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Diaries and photos of our trips to Belgium.  Latest at the top

Weekend in Antwerp for Essen Kerstbier festival 14th to 16th December 2007
14th December 2007
Clive had the whole day off on the Friday but I was working in the morning so we met up at Marylebone station to travel to Brussels on the 14:34 Eurostar, our first journey out of the new Eurostar terminal at St Pancras. I think everyone we spoke to agreed that the facilities after check in at the new station were very disappointing, the food that was available was very limited and expensive, what we had was not very good quality either. Considering this was area was specifically modified for Eurostar pasengers we could not understand why this should be.
Our journey over was uneventful, we arrived at Antwerp and booked into our hotel and prepared for an evening out. It had been planned beforehand that any babblers in the area would meet up at the “Oud Arsenaal” bar whenever they could get there., we duly arrived to find a few familiar faces with more arriving throughout the evening. It was a very enjoyable evening with some good beers and mad company.
Pere Noel
Achel Blonde
Ename Cuvee 974
Tripel Karmeliet
Ename blonde

Pere Noel
De Cam Gueze
Drie Fonbteine Vintage
Vinde cereale Rodenbach x2
15th December 2007
Due to the threatened train strikes on the Saturday Gunter had kindly arranged taxis for 24 people from Antwerp to Essen for 12:30 to get us to the festival for opening time. Before this Clive and I had a few hours wandering around Antwerp some of which we spent at the railway station to check out the state of the service and we were very pleased that alternative arrangemenst had been made as we estimate that only about 3-5 trains an hour were leaving Antwerp out of a scheduled 15 an hour and in the time we were there we did not see one train going to Essen.
We arrived at the arranged pick up point for the taxis and by the time everyone was boarded we left at about 12:40, there seemed to be some sort of disagreement amongst the drivers of the 3 vehicles concerning the route to be taken as we appeared to leave the motorway at a junction before the expected one for our driver but we arrived at the festival hall ok at about 13:30 arranging with the drivers that we would be collected at 20:00. We then took our places at the front of the queue that did not exist at that time!
This was our first visit to this festival and we were very impressed with the work that had gone into setting up and decoratuing the venue, well done to Gunter and his colleagues. We had an enjoyable few hours sampling some great Christmas beers and then left to await our taxi at 20:00, it was rather cold outside so we were not happy to find they were not there, after a couple of phone calls in which they said they were on their way two out of the three eventually turned up at about 20:45, we could have had another beer or two! Our driver informed us that the third taxi was 10 minutes behind the first two so we were not overly worried about the people that had not made it onto the first two taxis, we were however surprised to learn that the third taxi did not turn up until 23:05, I guess there must have been some sort of misunderstanding! We arrived in Antwerp at about 21:30 Clive and I had to catch the 11:59 Eurostar on the Sunday so we decided to stop for some frite and then head back to our hotel, next year we have accomodatioin booked in Essen for the Saturday and Sunday nights, we have yet to decide if we will be travelling out on the Friday or Saturday.
Beers Unfortunately I think we have some beers missing from our list but all of the ones we tried were very good.
Biere de noel – Abb. Du Val Dieu
Christmas (refermented) - Leroy
Christmas beer (Crombe) - Strubbe
Grobbendonks Kerstbier – Achilles (last bottle ever)
Saison Christmas – Glazen Toren
Slaapmutske Christmas – Proefbrouwerij
Antwerps Kerst – Pakhuis
Rochefort 8 Cuvee 2007 – Abb. De Saint-Remy

Tournay de Noel - Cazeau
Abbaye d’Aulne Super Noel – Val de Sambre
Sint-Bernardus Christmas alle – St-Bernardus
Toernichoise Fumee – Millevertus
Hiete kriek – De Cam (hot)
Special Oerbier Reserva 2006 – Dolle Brouwers
Duvel Tripel Hop – Duvel-Moortgat
16th December 2007
We had a good journey back apart from our fellow travellers who from the aroma had obviously been out drinking most of the night before. There were no delays and we managed to get home by about 14:20
Photos of the Essen weekend:

