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Tag: Belgium

Brussel Breweries Tattoo Tour 2024

The infamous Brussel Breweries Tattoo Tour was exactly on the birthday of my breweries tattoo this year, the 15th of June. Like for the first and second edition, the turnout for this third edition was great!

In the end, three persons managed to visit and drink in all seven breweries, although in a slightly different order than myself: two needed to catch a train, so squeezed in Surréaliste somewhere in the middle, and another had to go to a concert, so he did the same with La Mule, the then join me again in the last brewery. They truly earned their patch!

And some more photos by Hannah:

New Spring Beer Festivals

The beer festival season has well and truly started for me! After a very enjoyable trip to CBFS24 in Stuttgart in February, I visited two more beer festivals in Belgium I had never been to yet: The Beer Experience in Zolder, and Fest’IPA in Namur.

The Beer Experience – 24-25 March 2024

First up was The Beer Experience, which I visited on the 23rd of March. I arrived quite late—it was a two train trip, all the way to Zolder—so it was in full swing by the time I entered. There were lots of familiar faces, bot among the visitors and the stand holders, but more importantly, also a lot of breweries I hadn’t tried any beers of yet!

The location was quite special—an old mining site—and I didn’t quite get around to exploring all of it. Neither did I had the time to ‘experience’ all aspects of the festival fully, with its art exhibits spread out over the buildings, since there were simply too many beers to try! I did get to enjoy some of the live music, though!

This definitely is a festival I will visit again, and allow a bit more time for next time!

I also skipped the food trucks for once, since I had my heart set on something I can only get the way I want it in Limburg, it seems: a döner kebab in Turkish bread that doesn’t get squished in a panini grill, and with green peppers on the side. The appropriately named snack bar De Mijn had exactly that!

After a beer festival, train trips with a change to get home are always a bit risky, but I didn’t miss any connections, and made it back to Brussels without a hitch.

Fest’IPA – 19-20 April 2024

The next discovery was Fest’IPA in Namur. I already discovered that Namur has something to offer for beer lovers, but I hadn’t been to any events here yet. Fest’IPA is an event by Namur Capitale de la Bière, the organisation behind the festival with the same name, but also some other beer events in the city.

The location for the festival—La Nef—was already quite special. It was in fact the desecrated Notre-Dame church of Namur, but a lot of the artwork was still in place.

No entrance fee, no tokens, just one bar with six beer pumps and a couple of fridges. Apparently that’s all you need, since I had a great time tasting some of the beers they had selected. If I didn’t have to get up early the next morning, I would happily have spent a couple of hours more!

So that’s another, completely different, beer festival to look out for next year!

Music, Running & Beer

The Three Leaves of my Saint Patrick’s Day Shamrock

I’ve been organising a Saint Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl for years now, in one form or another. At some point this endeavour became more craft beer focused, and the last couple of years, a run became part of the tradition as well. This year, live music was added to the mix, as a third part of the trinity.

Saint-Patrick’s Warm Up at Magasin4

The musical part actually started a week in advance already, with a concert of the French female Celtic rock band Toxic Frogs, and the Belgian Celtic punk rock band Black Tartans, and a happy reunion with a friend I hadn’t seen for a long time. Although Magasin4 announced it as a Saint-Patrick’s Warm Up event, I decided to wear my black kilt, which better fitted the not-quite-Irish groups and music.

Beer of the evening: Zinnebir!

The Celtic Seven at Brasserie de la Mule

On the eve of Saint Patrick’s Day Brasserie de la Mule invited The Celtic Seven to perform. Surprisingly, most of their songs were in French—how Irish even is Les lacs du Connemara?—but there were a lot more green clothes in the audience and amongst the staff! This time I actually did wear my saffron kilt!

As Brasserie de la Mule is specialised in German beers, that was what I drank that evening.

BMPH³ Trail 1924 – Saint Patrick’s Day Trail!

Only slightly hungover, a little after noon on Sunday—actual Saint Patrick’s Day— I headed over to Demey metro station a to run the BMPH³ Saint Patrick’s Day Trail. Plenty of green on this trail, since those who didn’t wear any green risked getting a very unpleasant ‘down down’. Exceptionally, we had to provide our own beer for circle, so I brought some beers actually from Ireland, one by Kinnegar (from Letterkenny, County Donegal) and the other one by Brehon (from Inniskeen, County Monaghan)!

Saint Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl – Craft Beer Edition

After a shower and a change, it was time for the highlight of the celebrations: the pub crawl! Once again, no bars seemed to be actually importing any Irish beers this year, so we tried to just stick to beers in Irish styles—actually just Irish dry stout—and the bars serving those beers.

First up was BBP Bailli! Ever since they opened, they’ve been serving the MC Nitro Stout, in memory of the Michael Collins bar that used to be in that location. We had it last year on the pub crawl, and fully expected it to be available this Saint Patrick’s Day as well. However, as it turns out, the beer was discontinued last year… They did have Oatly Stout though, so that hd to do. Will this then have been the last time BBP Bailli was included in the Saint Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl?

The next bar was Moeder Lambic Original, where I was hoping to find some Stouterik, or even some stouts by The Kernel! No such luck, so to stay on the black stuff, I went for Dupont’s Monk’s Stout, and when that keg was finally empty, the brand spanking new San Francisco Porter by De Ranke.

The last planned stop was L’Ermitage Saint-Gilles, where they had Ceallach, an Irish stout they made in collaboration with the Irish brewery Land & Labour, from Galway. Unfortunately they closed over an hour early, thereby sadly cutting our pub crawl short…

Next year Saint Patrick’s Day will be on a Monday, which will pose a challenge again!

CBFS24 & Frankfurt HHH

It has been a while since I have been on a trip worth blogging about, but last weekend I travelled more than 1000 km on trains, providing me with plenty of things to show and tell… My main destination was Stuttgart, for the CBFS24 – Craft Beer Festival Stuttgart. Since I would never be able to be back in time in Brussels for the BMPH3 hash on Sunday, and I had to change trains in Frankfurt am Main anyway, I decided to run with the Frankfurt Hash House Harriers instead.

Warszawa & Berlin – Day 0

On the European Sleeper!

European Sleeper logo

Just a day after European Sleeper announced it will soon continue to their originally announced destination Prague, I find myself on one of their trains to Berlin.

European Sleeper: route Brussels - Berlin

After a slightly confusing boarding experience—carriage 1 was not at the front where it should be—I settled in my room for the night.

Stewardess—yes, that is how they call themselves on the European Sleeper!—Caroline then explained to me how everything worked, prepared my bed already—since I don’t really need three seats for just myself anyway—and brought me my welcome drink, a European Sleeper Weizen.

Of course I brought some more beers and snacks for the rest of the journey myself! For entertainment, I had downloaded some films and series on my iPad, since the current sleeper service doesn’t offer any WiFi.

Arrival in Berlin tomorrow will be quite early—shortly after six —so Caroline will bring me my breakfast and tea around that time, as soon as I open my room door. I’ll add photos of that in the morning!