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Tag: kilt

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 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!

Saturday

The second festival day had plenty of variation as well. Pellicle’s Matt Curtis was hosting a couple of interesting talks with brewers, and in between I walked up to the Walkers Bar, five kilometre upstream, where they served some gravity poured cask beers.

In the evening the highlight without a doubt was the Massaoke show, which got the whole crowd singing their lungs out.

Sunday

The last day of the festival started with an awesome bacon roll with egg from Prime Street Food. The beer boards were a bit more sparse, since it was basically leftover day. Still enough beers I hadn’t tried yet to keep me occupied for a while though!

I also booked a Fyne Ales brewery tour this day, so I could see where our host’s beers come from.

After having gone through most of the festival beers, I spent some time in the brewery courtyard to enjoy some of their Origins beers.

After six, the Brewers Lounge tent was the only place still open, but there still was beer—just to drink and enjoy, done with rating—live music, loads of happy and nice people, and a gorgeous sunset!

FyneFest Trip – Day 2

Glasgow

My second day in Glasgow started with a hearty breakfast—including haggis—at Euro Hostel, followed by a long overdue visit to the Gallery of Modern Art. But yes, de duke of Wellington in front of it is still wearing his traffic cone, in case you were wondering.

After a coffee and biscoff brownie at Gordon Street Coffee, and a long walk, it was time to discover a new place: the Clydeside distillery. New, but just old enough to already have their own whisky, which—as you probably know—has to be matured in oak in Scotland for at least three years, to earn that name.

A quick stop at the Riverside Museum, and a short ride on the Glasgow Subway, and is was time for a bit more CRM: the Mackintosh House in the Hunterian Art Gallery. There I learned that coincidentally, it was a MacLaren—professor of art history Andrew McLaren Young—who saved the interiors when Mackintosh’s house was demolished.

By then it was well past beer o’clock, so a couple of cups (sic) at Inn Deep soon followed. After a nice walk along the Kelvin, I inevitably ended up at my home away from home, BrewDog Kelvingrove, which since the closure of BrewDog Rome, must be the BrewDog bar with the best view again!

10 Years in a Kilt

On the 10th of March 2012, I picked up my very first kilt, somewhere in Limburg, at the inconspicuous garage shop of the sadly no longer existing company Great Scotland. The very same night I put on my new eight yard kilt, in a MacLaren Modern tartan woven by House of Edgar to take it for a spin, and a first pint.

Since then, this kilt has served me well, as I walked many miles, drank many beers, and had a lot of fun in it!

I marked this ten year anniversary—or kiltaversary, if you will—with a little pub crawl, which of course also included the very first place I went in my kilt, Celtica. There I tried to recreate the first photo of me wearing my kilt in public…
Can you spot the differences?

Running in a kilt…

Two weeks after co-haring a run for the first time with the Brussels Manneke Piss Hash House Harriers, I set and hared a trail of my own design. It could have used some improvements, but all in all, I was happy with this attempt, and so seemed to be most runners.

I don’t have a habit of taking out my phone to take photos while running, but luckily some others do, and I ended up on a couple of nice action shots…

So yes, I run in a kilt… Not in my good one, of course, but a lighter, easier washable one, in the Grey Spirit tartan. Actually, with a bit of luck, this was my last run in this kilt, because my special hashers’ SportKilt is on its way!

Cheers, and On-On!

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Burns’ Run & Burns Night

The attentive reader will know that, about two years ago, I’ve started running to offsett my beer calories. I’ve kept it up so far, but still tend to find it rather boring, especially the longer runs. At least it was, until I was introduced to the Brussels Manneke Piss Hash House Harriers last December. I could write a lot about the phenomenon of ‘hashing’, but suffice to say: if you’re into running, beer, and fun, find out if there’s a Hash House Harriers kennel in your city!

Anyway, last Sunday’s run with the BMPH³ was Burns themed. In addition to the usual beer stop, the trail even included a whisky stop along, and there was a haggis ceremony afterwards. That was sufficient reason for me to quickly change into more appropriate attire after the run, and toast to the Scottish bard in style.