Joris, Steve, Theresa, Don & Cheri

Signs on the wall

More signs

The back of the bar

Fellow babblers sorry I can’t remember your names

The bar

Paulette & Thom

Dan, Martha & Paulette

Jezza & Thom

Theresa & Martin

Theresa & Steve

Stefaan the owner

Clive, Steve & Steve

Drie fonteine bottle

Briony, DaveH & Mat W

Clive, Jezza & Steve

Clive, Jezza & Steve

Dan, Clive, Jezza & Steve

Jezza, Clive & Steve

hmmm can’t take them anywhere: Jezza & Clive

Jezza & Clive examining the evidence!

Theresa, that hat & Dan

An amazing feat of engineering the new lower level platforms at Antwerp station

We don’t have room for a station so we’ll put part of it on pillars above the pavement!

The incredible building that was the old main station entrance before the rebuild

Santa & Haddock!

Santa Jezza, Steve, Santa Clive & Black Haddock Jeremy

Oh, I’m shocked Santa drinking surely not!

Santa Clive, Real Santa & Santa Jezza

Marcus & Santa Clive

The wonderfully decorated hall

Santa was too frightening!

Thom, Clive, sorry I forgot your names ?, ?, ? & Paulette

Clive & ?

Hmm Santa giving the Haddock a drink!


The hall and imbibers

What can I say!

Dez, Lynn, two santas & Jeremy

And Mrs Santa was there too

Santa threesome!

oh dear!

Don, Mrs Don & MikeK deep in conversation

That Santa gets everywhere!

Steve & ?

Santa drink in hand

Black Haddock (Jeremy)

Mrs Black Haddock pretending to be Santa

Theresa and Santas hair…..

…..and beard

?, Lorenzo & Jezza

It’s slipped a bit!

Dan, Martha, Dave & MattW

Pouring my Rochefort 8

Martin & Steve – it’s been a tiring day!

The bars


Tim Webb
Week in Brugge 16th to 23rd November 2007
16th November 2007
After an easy run over our first day in Brugge saw us in the t’ Beertje as our first stop as usual, where we stayed for a short time before moving on to see Luc’s new bar t’ Poatersgat, this bar is across the road from his old one De Zolder and is about 2 and a half times the size the interior is a little posher with the toilets being mainly marble, we don’t recommend having a fall in there! But we would suggest a visit it is a cellar bar with a great atmosphere. We called it a day early due to the early start.
Boon Framboise
Triple Karmeliet
Pere Noel (De Ranke)
Avec les Bon Vouex shared 75cl
Santa Bie
Watou Wit

Gouden Carolus Christmas
Aardminnick (Struisse brewery) x2
Corsendonck Christmas
Avec les Bon Vouex shared 75cl
Kerst Pater (draught)
17th November 2007
We had decided to make a trip down to Brussels by train to go in Moeder Lambic as we really enjoyed our first visit to this bar in September when we were over for Bruxellensis, that weekend we enjoyed the first visit so much that we spent 3 evenings there. This time we arrived and it was relatively quiet, we sat at a table and the minute Jean and Yvan? walked in they both recognised us and greeted us like life long friends despite us only have been in there that one weekend before. It is a very friendly place the owners are exceptionally enthusiastic about their beer, we believe they have only owned the place since February 2007and they are working to create a tasting area in the cellar for small groups which is expected to be ready by February 2008. We felt so at home here that we stayed a little longer than we had planned. On arriving back in Brugge we went to t’ Beertje for the remainder of the night.
Adelardus Brune
Saint Monon Miel
Grisette Aux Fruits des Bois (draught)
Celtic Angel
Barbar winterbok
Grisette Aux\Fruits des Bois (draught)
Boon Framboise
Watou wit
Lindemans framboise

