Breda is right across the Belgian-Dutch border, and they have a nice brewery there, so I’ve wanted to visit it for quite some time. After a couple of futile attempts to find a travel and drinking buddy for this trip, I finally went by myself this random Saturday in February. Only, it turned out to be not just a normal Saturday…
In the south of the Netherlands—Brabant, Gelderland, and Limburg, to be precise—carnival is a kind of a big thing. I should have known it was the opening Saturday of carnival that day, because I grew up in Limburg… However, it had completely slipped my mind. Only after seeing people dressed up on the train platform where I was to take my train into the town centre, it dawned on me…
Third day in Berlin started off with a proper breakfast and a visit to the Deutsches Historisches Museum. Then coffee at 19grams, a trip to the east end of the city, and a stuffed, oven baked potato at Patta, followed by beer, lots of beer… (Hops & Barley, Straßenbräu, Labor Berlin, and Protokoll)
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!
Today we visited the Museo Archeologico di Napoli, to see all the stuff they moved out of Pompeii. As a future archaeologist, learning about the importance of the correct recording of all finds, it is quite frustrating to see that for many of the finds from Pompeii, they now have to guess where exactly it was actually found… Still, nice to see so many famous mosaics and frescoes for real at last!
For lunch we had a real pizza napoletana, and a pizza fritta. Indeed, my Scottish friends: “We’re gonna deep fry your pizzas”, is no threat at all, for the Neapolitans!
After lunch, we did a bit more sightseeing, since we hadn’t seen much of Napoli in daylight yet. Ugly apartment blocks and quadracycles immediately reminded us of Oostende, but we have to admit, the sea view was quite a bit nicer!
Our last stop was NaBeer, one of the newest—and probably smallest—craft beer places in Napoli, serving beers from local brewery VentiTré on draught.
After that it was time to catch our Italo train to Milano. Since the price difference at the time of booking was negligible, we even even had the pleasure of enjoying this almost five hour trip in Prima class!
Once checked in in our Milanese accommodation, we briefly popped out again to visit one of the Birrificio Lambrate bars.
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.
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!
Assuming the BrewDog bars would be too crowded on a Friday night, we decided to spend the evening on the Bermondsey Beer Mile, hoping for slightly fewer people, and to check out a couple of new places.
Since BrewDog got involved in the Hawkes Cidery, we decided to give their craft ciders a try at their taproom. The guys from Anspach & Hobday regularly visit Brussels, now it was our turn to visit them.
London Calling Sweden is a bit special, since their beer isn’t made on the Mile, or even in the UK! It’s brewed by Poppels in Sweden and imported. No brewing in the Moor Beer Company Vaults either, since that’s all done in Bristol, but at least the beer made it to London!
After breakfast at Servini’s, we spent a drizzly Saturday morning at St Fagans National History Museum. An American lunch at The New York Deli and a coffee at Outpost Coffee & Vinyl were to prepare us for the main event of the day: a visit to the Tiny Rebelbrewery!
Our last day in London, our last day of visits to museums, bars and breweries.
We started our day checking out the Old Spitalfields Market, having a pulled pork bagel for breakfast, followed by a last coffee at Nude Espresso.
After the lines at Dennis Severs’ House turned out to be a little too long, we went to the Guildhall Art Gallery, mostly to check out the remains of the Roman amphitheater, underneath the current building.
In the afternoon we visited one last brewery — Anspach & Hobday — and the last BrewDog bar of our trip — BrewDog Soho.
The last underground voyage took a bit longer than foreseen, when there were some problems on the direct line to St Pancras. We made it to our Eurostar well in time in the end, thus concluding this beer-filled London trip.
Lunch at Herman Ze German, to prepare us for another beer-filled afternoon. We went to Partizan Brewing on the Bermondsey Beer Mile, then headed north for the Beavertown brewery.
Nearby we planned to go to a meet-the-brewer event for just a couple of beers, but we ended up going full-on hipster by tasting a few more at Affinity Brew’s tiny container brewery!
Today’s dinner: fish ‘n’ chips at Poppies.
The second part of the day was decidedly more beery…
We had our first beer with a delicious pizza at BrewDog Homerton, the newest addition to the chain in London.
We were told to visit the nearby Howling Hops brewery taproom, and we were happy we did: such a cool place!
Then it was time to properly get started with the Bermondsey Beer Mile. First we went to Fourpure, then Brew By Numbers, and to conclude our first visit, The Bottle Shop, which had a Pressure Drop tap takeover.
For our last tipple we went to BrewDog Shoreditch, within walking distance of our hotel.
After a very warm welcome, a tour of the brewery, and a couple of drinks at Weird Beard, we went to BrewDog Shepherds Bush for a beer and a bite, and to BrewDog Camden for a couple more drinks. A great start of this weekend in London!
We’ve been to London several times before, but usually only as a stop on our way to, or coming back from Scotland. (More about those trips on @kiltedguy), and we’ve never actually spent a weekend in The Big Smoke. Because of this, we have never had the opportunity to visit a brewery there, since they only tend to be open for the public on Saturday, some on Friday or Sunday as well.
That’s all about to change: next week we’ll be heading back to London, to visit a number of breweries on the Bermondsey Beer Mile, and even a couple more. Oh, and some museums and sights as well!
The last museum of our trip was the Museum für Kommunikation.
We then headed south, to the sparkling new Stone brewery. There were no tours of the brewery itself yet, but the “Bistro & Gardens” certainly are impressive already! The garden and indoor space for drinking and dining are huge, and they have fifty beers on draught, most of them brewed there or in the original American Stone brewery.
For dinner we had the über-German fast food: Currywurst.
In a blog named Kilted Guy, it wouldn’t be right to skip the subject of being kilted in Aberdeen.
Usually I change into my kilt once I check into my hotel or hostel, but since we had the convenience of a private cabin in the Caledonian Sleeper, I could just put on my kilt in the morning, before even touching Aberdonian soil.
As usual in Scotland, people never seem to be fazed by the sight of a kilt — unlike in Brussels — and wearing my MacLaren kilt, I never received any remarks about it. Well, the lady at the left luggage facilities at the train station inquired about it, but she seemed to be seizing any opportunity to chat about anything…
During our stay in Aberdeen, we noticed two other kilties. The first one, a guy in his twenties, was wearing his kilt very casual. Read: halfway down his calves, way too low to my taste…
The other one was wearing a beautiful kilt, obviously made by 21st Century Kilts, easily identified by the typical kilt pin. He was wearing it exactly as you see it worn in the ads of the kilt maker, complete with high boots and scrunched down hoses. Now I look at their photos again, it might very well have been the white-bearded guy featuring in a couple of them!
For the Punk AGM I decided to wear my black ‘beer kilt’, complete with BrewDog-bottle-opener-converted-to-kilt-pin. Only minutes after leaving the hotel, someone noticed my BrewDog outfit, and wanted to take a photo of me.
At the AGM, someone else even made close-up shots of my kilt pin!
Then, while I was on my own for a couple of minutes, a Scottish lady — who obviously had a few beers too many already — came up to me to ask me why I was wearing “a schoolgirl’s skirt”! At first I thought it was because my black kilt is not the same high quality and yardage as my MacLaren kilt, and her Scottish eye spotted it was probably made in Pakistan. But no, it was merely because it was black! Apparently, in her mind, only a tartan kilt is a kilt.
I guess even some people in Scotland still have to get accustomed to ‘modern’ kilts…