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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:

Back to the ‘Dams

My little autumn break wasn’t quite over yet, after my Warszawa-Berlin trip, so on Friday I went to both Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

For the long stretch Brussels-Amsterdam, I used up all my Thalys points—mostly earned by filling out questionnaires—for the high speed option. Although officially the company is Eurostar now, my train was still adorned with the Thalys branding.

After my morning commitments—my trip wasn’t all leisure—I stopped at Quartier Putain for a coffee and a piece of apple pie. I’m not sure if that name would go down well in cities where they actually speak French!

By then it was time to discover the newest addition to BrewDog‘s portfolio of bars: BrewDog Amsterdam Centraal! It opened just a week before, when I was about a 1000 km east from here, so I missed the EFP opening, unfortunately… The shipload of EFPs—literally, since they had organised a communal ferry crossing for the opening—didn’t drink the bar dry though, and they even had one beer on draught I hadn’t had yet!

It was only around lunch time, but the bar was packed, the staff seemed to be well-trained, and handled the crowd well. Apart from a couple of beers, I had the Cluck & Satay Skewer. It’s always nice to have something ‘local’ on the food menu of a BrewDog bar!

Just before leaving, I also had a nice chat with franchisee Peter, who seemed to be confident he had found a great location for the bar. I can’t disagree with him: located right within Amsterdam Central Station, it will definitely one I’ll be visiting more often!

From the bar to the train platform was only a couple of minutes’ walk, and soon I was off to my next destination: Rotterdam!

The BrewDog Outpost Rotterdam was the only BrewDog bar in the Benelux participating in this year’s edition of Collabfest, so if I wanted to taste any of the beers, I had to make a stop there. Not every bar get’s all beers, but the selection in Rotterdam was great. As it turns out, it even included the highest rated beer, which was Rotterdam’s own collaboration with the Moersleutel: the K9 Chocolate Stout – Brewdog Rotterdam Outpost Collab!

After trying almost all the Collabfest beers, and a few others, it was time to go back to the gorgeous Rotterdam Central train station, and catch the train home again…

My Belgian Summer Holiday – Ghent

One of the last destinations with my Off-Peak Unlimited train ticket, was Ghent. I originally planned to go there on a Thursday, but I was unexpectedly called in to work, but this Wednesday was the only full free day I had, and all the bars I intended to go to, seemed to be open.

However, I didn’t check the museums, and as it turns out, Wednesday is a closing day for most museums in Ghent… So after walking to STAM, the city museum of Ghent, in vain, my first stop was then Koffeine, for some coffee and cheesecake.

A bit earlier than planned, I then continued my sunny and scenic walk to Dok Brewing Company for my first beers of the day. This taproom was actually the only one of my beer stops open this early, so I took my time to enjoy my beers, while waiting to move on to the a new bar.

Well, Café De Welkom might be new, but it used to be Brouwbar before. Now it is kind of the city centre taproom of Dok Brewing Company, and they completely overhauled the place. There are considerably fewer taps with beer here than in the actual brewery taproom, so if you’re keen on trying new beers, it’s best to go to the centre bar before you head over to the docks…

For dinner I went to Faja Lobi, originally a Surinamese restaurant, but over the years several cultures and styles have influenced the menu. But put anything with peanut sauce on the menu, and I’ll have that! So I had the chicken satays with spicy peanut sauce, with rice and salad. The drink I had with it was dawet, a quite tasty coconut milk based drink.

I then passed by Huzaar, which would have been another new bar for me, but it was unfortunately closed for some reason, so that discovery will have to wait until another time. Inevitably the next and last bar then was Bar Beenhouwer, with a banging beer list as usual!

From there I walked back to the station, to go home. Just one more mini-trip to go!

My Belgian+ Summer Holiday – Lille

So today’s trip was to Lille, called Rijsel in Dutch, or in this case more correctly, in Flemish. Because although technically Lille is not in Belgium—hence the “+” in the title of this post—it’s in Flanders nevertheless. Lille is in French Flanders to be exactly, which used to be a part of the historical County of Flanders. While it has been a part of the Southern Netherlands for a while, it eventually ended up as a part of France in 1659.
However, to some extent, apparently Flemish is still spoken here, although I haven’t seen or heard any proof of that on this trip…

My Off-Peak Unlimited train ticket was of course not valid for the border crossing, but the international add-on was only a couple of euros extra. With a fifteen minute delay—vandals messed up the signalling system—my train arrived in Lille-Flandres, a train station that was way bigger than I expected!

My first stop was of course at a coffee bar, Coffee Makers in this case, for an espresso macchiato and some banana bread.

Since my Museum Pass isn’t valid here, and I hadn’t been in Lille as an adult yet, for as far as I can remember, I just played tourist for a while. Of course, I had to visit the citadel of Lille as well. This fortress was built between 1667 and 1670, designed by Vauban, a French military engineer, apparently considered the greatest engineer of his time. Unfortunately, it’s closed to the public, because it is still in military use: it’s home to the Rapid Reaction Corps-France. From the outside, it doesn’t look like much, but just check out what it looks like from above!

From there I strolled past the future location of BBP Lille. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but it’s a really nice building!

My first actual beer stop was at Beer Square, right next to the quite peculiar Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Treille: modern in the front, old everywhere else.

Even though it was still quite early, the high ABV beers I consumed necessitated a food stop at Friterie Meunier. Their specialty is all kinds of croquettes, and they were tasty indeed!

The next beery stop was then the hôp[i] microbrewery. I loved their beers, the selection of guest beers, and the art on the walls!

After a short stop at La Ressourcerie, I then went to the highlight of the evening, La Capsule. I could easily have spent the rest of my evening here!

I didn’t want to risk missing my train home though, so I went back to Lille-Flanders train station, only to find my planned train had been cancelled…
There was a train to Mouscron however, and from there, it was a direct train to Brussels!

That’s another adventure in the bag, next up: the Hopz beer festival in Hamont-Achel! (Although I doubt that warrants a blog post, since I won’t see much apart from the beer festival itself. The next post will probably be about Bruges!)

Brussel Breweries Tattoo Tour 2023

When I just had my Brussels breweries tattoo in 2022, featuring my seven favourite local breweries, I celebrated the occasion by visiting them all in one epic taproom crawl
Because that first edition was such a success, on the first Saturday after the 15th of June—the date I got my tattoo in 2022—I did it again!

This time around I was a little bit better prepared, and had stamp cards printed in advance, as well as iron-on patches, and stickers.

Again, there was a great turnout, and four people made it all the way to the end with me, two of them for the second time!

Mark your calendars for next year: the Brussel Breweries Tattoo Tour 2024 will be on Saturday the 15th of June 2024!