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Tag: craft beer

Wien, Bayern & Berlin Reise – 3

A Castle and a Curtain Call

Today I went full-on tourist again! After breakfast, and a first wake-up coffee at Coffee Junkie, I went to Schloss Schönbrunn, on the western outskirts of Vienna. Quite popular and busy, but worth it nevertheless. Unfortunately it was not allowed to take photos from the inside…

For lunch I went back to the centre, to Bier & Bierli, for some Gröstl, a Tiroler specialty.

Since I was a bit ahead of schedule, I went for another coffee, at Kaffeefabrik this time, and some Kaiserschmarrn at Café Museum. It didn’t quite live up to my childhood memories, but at least I could cross it off my list…

By then it was almost time for a guided tour—by an actual person this time—of the Wiener Staatsoper. I just missed out on a performance of Die Zauberflöte, so I’ll have to come back for that another time.

By then it was beer o’ clock, so I went to brewpub 1516 Brewing Company to get me started.

After that I really started to deviate from my plans, since I somehow missed my next stop wasn’t open on Mondays, and the one after that only served beers I already had before. So earlier than expected, I ended up at Statt-Beisl im WUK. The last planned beer stop of the evening was achtundzwanzig, basically the taproom of Brew Age.

Although the Kaiserschmarrn kept me filled up for quite a while, I really needed some sustenance after that last barleywine… So I indulged in another Viennese staple: Wurst. I looked up where I could get a decent one nearby, and ended up at the Wiener Würstelstand. It definitely did the trick…

Getting up early for my train to Munich the next day, so after that, I called it a night.

Wien, Bayern & Berlin Reise – 2

On On Vindobona!

On this not so sunny Sunday, after a typical Austrian breakfast of Kaiserbrötchen, I went on a little audio-guided walk, leading me to some Art Nouveau / Jugendstil / Secession buildings.

I eventually ended up at Hotel Sacher for—of course—a piece of Sachertorte and an Anna Kaffee, a coffee with egg liqueur and cream. Somehow I managed to just beat the crowds: I only had about four people in front of me in the queue, while by the time I left, the line was at least twenty persons long…

The afternoon was reserved for hashing, so I went back to the hotel to change into my running kilt, and take the metro and train to a station a little outside of Vienna, where the Vindobona Hash House Harriers would start their trail today. As expected, it was great fun, although the trail was challenging at times. Who would have thought Austria is hilly?

After a tasty Thai dinner, I headed back to the hotel for a shower, and to get ready for some more bars. On the program tonight: Brauhund and Hawidere!

Wien, Bayern & Berlin Reise – 1

Welcome to Wien!

With just a slight delay—just twenty minutes—I arrived in Vienna. After a quick checkin and shower at the Ibis hotel, I was already back on schedule.

Usually I like to start with a visit to the city museum to get a general overview of the history of the city, but unfortunately, Vienna’s city museum was closed for renovations. So instead, I went to Time Travel Vienna, one of those places with animatronic puppets, 3D films, and special effects. This one even had pyrotechnics at the end! But I must admit, since I’m a sucker for reconstructions—wether it is built, drawn, or computer generated—I actually quite enjoyed it!

After that it was time for lunch already, and I simply had to start with a classic Wienerschnitzel. Figlmüller seemed like the perfect place to have one, and considering the queue, I did well making a reservation well in advance!

For my after lunch coffee I went to Fenster Cafe for something quite peculiar: coffee from a chocolate lined ice-cream cone. It was nice being able to eat the ‘cup’ after emptying it, but I’ve been picking chocolate out of my ‘stache until hours later!

Since Vienna actually is actually a stop on my—‘temporarily’ on hold—Limes Route cycling tour, I had to visit the Römermuseum, of course. It even had some excavations of ancient Vindobona in the cellar.

I then actually wanted to visit Cafe Central to sit in the same seats as Trotski and Freud, but there were really long queues here as well, and this time, I didn’t have a reservation. So I went to CaffèCouture instead, for a proper, no-nonsense cortado.

After a quick stop to buy some Lederhosen—you’ll see them later—it was finally time for some Austrian beer! First stop: Mel’s Craft Beers.

The next beer stop was at the—undoubtably heavily BrewDog inspired—Hefebrüder, where I had a pizza as well.

Now, usually I avoid drinking Belgian beer abroad: why pay more for something you can have cheaper and fresher at home? However, today was Zwanze Day, and Ammutsøn was the only bar in Vienna joining in the celebrations. Admittedly, it was a lot more expensive to try the new Zwanze beer than it would have been in Brussels, but it was so nice to meet fellow Cantillon enthousiasts, and try the beer at the same time as my friends in Brussels.

The last stop of the night was at Beaver Brewing Company, luckily not far from my hotel…

Wien, Bayern & Berlin Reise – 0

ÖBB Nightjet Brussels – Wien

For the first time ever, I can take a sleeper train right right from my home town of Brussels! This ÖBB Nightjet is taking me all the way to Austria’s capital Wien, in one easy ride.

