The four phoned man is back with us this morning, which makes for an interesting air at my birthday breakfast. More guests have spied his cellular antics and appear curious.
Following breakfast we make our way to the station, via taxi of course. The train to Bruges arrives, we board and depart on the perfect geometry of the track beneath the birdsnest of the catenary. Precisely 1 hour and 6 minutes later we arrive and all around is the smell of chocolate.
Wandering away from the station and down the quaint cobbled streets some kid rattles past on his monkey bike. Nearing the centre, the clatter of suitcases on the cobbles fade and is replaced by the ringing of bicycle bells and horseshoes.
An awning shouts ‘beers’, I respond, ‘ok in a minute!’ We enter the beer shops and I feel like a kid in a sweet shop, my wife is one as she enters a chocolatier. I’m slightly overwhelmed by the choice so we continue our stroll.
Further towards the centre of Bruges, a West Highland Terrier reminds us of home and we sit for a drink. A light, malty Bruges Blonde from the barrel it is, along with her kir royal.
A sign in a shop window proclaiming ‘There are so many beautiful reasons to be happy’ catches my eye. In Belgium, beer is all of them, and as I pick up two bottles of Westmalle Tripel for €1.50 each, this is confirmed.
Taking on water as we walk away from the square we happen across a bar of 400 beers going by the name of Cambrinus. Quickly I establish my choice of Forestinne Ambrosia. A spicy, piney, speciality amber beer. At 7.5% it’s pure nectar.
Our seat at the bar is booked all day……
Hopus, as chosen by my wife, is next. 5 hops, 8.3%, flip top bottle and sexy glass, I’m all over it….
Next, I ask the bar man for his recommendation and end up with a truly breathtaking hoppy blonde. Triporteur from Heaven. With a bucket load of familiar hops in a Belgian blonde, I have a new favourite colour…….I later discover that the hops are East Kent Golding, Styrian Golding and Cascade.
We thank our host and continue to stroll around the back streets of Bruges. I vape and she enters a vintage shop, bicycles whizz past. Tourists litter the place as we admire the passing swans.
Further along, I hear the cry, ‘do you want more beer?’ as we come across the beer wall. Hmmmm, thinking time required.
At least I’ve found my beer scooter.
I take a Westmalle Dubel, place myself adjacent to the canal and end up discussing the history of the Kwak glass with some Americans who happen to land next to me. They were in search of some English beer of all things, so I imagine they were pretty disappointed with the Belgian treats they brought to their table.
Leaving the Americans behind to ponder their next move, we enter the Bottle Shop, stock up and continue on.
Further stocking up takes place at Brown Sugar as we head back to the station via a quick caffeine boost and a top up of the draw.
On board the air conditioned comfort of the double deck 18.08 from Bruges, we head back to Brussels.
To be continued when I return to Brussels at the end of August for the European Beer Bloggers Conference. #EBBC15