Val Dieu III
Lambic Cantillon
Faro Cantillon
Authentique Ambre
Gouden Carolus Brune x2
XX bitter
Alvinne Extra Blonde x2
18th November 2007
As this was a Sunday we took what has become a regular trip down to Kroegske in Izegem and were pleased to see Danny back behind the bar. Danny informed us that they now have 4 of their own beers being the Kroegske blond, Pater, Wit and Saison and by early next year they will have another two to go with these, we can’t wait! The Spice Boys from Solihull were over in Brugge this weekend, so we also saw them in Kroegske travelling back with them on the train to Brugge for a late night in t’ Beertje.
Gougasse Tradition
Bobeline Brune
Kroegske Saison shared 75cl
Alvinne Blond Extra tried 75cl
Kroegske Wit
Hik beer bruin
Kerst pater (draught) x4
Watou wit

Noel des Geants
Kroegske Pater
Kroegske Saison shared 75cl
Alvinne Blond Extra 75cl
Podge Imperial Stout
Moinette bruin
19th November 2007
Following the heavy Saturday and Sunday this was a quiet night spent entirely in t’ Beertje
Lindeman Framboise Celis wit Girardin Framboise Cuvee des trolls

De Koninck (draught) x4
20th November 2007
We started in t’ Poatersgat this time later moving onto t’ Beertje where we met Chris from Mexico who was spending the last of his money and having a very good time in doing so, Brian and Maddie from the US, Mark & Sue from the UK and Chris a friend of Johan’s and had a very entertaining evening.
Slaapmutske Blonde
Corsendonck Christmas
La Chouffe (draught)
Cuvee de trolls
Cuvee de trolls x2

Westmalle Dubbel
Alvinne Bruine
Rochfort 6
XX bitter
Boon gueze Mariage parfait
Kerst pater
Kaizer Karol Rood x2
21st November 2007
We decided to try a new bar for us and venture to Kogge a very small friendly bar where we were made very welcome until I had a coughing fit and was told I couldn’t die there as it would be too expensive  having recovered we stayed for another beer in this very intimate bar to which we will return, whilst here we met Chris and Catherine an English couple who live very near to Ebsfleet where the new Eurostar station is, I am green! We then moved on to t’ Poatersgat before taking a break to watch the England game and returning to drown our sorrows!
Malheur 6
La Chouffe (draught) x7
Brugse Zot

Westmalle triple
La Chouffe (draught) x7
Drie Fonteine Gueze
Struisse wit
22nd November 2007
Our last night came around far too quickly and as we had an early start the following day we just had time to have a few in t’ Beertje followed by a few more in t’ Poatersgat to say goodbye to all our friends. We met another two English people in t’ Beertje, Peter and Debbie, who surprise surprise, live less than10 miles from our home! And Thiago from Brazil, another South American who was really enjoying himself.
Lindemans Framboise
Tripel Karmeliet
Arend Bonde (De Ryck)
La Chouffe (draught)
La Chouffe (draught)
Watou wit

Alvinne Extra Blonde
Leroy Xmas (draught) x3
La Chouffe (draught) x4
23rd November 2007
Having had a relatively early night we were up early for our journey home. We had an easy journey arriving home by midday local time.
Photos of the Brugge week:

Pump in t’ Beertje – Gouden Carolous Christmas

Pere Noel & Corsendonck Christmas in t’ Beertje
Luc’s new bar t’Poatersgat
Luc’s new bar t’Poatersgat

Luc’s new bar t’Poatersgat

Luc’s new bar t’Poatersgat

Just round the corner from Chez Moeder Lambic we found this building which we believe is a prison

The Spice Boys in Kroegske, Izegem

Danny & Nadine the owners of Kroegske and very welcoming hosts

Sign above the bar in Kroegske, Izegem
Alternative language sign above the bar in Kroegske

and in English too - Sign above the bar in Kroegske

Spice boys with Clive

After leaving Kroegske we retired to t’ Beertje – What a surprise! The Spice Boys with Bram, Clive & Frederic
¾ of the Spice Boys with Clive & Teresa

75cl Chimay blue

Frederic having a break

Bram still working :)


Clive & Frederic

Teresa & Piers

Spice boys with Teresa

Glasses in t’ Beertje

Kerst Pater & XX Bitter pumps

Frederic, Clive & Bram

Brian & Maddie from the US in t’ Beertje

Johan & Chris

Clive & Teresa
Sue, Johan & Mark

Marlene a regular friend in t’Beertje

Xavier brewer at the Halve Maan brewery in Brugge

Bram working again!

