able to drive up to NY Thursday so that we could climb Friday before the weekend crowds showed up.

We got on some classic lines that are usually very crowded.

No sport climbing here though, its all trad! There’s always lots of gear management, so most people tend to climb a little slower.

IMG_2077

The views here are just stunning! It was pretty hot in the sun, but lucky for me, Jack set up the anchors at trees!

IMG_2080

IMG_2081

IMG_2082

And of course after a hard day of climbing, we headed back to Bacchus!

I had mentioned to the waiter the previous night how I would love to have the St Bernardus Christmas Ale the next night since they had it in stock, and so as soon as we sat down he brought it over! We split the St Bernardus Christmas Ale by Brouwerij St Bernardus of Watou, Belgium at 10% abv.

IMG_2084

I love Christmas in July!

IMG_2085

So rich and decadent. Its amazing that it really makes you feel warm and cozy even in the heat of July! Dark fruits, candied sugar, brown sugar, caramel, spices, Belgian yeast. Fairly high carbonation, easy drinking. Such a treat!

Final day in New Paltz

Monday was fantastic!! It was sunny and empty (because everyone had cleared out the day before due to the rain). We slept in late to let the rock dry out a little more, and then we had an awesome day climbing! We got on some really classic routes! We were using Jack’s 70 meter rope so we were able to string 2 pitches together for a few climbs and move a little faster.

When we were picking dinner options I knew there was only one place I wanted to go….Bacchus!!

Jack was really trying to pick and try New York beers on this trip so he got started with the Cooperstown Benchwarmer Porter.

I took a couple sips, it was pretty good, but it had moderate carbonation. Couldnt much taste the alcohol, which was good considering it was 6.3%. A drinkable, English style porter.

I got the Wolaver’s Oatmeal Stout (hey Liz, its from Vermont!!!)

This was a very good beer! Very creamy, smooth and chocolaty. I was in heaven!

I got the bacon wrapped scallops for dinner, and for desert I decided to have one more of the Keegan Mother’s Milk Stout, because I have a feeling it might be kinda hard to track down in DC.

So Good!!!

That about sums it up for the Gunks and New Paltz. Cant wait to go back!

ps- Today I hit up Total Wine, they did not have the Southern Tier Creme Brulee Stout. What am I going to do?!?

Rained Out. Or should I say…. In?

We woke up Sunday to horribly rainy weather.  Got breakfast, hit up a climbing shop (Rock and Snow, and yes of course I got more clothes that I don’t need. It was raining!! What do u expect?! hehe) and then took a nap. Still, it was raining. Not a good thing for climbing. The group re-grouped and discussed. Unfortunately, everyone else decided to cut their losses and head back to DC. But first we decided to get lunch and hit up the Gilded Otter Brewery right in New Paltz.

I love walking in and getting to see all the brew tanks. It makes my day!

I ordered the Stone House Export Stout. It was OK.

On the menu it did say it was a dry stout, so I should have been better prepared. But it fell kinda flat with me. I really like creamy stouts with a big mouthfeel. Although, my friend Katie ordered the Black and Blue where they mix their stout and their blueberry lager, and I was eying it up! It had a nice half inch of blue head with REAL blueberries in it! I think they threw a handful in there when they poured it because when she got to the bottom of the glass she almost had to use a spoon to get to all the blueberries! I had beer envy.

Then everyone left and it was just Jack and I. I was pretty happy to stick around because there was another bar in particular that I really wanted to check out.

But first we went for a rain run! It was glorious and muddy! And I spotted a giant box turtle!

After cleaning up we walked down the street to Bacchus!

Walking in, I knew this was the bar for me! I fell in love! The bar was kinda dark and full of wood! Old wood bar, wood ceiling, wood barstools, huge old wood benches for the booths.

I hate it when a bar is brand new and shiny, this place was the opposite. The building itself was from the late 1800s. The walls were still the original brick, although you can tell there have been renovations done. Atmosphere got an A+ from me! I opened the beer menu and was not disapointed either! Jack went straight for the porters, we ended up sharing the first one, the Southern Tier Porter, because the beer I ordered was out of stock.  Minor fail. It looked so good though, and now I’m on a mission to hunt it down. The Southern Tier Creme Brulee Stout.

I made up for it by ordering the Smuttynose Baltic Porter to split with Jack because it was a 22oz.

What a great end to a rainy day!