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Tag: MacLaren tartan

London Trip – Day 2

Culture, Comrades & a Ceilidh

After a big, hearty breakfast in my hotel—more than pictured—I was ready for a full day in London. I had planned some museums and exhibitions I hadn’t seen yet, and the first one was almost next to the hotel: the London Canal Museum.

The second stop was the library, to see the Treasures of the British Library. Among those treasures were the Magna Carta, and original manuscripts from Shakespeare, Dickens, and Austen. Great stuff, for a bibliophile like me!

I then visited to the British Museum for even older versions of the written word, in the exhibition Hieroglyphs: unlocking ancient Egypt.

After all that sauntering I was well overdue for a coffee, so I went to Monmouth Coffee for my fix. That gave me the energy for one more cultural stop: the Museum of Freemasonry. We have one in Brussels as well, but London being the birthplace of freemasonry, and quite a bit more traditional, so not to be missed!

Time for a pie—well, a sausage roll—and a pint—well, halves and thirds—at the Sutton Arms! It looks like a classic pub, but had quite a few modern craft beers on tap! From there I got on the new—for me at least—Elizabeth Line, and train line that has been long in the making, and provides a faster connection with the west of London.

And in the west I finally got to visit The Dodo Micropub, where I also met up with some London friends for a couple of beers. On the way back east I stopped at A Pint of Hops for just a couple more… Crowded, standing space only, but nice people, and great beer.

Properly sauced, I was ready for the main event of the evening, a Burns Night Ceilidh, my excuse to walk around in London in a kilt all day… Loads of fun, although a bit more chaotic than other ceilidhs I’ve been to.

Before finally heading back to the hotel, there was one more important stop: BrewDog Camden! After ‘a couple’ of beers with Ryan, I then called it a night…

London Trip – Day 1

Waterloo & West London H3

The last time I was in London for more than a couple of hours, is almost four years ago! So it was about time to visit again, and today I finally found myself once again on a Eurostar under the English Channel. Lots of queueing—the train was full—but at least the biometric gates now worked with my Belgian comic strip passport.

Since I didn’t have time for a coffee before my departure in Brussels, and because I had a bit of time to kill before check-in time, my first stop in London was at Redemption Roasters for—apparently—some prison-roasted coffee, and a piece of banana bread.

My hotel for this trip is once again the very conveniently located—right next to the station—hub by Premier Inn King’s Cross, where I’ve stayed once before, returning from one of my Scotland trips. A swift check-in, change into my kilt, and it was time to hit the town!

First up was Mother Kelly’s Bottle Shop & Taproom in Vauxhall. Their taprooms have been on my to-do list for years, but somehow I never made it… This one has 33 beers on tap, so it wasn’t hard to find some beers I liked! The music I didn’t like that much, so after two beers I moved on.

The second stop was the Waterloo Tap. The bar is part of the same family as the Euston Tap, my usual last stop before boarding the Caledonian Sleeper, so I thought I knew what to expect: a nice selection of keg and cask beers. I wasn’t wrong about that, but the venue itself was so much more open than the Euston Tap: it was basically a railway arch with windows put in on both sides!

Then it was time to visit BrewDog Waterloo. At that moment it was still the newest London BrewDog bar, but that would soon, very soon change… I’ve visited BrewDog bars of all sizes, but this one was just ridiculous: apart from the bar itself—with 60 taps—and a micro-brewery like we’ve seen in other Outposts, this location also has a separate coffee bar, a hidden cocktail bar, a podcast recording studio, duckpin bowling, and a slide! My stomach was still on Belgian time, so I seized the opportunity to give the Vegan Allstars menu a try, and had some Loaded Skins.

I didn’t want to eat too much, because the next activity on the schedule was a run with the West London Hash House Harriers. In The Old Star pub I quickly changed into my running kilt and shoes, and off we went! As usual wen hashing, I met a lot of nice people, and as luck would have it, it turned out to be a very tourist friendly trail!

The last stop of the evening was BrewDog Wandsworth, for its Equity Punk (pre-opening) night, that just happened to be during my visit to London. So yes, from now on, that is the newest BrewDog bar in London! I managed to chat to some people I’ve been reading on the EFP forum for years, and some I had met before, which was a nice way to end my first evening in London.

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!

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?

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

Reached this post by just scrolling through my blog? 
If you want to read about this trip from start to finish, instead of in reverse order, click here!

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!