Craft beer and live music make for a great combination!
I thoroughly enjoyed being at Razernij again, a beer and music festival I had only been able to visit once before. Usually it coincides with BXLBeerFest, but since that sadly was eventually cancelled this year, it freed up some of my time to spend an afternoon in Rumst.
I brought my own version of a ploughman’s platter, to soften the blow of the alcohol a bit. It helped… a bit!
Every once in a while, I run out of frozen meals—prepared by myself earlier, of course—and even Too Good To Go can’t provide me with a suitable meal in time for an upcoming night shift. In those rare cases, I do like a good delivery dinner, but the amount of disposable packaging it usually comes in, can be a real turn-off…
Luckily, SwapBox is now active in Brussels as well, and my favourite Korean fried chicken supplier—Nom Pow—is one of the participating restaurants!
After I’m done, I simply take the bowl home to clean it, and as long as I hand it in a at one of the participating restaurants—so not necessarily the one where I ordered the dish—within two weeks, it won’t cost me anything extra.
The order did still come in a disposable paper bag, though, so I do hope SwapBox will soon add delivery bags to their lineup as well, to make a food delivery truly zero-waste!
The napkin and chopsticks are my own, by the way, and both probably well over thirty years old!
While I’m still awaiting my second vaccination, I continue discovering places in Belgium I haven’t been yet. One that had been on my to-do list for a long time, was the Archéosite d’Aubechies-Beloeil, a site with some archaeological reconstructions from the Neolithicum until the Roman era. I was of course most interested in the latter bit…
So, after an hour on a train, fifteen minutes on a bus, and then another twenty-five minutes on foot, I was finally there!
The outside of the buildings looked nice enough—the temple really reminded me of the time I worked as a volunteer ‘archeotolk’ at Archeon—but unfortunately the inside mostly seems to have been adapted for modern use, like exhibitions and events.
If I ever have a garden, I definitely want a summer triclinium like that!
I’ve started running a little over a year ago, but didn’t have an opportunity to participate in any events: the20K of Brussels was postponed, then cancelled, and even the ‘corona safe’ Run for Nature in the Sonian Forest was cancelled last minute…
When Brewery Run popped up in my timeline, I just had to do it! Travelling to the Netherlands for one of the ‘live’ versions still wasn’t an option, but at least I could do the ‘Virtual Edition’ right at home, in Brussels. So I ordered a ‘ticket’—which included some Dutch beers and a medal/bottle opener—and set out a nice 10K route, visiting eight of Brussels’ breweries.
When in 2020 all bars had to close their doors mere days before Saint Patrick’s Day, I didn’t celebrate it at all. For this year’s edition it was already clear well in advance that celebrating in pubs again wouldn’t be an option… At least I had time to prepare for an alternative this time!
I started the day with a walk—in my saffron kilt—past a lot of the Irish and Celtic pubs of Brussels. Even Manneken Pis was dressed for the occasion!
When I was back home, I started cooking a traditional Irish dish, that would hopefully also provide enough sustenance for the beery night that would ensue: colcannon. I even poached an egg for the first time!
The main event of the evening however, was an online Saint Patrick’s Day celebration which I co-hosted, on the Discordserver I set up for my beer blog. For this occasion I sourced some beers from a couple of different Irish (Third Barrel, Galway Bay, Stone Barrel) and Northern Irish (Boundary) breweries, and the only Irish dry stout by a Brussels brewery: Stouterik!
Tartiflette is actually a French dish, but it’s also a staple at the Christmas market, that under normal circumstances, would have been right in front of my door for the past month. Chêne, a Belgian dubbel by Brussels brewery La Source, fits nicely with the nuttiness of the reblochon cheese, and with the the caramelisation of the bacon.
For dessert I went with oliebollen, a typical Dutch New Year’s Eve delicacy. Unlike the Belgian deep fried dough balls smoutebollen, these have raisins and currants in them, which I off course soaked in beer first!
With this sugar and fat overload, I had to choose a beer with enough character to withstand this sensory overload, so I picked OverWorks‘ Hocus Pocus, a 10.1% sour stout with raspberries and cocoa nibs, aged in Speyside whisky barrels. It was like having a raspberry-chocolate sauce on the side!
No hours spent on trains and buses on Christmas Day this year, the Corona restrictions and common sense made it impossible to travel to the Netherlands to spend Christmas with my family… Instead, I just made the best of it alone at home, trying to recreate a family Christmas as much as possible.
It started of course with a Christmas brunch! I didn’t go through the trouble of creating some—impossible to find here—Limburgish sausage rolls, but just baked some croissants, and had a couple of slices of Christmas stollen.
The previous day I baked my very own kersttulband for the very first time, and it turned out quite well!
Obviously I had to make Christmas dinner myself as well, if I wanted to have a meal at least similar to that of my family. I also set up my computer, so I could at least virtually pull up a chair and sit down at the family table.
In a few blog posts I’ve already mentioned I’m a BrewDog Equity Punk. This means I’ve invested a couple of pounds in BrewDog, and own some equity shares in the Scottish craft beer brewer and bar operator. Since they’ve just launched another round of Equity for Punks, and it’s announced to be the very last, I thought I’d share a thing or two about it, and maybe entice you to seize this final opportunity to become an Equity Punk yourself!
Of course, I’m not being entirely selfless here: if you invest using the button below this post, there might be a couple of beers and goodies in it for me…