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March 2006 - Belgium - Brugge (De Halve Maan)
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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 (at Night) | Brugge (De Halve Maan) | Brugge | Poperinge (Westvleteren) And The Haul

From Brussels, it was onto Brugge. A very interesting and touristy town and well worth a visit. There's lot to be read about on the web about Brugge, but the short story is that it's a town that time and money forgot and now they take advantage of it. This is the quintessial town in Europe to understand what a town in the 1600's and 1700's would have looked like.
The one and only picture you'll actually see of me on this trip. Ran into a nice British family and asked nicely if they'd take my picture with the Half Moon statue outside of De Halve Maan brewery. The brewery was most famous for producing Straffe Hendrik. According to the tour, Straffe Hendrik is now part of another brewery with a new beer (Bruges Zot) being produced out of this small brewery with the rest of the location serving as a cafe and brewery museum with tours run often during the day in English/Dutch/French.
The cafe courtyard leads to this door. The red pipe is the exhaust from the brewery.
You get a free beer after your tour, but I couldn't wait, so I grabbed a glass of the Bruges Zot Brune before the tour gathered to leave. The Blonde would wait until the finish of the tour (and a good thing too with some of the steep crazy staircases there were to navigate on the tour.)
The brew deck, full of fancy levers and whatnot. Built in the early 80's (if I remember correctly), the system is built like a number of traditional breweries in Belgium. The mash tun, on the right, is also the boil kettle. The lauter tun, on the left, is used to separate the wort. The HLT is located upstairs and behind the camera is the post boil whirlpool.
A closeup of the Brewing Kettle "Braukessel". Oddly, this one is a big rectangle as opposed to the usual cylindrical vessels.
As you head up a small flight of stairs out of the modern brewery to the museum. Here you see an old brewery vessel rehabbed to be their modern boiler. Behind it is the old brewery chimney.
Outside in the courtyard you can see the modern brew tanks. Look famaliar don't they. (Wait till later to see them here)
This is the old mash tun that was in use in the brewery until the new system came into place. Like Brasserie Vapeur, it was run by a steam engine or stirred by hand with the mash rakes seen here.
As opposed to the new fangled tanks outside, here you see the older copper open fermenters with a water pipe designed to regulate the fermenter temp. Interestingly, the tour guide related that in the days of yore they would skim the yeast to give to the brewery workers for nutrition.
The old lagering tanks from the 20's. There's no temperature regulation on these tanks as they're in the core of the building where it's solidly cold through the whole year.
Here's the malt room and now packaging display for the brewery. This is right underneath the old copper coolship. Unfortunately, we weren't able to go visit the coolship because the platform was being rehabed at visit time.
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Page Last Modified: March 29 2006 04:11:24.