I just missed out on being able to book an Deluxe room with en suite, but the toilet at the end of the carriage is clean so far, and after arrival I can go straight to the hotel for my morning shower.

Contrary to the sleeper trains I’ve used so far, the Nightjet is in day mode at departure—so normal seats and a roomy table—and the beds are only made later on. That means I could comfortably have my Too Good To Go dinner first, and a couple of train beers while watching some Netflix. I had to bring my own cooler bag with ice packs though, since fridges aren’t really common on trains in this part of the world…

It’s about time to turn in, if I want to get up early enough for breakfast, of which I will add the photos to this blog post once I have them.

Goodnight!

Addendum: breakfast!

Brussels Breweries Tattoo Tour

For quite some while, I had been pondering getting a tattoo celebrating my love for some of the Brussels breweries. After mailing back and forth with the tattoo artist—Laïs at Koko Tattoo Shop—and a project discussion in person, I finally had it done mid June. After three hours on the table, I had a beautiful tattoo on my left triceps, featuring seven of my favourite breweries in Brussels: Cantillon, Brasserie de la Senne, La Source, L’Ermitage, La Mule, Surréaliste, and—being a pure brewpub, the odd one out—Mazette.

To celebrate my new tattoo, I decided to try to visit and have a beer in all of those breweries in one epic taproom crawl! I puzzled an itinerary together, created a Facebook event to invite some drinking buddies along, and I even had a T-shirt printed for the occasion… A healthy breakfast pizza to line the stomach, a cold brew tonic to fully wake up, and I was ready to start…

Cantillon (planned 15.30, but arrived at 15.20)

I arrived at the first stop, Cantillon, a little ahead of schedule, and ordered a bottle of Menu Pineau (2020) to get started. I asked for two glasses with it, since only one person confirmed her presence from the start. Imagine my surprise when somebody else already turned up first, and just before I actually planned on moving on, two more people I didn’t expect to join that early. So by the end of the second bottle, there were already five of us!

L’Ermitage (planned 16.15, arrived 16.45)

At the second stop, l’Ermitage, a sixth drinker was already waiting for us. To make up for the slow start, we stuck to only one beer at this taproom.

Mazette (planned 17.15, arrived 18.00)

Brasserie de la Senne (planned 18.45, arrived 19.00)

Almost made up for the delay, and just in time, since the Zenne Bar actually closes at 20.00. After saying goodbye to one participant in the previous bar, we welcomed a new on here, so the number stayed at six drinkers.

La Source Beer Co (planned 19.45, arrived 20.00)

At the fifth stop we could start to relax a little, since none of the remaining taprooms close early. So plenty of time for more than one or two beers… We were also joined by a seventh person.

Brasserie de la Mule (planned 21.15, arrived 21.55)

There was a band playing at La Mule, because they were celebrating their birthday. Live music here usually means beer from plastic cups only, but this evening at least then made an exception for one liter Maß glasses…

Brasserie Surréaliste (planned 22.45, arrived 23.15)

The very last stop, number seven! Five brave souls actually made it from the very first until the very last brewery, and they have the stamp cards to prove it!

It was great fun, and actually quite doable, so… maybe I’ll make this an annual thing?


Razernij – Beerdrinkers & Hellraisers

After a crazy Friday like that, the weekend had only just started, and on Saturday I went to the beer and punk/rock/metal music festival Razernij in Rumst. It luckily didn’t coincide with BXLBeerFest—which it often had in the past—and it was a lot dryer than last year!

Belgian & Dutch Nash Hash

Belgian Nash Hash 2022

In one of my FyneFest Trip posts I mentioned how the Glasgow H3 gave me a hash name. I also mentioned my home kennel—BMPH³—might have to say a thing or two about that…

Well, the weekend after my return from Scotland, it was already time for the Belgian Nash Hash: a yearly, weekend long event for Hash House Harriers, organised by a kennel of the eponymous country, but open to hashers from all over the world. When I arrived at the checkin, I did in fact receive a badge with my new name, but—ominously—with an asterisk next to it…

So after quite a bit of running—and a bit of beer drinking—in the beautiful Condroz, I was called into Circle. There I was confronted with what had happened in Glasgow, and as expected, the RA and the rest of BMPH³ didn’t agree with it, and deemed I needed a new hash name. After some debating, in true courtroom style, I was eventually found Kilty as Charged, which will henceforth be my hash name. The official naming that ensued, involved quite a bit of beer and flour… A lot more than in Glasgow, where, by the way, I will always remain Out of Kilter!

Dutch Nash Hash 2022

A couple of weeks later, there was a nash hash in the Netherlands, which would be my first foreign nash hash. The location was The Hague, and the weather was once again great. Only a few hashers from BMPH³ attended—the Dutch Nash Hash coincided with the German Nash Hash—but I already knew a couple of the Dutch hashers, and in general hashers are a friendly bunch anyway, so I felt comfortable quite quickly.