Frederic does work too


Sue & Mark from the UK

Kogge again
A new bar we tried for the first time this week Kogge in Brugge very small and friendly, limited beer range but they do have some good beers

We were sat by the wall this photo across to the bar the other side of the room gives some idea of how small the bar is
Glass display in t’Poatersgat

Debbie in t’Beertje who actually lives just a few miles from us in the UK

Clive & Teresa

Peter & Debbie

Thiago a visitor from Brazil

Me with my new Achouffe hat and La Chouffe beer

Rinus in t’Poatersgat
Weekend in Brussels for Bruxellensis festival 7th to 10th September 2007
Late in the day we decided to book a weekend in Brussels in order to attend the Bruxellensis festival, we got a good deal with www.greatgetaways.co.uk which gave us 3 nights for 2 in the Sofitel hotel including Eurostar for £185 each plus £25 to upgrade to first class on the return journey. We traveled out on the 14:13 arriving in Brussels just after 17:30 local time, we walked to the hotel which was about half an hour from the station, we booked in had showers and headed out to Moeder Lambic for the pre festival Babble Fest.

On arriving at the bar we found it very busy, all seats both inside and out were taken but luckily just as we arrived one table inside was vacated so we quickly took our places for what was to be a great evening of good beer chat and great cheese. We had not previously met many babblers so we did not know if any were already there, on speaking to Nassim one of the co owners we were informed that there were two babblers sitting at the end table outside, Clive went out to introduce himself while I guarded the table, the two babblers in question were FredW and Paul who we had met before. A little later in the evening another English speaking couple arrived and once the table next to us was empty they moved there on speaking to them we found that it was Andy and Evie a couple who have posted on the Babblebelt and who were going to be running a German Beer stand at Bruxellensis. The remainder of the Babblers arrived a little later in the form of Thom, Paulette, Jeremy, Theresa, Marcus & Briony even later still Dan Shelton arrived complete with cameraman in tow. The beer menu was very interesting and relatively extensive after having tried several beers Jean the other co owner then produced some old bottles of Stille Nacht from the cellar for us to try hence the rather dusty bottles (see photos) the bottles had all aged differently and the taste varied from bottle to bottle all tasted good but some were better than others.
We were all having such a good time we didn’t realize how late it had got and eventually left the bar at about 2am! to head back to the hotel via the friterie

Bruxellensis opened at Midday on the Saturday so despite the late night we were there at 11.30 expecting to see a queue and were surprised to see that no one was waiting, in addition the festival was not ready to open as tables and chairs were still being put out. Midday arrived and there were still only a handful of people who by this time had moved to take seats at the tables that were just inside the entrance as due to it being free to enter the festival the entrance was open, although I’m not sure how they could have closed it as it was a very large warehouse type entrance which we were to find was to be used during the day by the businesses that ran from the premises, this included vans, motorbikes and a motorbike with sidecar which proceeded to drive through the venue at regular intervals, requiring the chairs at the end of the tables to be moved to allow access.
There was a great selection beers from around the world and over the two days we managed to try a vast majority of them, I will not go into detail here as the beers were listed on the pre festival babblebelt posting. We were not familiar with German beers before the festival but having tried them we found them to be very good, with a variety of tastes, we also tried beers from Finland, USA, Spain and of course Belgium.

We met many more babblers at the festival see the photos for details.

We had not been intending to stay late at the festival but it was about 18:30 by the time we left to walk back to our hotel for a nap and a shower before once again heading out to Moeder Lambic via the Friterie which is so popular we had to queue for half an hour. At Moeder Lambic we again had a very pleasant remainder of the evening trying even more good Belgian beers but this time leaving at about 23.30 for an early night!

