It was already a while ago since I’ve last taken a train, quite possibly it was my trip to Breda, but finally I found myself in one again, albeit quite an empty train, and masked all the time… But the borders are open again, even for tourism, so I decided to go to Rotterdam again, where a new BrewDog bar opened, quite courageously in the middle of the corona crisis.
Fourth day in Berlin. Mainly recovering from the third day (breakfast at Cô Côwas helpful, as was our dinner at Altes Europa), but also check off some more bars from our list (Stone Brewing Tap Room & Mikkeller), and say our goodbyes to BrewDog Berlin Mitte.
Our second day in Berlin was all about BrewDog’s first European AGM. You can’t start a day like that without a proper foundation, so we started off with a real Berliner döner kebap at Rüyam Gemüse Kebab!
After a broken down ICE train, we arrived in Berlin an hour later than planned. Still, after checking into our easyHotel Berlin, we had time for a quick drink at BrewDog Berlin Mitte, before having a delicious dinner at Chicago Williams BBQ.
Today we left Bologna early in the morning to spend the day in Firenze. Starting with another NannyBag drop off, in a hotel this time, where they even lent us an umbrella for the day when it started pouring down right when we were about to leave.
The tickets for the Galleria dell’Accademia we’re already sold out when I tried to book them two months ago, and the line at the ticket booth went all around the block, so we just had a look at the David in front of the Palazzo Vecchio instead.
After not even being able to sit down for coffee, and having our panino co i’ lampredotto standing up as well, we decided to visit BrewDog Firenze a bit earlier than planned, just to get out of the rain! After a couple of beers and a nice chat with the staff and other beer geeks, it stopped raining, so we could continue our tour of Firenze.
We also visited the Palazzo Pitti, were the lines were remarkably short for a museum with great interior decorations, and paintings from both Flemish and Italian masters.
To conclude the afternoon we went to Archea Brewery, which turned out to be more a nice bar, than an actual brewery.
For dinner we went to Osteria Del Cinghiale Bianco to try two other florentine specialties: papardelle al Cinghiale and bistecca alla Fiorentina. It tasted as good as it looks!
After the exchanging the umbrella for our bag again, we took the Frecciabianca train to Rome.
After arriving at our B’n’B Rhome86, we nipped out again for a nightcap at BrewDog Roma.
On our day in Bologna we had our first real Italian breakfast: caffè and some sweet pastry standing at the bar.
After that we headed into town, but we seemed to have forgotten to account for Monday being a closing day for some museums… Still, we enjoyed visiting the Biblioteca Comunale dell’Archiginnasio and it’s Teatro Anatomico and the part of the Museo Civico Archeologico that was still open.
For lunch, we had to have a piadina at La Tua Piadina, and we didn’t regret that decision at all!
After spending some time in the student neighbourhood and the farmers’ market that happened to be there, we went to one of the two Zapap TapRooms.
For dinner we went to Ranzani 13, a name we knew from events at Moeder Lambic and BXLBeerFest. We were quite—positively—surprised to be served something quite different from the pizzas usually served at those events!
In the evening we went to beer bar Il Punto—they surely love Belgian beers there—and BrewDog Bologna again. We didn’t understand much of the stand-up comedians performing, but the atmosphere and beers were great!
After having breakfast in the train, we arrived in Venice, with a slight delay, but not bad for a 14 hour train ride. The moment we left the train station, we were astonished by the crowds we immediately ran into! After we dropped our bag off at another NannyBag location, we made our way to the San Marco square the only way one should: by boat.
The lines at the Palazzo Ducale were already crazily long, and considering we didn’t have that much time left before lunch, we instead just strolled through the city, through tourist-free streets, where possible.
For lunch I had already booked a table at Taverna Scalinetto well in advance, and there on their backyard terrace amidst locals instead of tourists, we very much enjoyed local specialties bigoli in salsa and fegato alla veneziana con polenta.
In the afternoon we payed the Scuola Grande Di San Rocco a visit: no lines at all.
Our last port of call was beer bar Il Santo Bevitore, where we had some beers on the waterside.
It was then time to move on to the city we will spend the next two nights: Bologna.
After checking into our B’n’B, we tried some classics from the region in Trattoria Da Me: tortellini in brodo, and lasagna alla bolognese.