As a Belgian hasher, I’ve been quite spoilt when it comes to beer, and it came as a bit of a shock—especially after finding a home-brew in the welcome pack—that the only beer on offer was ‘Big Beer’, i.e. Heineken and Amstel… Since, as a matter of principle, I refuse to knowingly drink beers by AB InBev, Heineken, Carlsberg, Asahi, etcetera, it required some creativity to fulfil my beery needs during the weekend. Luckily, I had done my research, and prepared a list of craft beer bars and shops in The Hague. As luck would have it, those places were never too far from where the pack was, so I was able to sneak off every once in a while to get a proper beer to enjoy with the rest!

Oh, since the home-brew in the welcome pack wasn’t cooled when we received it, I just took the bottle home with me. I drank it a couple of days later, properly cooled, and it was actually quite enjoyable!

FyneFest Trip – Day 9

Back to London, on to Brussels

And just like that, it was time to head home again… After a bit of trouble getting my bag packed—adding a couple of T-shirts, a jumper, some whisky and beer glasses, and quite a few cans of beer will have that effect—I had my last breakfast and a coffee at the DogHouse, and I checked out.

I was in the station quite early, so I hung out in the LNER lounge for a bit, until the Azuma to London was ready to board.

In London, I had a couple of hours to kill, which I spent at BrewDog Camden, conveniently close to both King’s Cross and St Pancras International station. But eventually it was time to board the Eurostar, with which my FyneFest trip has come to an end…

FyneFest Trip – Day 8

Edinburgh

After a very good night in the DogHouse—just a tiny bit more comfortable and warm than the yurt—it was time for some waffles and chicken, to get ready for a full day in Edinburgh, starting with a coffee at The Milkman.

The National Museum of Scotland is always a pleasure to visit, even after having seen all the permanent exhibitions. An interesting free temporary exhibition this time was about The Typewriter Revolution, which I then visited, before enjoying the views from the rooftop terrace.

Then it was about beer o’clock again, starting at where it all started for me, BrewDog Cowgate, followed by a place new to me, the Salt Horse. In between I simply had to grab a tattie dog at The Piemaker, because, why not? To change things up a bit, I also had a wee dram at the Bow Bar, where I had a nice chat with some other patrons, who recognised me from FyneFest.

Another place I won’t skip whenever I’m in Edinburgh, is Wings. This time, I tried the Deep Spice Nine rub, and The Genghis Khan, Pyong Damn, and Schticky Wingsh sauces. Again very tasty, but apparently hotness level three is still quite mild for me, so the next time I’ll have to make sure I pick some of level four and higher!

After dinner I had a couple of bar stools booked in The Wee Vault, Vault City’s taproom. Since the place has more taps than seats, a booking was very much recommended! Enjoyed some great pastry sours there, and couldn’t resist the temptation to buy a glass. So add that to the FyneFest festival pint glass, and the whisky glasses received after the distillery tour…

While in the area, I also visited Monty’s—quite a classic bar, but with some great beers, even on cask—and BrewDog Lothian Road. To finish the evening—and basically my visit of Edinburgh—I had a couple of beers in the DogHouse Edinburgh, since it was basically already closed when I arrived late the night before.

FyneFest Trip – Day 7

Back to Glasgow to hash

After a last bacon and egg roll, it was time to say goodbye to the glen and the coos, and to get on the bus back to Glasgow.

After a pancake brunch at the Stack & Still, and staying at BrewDog Kelvingrove for a couple of hours, for some last beers at one of my favourite bars in Glasgow, and to get the festival blog updates online, I slowly made my way south.

The first stop was at Ride Brewing Co., which didn’t actually have their taproom open, but the brewer was happy to sell me some cold cans. Second stop was of course at the Koelschip Yard.

The final destination in Glasgow was at Eala Bhán. Not for the food or beer though, but to meet up and run with the Glasgow Hash House Harriers. They couldn’t believe I didn’t get my hash name yet, so they named me right then and there! Henceforth I’ll be known as “Out of Kilter”, although my home kennel might have to say a thing or two about that…

Then I caught the last train to Edinburgh, to finally check into my hotel for the next two nights: DogHouse Edinburgh. What a contrast with that yurt!

FyneFest Trip – Day 4 till 6

Finally FyneFest!

After a lot of anticipation, on Friday morning, FyneFest finally started for real!

Friday

After a pancake with bacon and maple syrup from Hector & Harriet for breakfast, and securing some T-shirts from the merch tent, it was time to get properly started. The ‘doors’ of the main tent opened at 11.00, and I managed to order the very first beer of the first official festival day there! The line of keg pumps and beer engines was impressive, as were the beers listed behind the bar, but as it would be a long weekend, and the servings relatively large for a beer festival—1/3 pint (19cl) or 1/2 pint (28cl)—I decided to take it slow, alternating and combining beer tastings with concerts and food… Speaking about the music: one of the first acts was a proper ceilidh band!