The only brewery we had on our list to visit in Bruges was the Brouwerij De Halve Maan. One of my favorite beers is brewed by this brewery, Straffe Hendrik Quadruple. I was very excited to go for the tour!
We signed up for the tour and while we waited we got a Bruges Zot Blonde, their signature beer.
Hey, they collect bottles too! Although their collection is much more impressive than mine.
And finally the tour started! Although, as excited as I was for this tour, I was highly disappointed with how crowded and packed it was. Gone were our little intimate tours when we were in West Flanders. This tour had 30+ people on it! Too crowded to thoroughly enjoy. And people brought screaming children too. Grrr.
They no longer use any of the old equipment, although they hung on to it for the tours to show the evolution of their brewery and the brewing process.
We did get to go quite a few places on the tour and through many rooms, we went up to the roof, and there were hundreds of stairs that we climbed! Some of them were quite steep and small.
After the tour, we headed back down to the tasting room and finally got the Straffe Hendrik Quadruple!
One of my current favorite beers, made even more special since we got to taste it at the brewery! It was wonderful, not served too cold, very dark with dark fruits, currants, raisins, figs, slightly malty bitterness, molasses. Very complex and a treat to enjoy!
Once we left though, we got back out into the heat and the sunshine and our buzz hit us. We needed something to eat! Directly across the square we found a little restaurant that, of course, specialized in waffles!!
Feeling full and on a sugar high we made it across town to the bell tower, The Belfort. It was getting very hot out, around 90 degrees and nowhere has air conditioning. But we were determined to climb the 366 stairs to the top.
The Belfort was originally built in 1240 and the upper portion of the tower was built in the 1480s. It currently has 47 bells.
In the mid levels of the bell tower, were other historic artifacts that gave you a bit better understanding of the history of Bruges. This chest was from the 1250s when the tower was built and had ten locks on it. The keys to the ten locks were distributed to prominent figures in the town, and the chest was only opened on special occasions and contained records and paperwork.
I have to admit, at this point we were hot and tired of walking, so we went back to our hotel for a power nap.
After, we headed back out for drinks and dinner! Again, we had a specific beer bar in mind, ‘t Poatersgat, the monk’s hole.
This place was great! It was so dark and cool compared to outside, and it had wonderful arched brick ceilings. We got there before the rush and so the whole bar was ours!
We ordered a few beers to get started, again, beers that we haven’t seen in the states. Like Moinette, a Belgian Strong Pale Ale by Brasserie Dupont of Tourpes, Belgium at 8.5% abv.
And also the Oude Gueuze Beersel by Brouwerij Oud Beersel of Beersel, Belgium at 6% abv.
The bartender was friendly and awesome and recommended we eat at De Hobbit if we were looking for hearty Belgian fare. And lucky for us we already knew where it was! It was directly across the street from ‘t Bruges Beertje, the bar we had visited the previous night. We had wanted to eat here the night before, but we ran into an American couple who had eaten there and told us it was terrible. I don’t know what they were thinking because it was delicious!! I got the steak.
The menus were so cute too! They were written like news papers, with stories, excerpts, outdated advertisements, and wanted ads sprinkled in with the appetizers and entrees.
Even though we were across from ‘t Bruges Beertje, I couldn’t do any more beer for the day, so sad, we went home and crashed in our food comas.