Today, on the actual date of Burn’s Night, I will of course don the kilt again, and have some more haggis for dinner. No neeps and tatties this time, I’ll be making a haggis lasagne instead.

However you celebrate it, have a great Burns Night everyone! On-On!

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St. Andrew’s Day 2021

Happy St. Andrew’s Day!
Slàinte Mhath!

Unfortunately I have to work tonight, so I can’t properly celebrate, but I made myself a haggis shepherd’s pie to enjoy at work. That way, I’ll at least have a dinner appropriate for this festive occasion.

Flying Scotsman Trip – Epilogue

Now some time has passed, the bags are completely unpacked and back on the attic, and I’ve reverted to a slightly healthier lifestyle again, I’m taking some time to look back on my epic Flying Scotsman Trip. In general, it went remarkably well!

Trains & Buses

All the trains I booked well in advance—notably Eurostar, the Caledonian Sleeper to Inverness, and the LNER back to London—were on time, and fully functional. Only the catering side was still a bit sub-par, due to COVID measures, or other reasons: no full menu on the sleeper—which I only know about because of a text message sent to my Belgian phone number, since I only had charcuterie and whisky—and they ran out of bacon rolls on the LNER way too soon!

Most of my ScotRail train tickets were flexible, although most of the time, I took the train I planned on taking anyway. I used the offer to upgrade to first class for £3 a couple of times, mainly because I really prefer solo seats, especially when travelling in a kilt. On one train, the train conductor refused to sell me the upgrade, but let me sit in first class for free, because I was ‘not getting anything in return anyway’… It was nice being able to buy and save all my tickets in-app, an option that wasn’t available yet when I first started planning this trip.

To get to Culloden Battlefield, to Peterhead and Ellon, and to St Andrews, I used Stagecoach buses, usually with digital DayRider tickets. They were never scanned, by the way, I just had to show them to the driver. It’s really convenient to have USB charging ports available on those buses.

In Glasgow and Edinburgh I only used digital tickets as well for the local buses, and for the Glasgow Subway the smartcard I still had from years before. I didn’t buy a single paper transport ticket the whole trip!

Hotels

In northeastern Scotland (Aberdeen, Dundee, and Perth) I stayed in Travelodge hotels. It’s remarkable how different they can be! The first one had two extra single beds in the room, the second one just one, and the third one —just when you’re getting used to having an extra bed to put your stuff on—only had the double bed I actually booked. The last one, in Perth, still used actual keys, instead of keycards!

In Glasgow I stayed at easyHotel, as I had oft before. No surprised there, but I do think I’ve started to outgrow them, or at least their smallest rooms: when travelling for over a week—with a rather large bag and a kilt to air out every night—a bit of extra space is not just a luxury anymore.

In Edinburg and London I stayed at a hub by Premier Inn hotel, in virtually indistinguishable rooms. Even though they discontinued the room control app they used to have, the ease with which you can still control everything—light, temperature, DND sign…—and plethora of USB and power outlets, both UK and EU, to keep everything charged, make these my favourite rooms of the trip. A really nice bathroom helped too… To my surprise the London hub even had a breakfast buffet, which was really convenient on my last day.

Beers & Bars

This was a very beer-centric trip, to say the least… Apart from the BrewDog bars—discussed separately below—I also visited quite a few other bars and taprooms in the towns and cities I visited. Scotland sure has a lot to offer in that department! Unfortunately I missed out on a few, due to their often (still) limited opening hours, especially on Sundays and the first couple of days of the week. I’ll just have to go back another time!

I actually had about a third of my beers in London, and almost half of the bars I visited were there! Considering the only noteworthy hangovers I had this trip were after a day or evening in London, next time I might avoid cramming so many London bars in my schedule…

BrewDog Bars, Stamps & Badges

So the BrewDog bars I visited in Scotland were BrewDog Inverurie, BrewDog Castlegate, BrewDog Aberdeen, BrewDog Peterhead, Dogtap Ellon, BrewDog Union Square, BrewDog St Andrews, BrewDog Dundee, BrewDog Perth, BrewDog Stirling, BrewDog Merchant City, BrewDog Kelvingrove, BrewDog Cowgate, and BrewDog Lothian Road.