A quick visit to BrewDog Bologna, and then off to bed!
The first day of a trip is always such a busy day, especially if you want to make the most of the stops along the way. It started off quite relaxed though, comfortably waiting for our train in the Thalys Lounge.
Once arrived in Paris, we dropped off our bag at a NannyBag point, and continued to the first BrewDog bar in France: BrewDog Le Marais.
After lunch, we went for coffee at Ob-La-Di, and stocked up on cheese at Fromagerie Jouannault.
Our only real French beer bar of the day was Hoppy Corner, but it didn’t disappoint! A bit less French, but on our list anyway, were BBP – Pigalle and Mikkeller Bar Paris.
In the end, we had to hurry a bit to catch our Thello sleeper train, but we made it!
An important part of this trip, is visiting newly opened craft beer destinations, which leads us to the southern part of London.
But first: coffee, at Federation Coffee this time. Then it’s time to collect a stamp and have some beers at BrewDog Brixton, until yesterday, BrewDog’s newest bar in London.
Anspach & Hobday only had their brewery taproom, until recently, but now they have The Pigeon, a pop-up bar serving a lot of their own beers, and a nice range of beers from other interesting breweries. And while we were down there, we visited the new Brew By Numbers taproom and Brick Brewing as well!
After the festivities in Paddington, we headed back to East London to grab a bite, and to finally check into our hotel—hub by Premier Inn—but only to drop off our bags… The night was still young, so we visited one more bar to have a few more beers.
We’ve been to quite a few BrewDog bars, and even have one in our home city, but somehow we’ve never been to an official opening night or EFP preview. Until now, that is: by sheer luck, BrewDog Paddington is opening during our visit to London, and we’re on the guest list for the special EFP preview tonight!
When we left London last time we visited it, we already knew we had to return soon, to get a stamp from then-about-to-open BrewDog Canary Wharf. However, a lot can change in half a year, and now we have not one, but three new BrewDog bars to visit—one of which will have its official opening during our visit! Apart from that, we also hope to have some drinks in the new Mikkeller bar, and the Anspach & Hobday pop-up The Pigeon.
Last year’s arduous bus journey was an effective reminder to book our train tickets earlier this time, and after taking advantage of a New Year’s offer, this must be one of our cheapest Eurostar trips so far!
The last day in London, time for one more BrewDog bar to complete the challenge!
So we had brunch in BrewDog Shoreditch, to recover a bit from the previous day, and we received the coveted ninth stamp. We decided not to claim the pint of Punk IPA we had earned straight away—it was still a bit early for pints—but to save it for whenever we can visit the soon-to-be-opened BrewDog Canary Wharf. That way, we can sort of earn the Big Smoke Badge twice, making it 10 bars out of 10!
We started our day in BrewDog Tower Hill, the biggest bar in the chain, since it opens earlier than any other, and it serves breakfast. Bacon rolls for the win!
Another attraction of the bar is the full-size brewing installation, technically making this the only—at least for now—BrewDog brewpub. Since the beers brewed there are only available in that bar, we had to try some, even if it wasn’t even noon yet…
Since we didn’t want all of our trip to be about beer, we also visited the National Gallery. There were so many paintings there I had to learn about for an exam just a couple of weeks ago! For instance: these Bathers, the first by Paul Cézanne, the second by Georges Seurat.
To start, we wanted to get some of the more remote bars done, so first up was the most southern BrewDog bar in London: BrewDog Clapham Junction.
We arrived mere minutes after they opened, but the welcome couldn’t have been warmer! We had some pizza to prepare us for an evening of beer, later topped up with some crack fries in the most western bar, BrewDog Shepherds Bush.
BrewDog Camden just underwent a ten day refurbishment, but luckily for us, it reopened tonight, reason for a big party. Unfortunately, they had some trouble with a few beers on tap, and the stamp was nowhere to be found…
The last bar of the day is the first one we hadn’t actually visited before: BrewDog Angel. In this bar there are some home brew kits one can use to brew their own beer, but for the occasion of a Two Tribes Tap Takeover, a professional brewer had taken over the mash paddle. Even before we had our drinks, we were given the grand tour, and invited to participate in the brewing process.