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March 2006 - Belgium - Brussels, Brugge, Poperinge, Westlvteren
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March 28th, 2006 -- You know it happens to the best of us. One day we found ourselves at work, day dreaming a little and the next thing you know you're searching for airplane flights and the rest. Usually nothing comes of it, but this time I found tickets to Brussels for $450 (with everything). This was one thing I couldn't refuse. So I spent 2 days flying and spent 3 whirlwind days in Belgium. For those of you thinking of going, I really can't say enough good about it. I also enjoyed using the country's remarkably efficient train system to get around. A little bit of planning can get you lots of places. These are the pics. (Thanks go to Darren Nightingale, Matt Stinchfield, Rich Pedersen and others for their assistance in planning and directions)

Picture Index (By Location)
Beersel (Drie Fonteinen) | Brussels | Brugge (De Halve Maan) | Brugge | Poperinge (Westvleteren) And The Haul

My first full day and last evening were spent wandering the lower old city of Brussels. But the very first order of business was to take advantage of the Belgian train system and the ease of getting out to the small suburb of Beersel on a Friday to have lunch and a bit of a tour at Drie Fonteinen, a small lambic brewery producing a wonderful product. Thanks to Darren (aka The Long Beach Bum) for his advice in getting here.
The town of Beersel is a classic little Belgian village with a small town square dominated by the local church. Nice thing in Belgium though is that often one finds a church here and across the way...
a nice little cafe, home of Drie Fonteinen (3 Fountains), a newish small lambic producer that's long on tradition. They produce a range of complex, but easily approachable lambics that hold treats for both the experienced and lambic newbie.
There's a big room with lots of dining space for folks next to the small bar of the cafe. Walking uphill from the tiny little train station it was lightly drizzling, so I grabbed a table in the side room right next to the large fireplace.
If you leave the cafe and walk around the corner, you'll come upon the brewery and it's bottle shop that sells a wide slate of their products. But if you blink, you'll miss it. The front room has enough room for 3 people between the bottles, but it opens right onto the brewery. When I showed up the brewer, Armand, wasn't available, but the staff let me wander briefly, but couldn't answer any brewing questions.
The Brewery has 3 levels, with the HLT and Boiler and the Coolship up on the top level.
A much smaller version of a coolship for dropping the temperature of the boiling wort. Unlike Cantillon, this coolship is not exposed to the outdoors.
The fermentation room with the barrels is on the lowest level and behind a closed door. The aroma in here was fairly clean and earthy, no sharp acetic aroma.
Just like a lot of these breweries, things are far from a massively machined effort. Drie Fontienen is unusual in that they have a labelling machine, even if it is still hand operated.
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Page Last Modified: March 29 2006 02:59:17.