When visiting Prague as a beer tourist, there is a lot to do these days, but don’t forget what they’re best at: The classic Czech lager!. Last weekend, I was in Prague on a short beer trip with four friends. I didn’t have any blog writings planned, but just wanted to see what I felt inspired to write about. The trip ended up as a celebration of the Czech lager styles, so it turned out to be pretty easy.
There is a very lively beer scene in Prague, with new beer bars opening all the time, but as a foreigner, I go there to drink the fresh pilsner that you just can’t get at the same level anywhere else in the world. I’d better apologize in advance, that I will be writing out Czech words simplified in standard lettering, without the correct Czech accents. Læs mere Nine Places to Drink Czech Lager in Prague
In restaurant Onder de Toren, in Hansbeke outside of Ghent, 32 year old chef Sam van Houcke creates wonderful Flemish food. It’s an up and coming restaurant, and he has been included in the 2015 Flanders Kitchen Rebels, Outstanding Young Chefs.
This is where we finished my trip to Belgium back in September. Yes, it was an intense trip, with a lot to write about! We had an excellent meal, three courses plus snacks, and plenty of excellent beer. Læs mere Beer dinner at Onder de Toren
De Halve Maan (The Half Moon Brewery) is an old brewery in the city center of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Bruges. When visiting, I only knew Bruges from the movie “In Bruges” , and from plenty of recommendations from other beer travellers who thought it was a beautiful place to visit (“In Bruges” on Amazon).
The brewery was operating at a minimum just ten years ago, but they’re rapidly growing. Their famous range of abbey style beers, Straffe Hendrik was introduced in the 1980s, but for a long time brewed elsewhere. Now it’s brewed on the site, along with the rising star Brugse Zot, which was launched when sixth generation owner Xavier Vanneste took over the brewery in 2005. Læs mere Brouwerij De Halve Maan in Bruges
t’Hommelhof is a world famous beer cuisine restaurant in Watou in West Flanders. Since the restaurant opened in 1984, it has been one of the first restaurants to use beer in the kitchen, to think beer and food together, and to serve beer at the table as an equal to wine. We visited the restaurant on Sunday night of my beer trip to Belgium, after a visit to the nearby St. Bernard brewery.
The chef at t’Hommelhof, Stefaan Coutteneye, has kept the same kitchen philosophy for 30 years now: Local ingredients, old traditions, and the use of beer in the kitchen. And finally, the world has caught up, and terroir and tradition are the hippest things in the restaurant world. For those who want to catch up, Stefaan has even written a book Cooking With Belgian Beers which came out last year. Læs mere t’ Hommelhof beer dinner and St. Bernardus
On our trip to Belgium, we had some great food as well as beer, and the beer pairing lunch at Brouwerij Roman was a highlight. When we arrived and were introduced to the brewery and its history, we had a couple of light snacks, and after the brewery tour we went to the tasting room, and had four plates of more good stuff.
First we had a little taster of a caramelized onion soup with Ename Pater. It’s the newest beer in the Ename abbey beer range, modelled after the “Single”, the beer that the monks brew for their own consumption. It’s a 5.5% blonde with a nice hoppy character. The soup was a little too sweet for me, and at the same time the hop bitterness that the beer had added to the soup wasn’t very harmonious. It’s always dangerous cooking with hoppy beer. Læs mere Beer pairing lunch at Brouwerij Roman
Antwerp’s De Koninck beer is a truly iconic beer, served in the equally iconic bolleke glass. In fact, you can go into any bar in Belgium and order a “bolleke” or an “Antwerpen bolleke” and you’ll get a De Koninck in the proper glass. Antwerp is a confident city, and they’re proud of their bolleke.
De Koninck is a part of Belgian Family Brewers, and although it was sold to international brewery giants Duvel-Moortgat in 2010, it still counts because Duvel-Moortgat is also family owned. They have put a lot of money into the old city brewery, and we visited a very impressive, completely new brewery tour. Læs mere Visiting the De Koninck brewery tour in Antwerp
Het Goudblommeke in Papier is a classic café in the heart of Brussels, a favourite watering hole of the surrealist movement in the 1920s. The name (La Fleur en Papier Doré in French) means The Golden Paper Flower, a poetic and very fitting name. The little café with it’s kitch/bric-a-brac interior is still a meeting place for artists and writers.
Friday around noon, a bus full of very excited beer writers arrive at the Lindemans family brewery. It’s the first stop of our epic tour of Belgium, and we’re here to taste some very exclusive spontaneous fermented beer. Not the sweet, pasteurized fruit lambic that makes up most of the brewery’s business, but the real thing, the real lambic beers. And as we’ll find out, we’re also here to experience a bit of magic from the brewery kitchen.
Our aperitif was Lindemans/Mikkeller SpontanBasil. An uncompromising collaboration beer mixing good Belgian lambic beer with crazy Danish ideas. The finished beer has further matured with huge amounts of fresh basil, the way you would usually add cherries to make a kriek, or raspberries to make a framboise. The aroma of fresh basil is definitely there, but the jury is still out on whether it’s “very interesting” or “too interesting”. Læs mere Lindemans – traditional lambic and business
Last month Mikkeller and Three Floyds opened Warpigs, a new barbecue place and brewpub in Copenhagen. In the past weeks I have been there a few times, and had the opportunity to eat there once. First visit was after the brewday at Amager Bryghus, and then a couple of times in the Copenhagen Beer Celebration weekend.
I’m no expert on American barbecue, but Warpigs have brought in an experienced BBQ chef in Andrew Hroza who makes it a very different experience from anything I have had before.