Sunday morning we got up and had a wander round the City taking a few photos of the view and some very impressive architecture. Our walk took us towards the festival area and we therefore arrived early again but we knew that we would be able to sit down so after stocking up on some nibbles at a local supermarket we took our places to wait for the festival to open. Luckily we had a supply of beer tokens remaining from the day before so the fact that the person with the tokens was not there at opening time didn’t worry us we just went ahead and continued working our way through the beers we had not tried the previous day.

We returned to the hotel a little earlier this time to give us time to rest and shower before heading out once again to Moeder Lambic for our final evening. Just before we left the bar on Sunday Evening Jean explained what their plans were for the place and said how pleased he was with how things were going so far and as a parting gift gave us a 75cl bottle of Caracole Forestinne Ambrosia which we have just had with dinner.

Never having attended this particular festival before we had not known what to expect, it was different! There was a good selection of beers, the venue was a little odd but worked well, the food was either bread and cheese or a selection of homemade filled baguettes, quiches etc. the only hot food being chilli, personally we would have liked to have seen more in the way of hot food, maybe hotdogs, frites, or other easy to cook items. The outstanding beer stand of the weekend has to go to Andy who had obviously gone to a lot of trouble to produce the stand which had the look of being a real bar.

All in all it was a great weekend; the festival was good we found another great bar in Moeder Lambic Jean and Nassim are very keen, they know their beers and run a great bar which we will be returning to hopefully in November when we are next over for a week in Brugge. The only downside was the fact that Clive picked up a viral infection which kicked in early Monday evening and remained for most of the week, at least it waited until we were home.

Moeder Lambic

Evie & Briony

Marcus & Briony

Theresa, Nassim & Briony

Marcus & Theresa

Clive & Thom

Mmm no comment!

Christmas decorations delivered from the US

Oh dear and it was only 11pm


Moeder Lambic

Tom’s balancing act and Marcus trying to put him off!


Theresa & Jeremy

Marcus & Theresa

Jean & Marcus

Group Photo

One of those Stille Nacht bottles from the cellar

Group Photo 2

Andy & FredW

Marcus, Theresa & Jeremy

Jeremy studying the bottle

Marcus, Theresa & Teresa

Jeremy & Joyce White


Joyce’s son-in-law and granddaughter

Beer festivals are tiring work!

Paulette, Matt Dinges, Jim & Thom

Glass & beer token

Matt Dinges & Jeremy

Jim & Michele

Jeremy, Paul & FredW

Jeremy & Theo from PINT (NL)

Paul & FredW

Jeremy & Sausage!

Maximum zoom on view from hotel window

Was it a sausage or a cigar?


Cityscape 2

Cityscape 3

Cityscape 4

Cityscape 5

War memorial

War memorial

War memorial

Impressive architecture

Andy’s Dusseldorf beer stand (Germany)

Blaugies brewery

Slaghmuylder brewery

Dupont brewery

Cantillon brewery

Kerkom brewery

Rulles brewery

Grainstore & Belvoir breweries (UK)

De la Senne brewery

De Ranke brewery

Agullon brewery (Spain)

Huvila brewery (Finland)

Thiriez brewery (France)

Franconian beers

High & Mighty brewery (USA)

Theresa & Paulette


FredW & Jeremy

Teresa & Clive


It’s still there Jeremy!

Beers from Sebastian

Don’t think too hard Thom!

Joris ready to go & Paulette

FredW, Paul & Jeremy posing!

Oh yes they do!

Get your glasses here

Festival poster






An old bottle of Leroy Stout

Moeder Lambic again


Moeder Lambic

Theresa on the hard stuff!

Paulette, Theresa & Jeremy

Teresa & Thom
Visit to Brugge 15th to 22nd June 2007
I am not going to produce a day by day account this time as it basically followed the same pattern as previous visits, So it will be a general report instead with a list of the beers sampled at the end. As usual our first bar on the Friday was the Brugs Beertje where at the start of our week Daisy's draught beers included La Chouffe a personal favourite and Kaiser Karel Rood a new addition to the range, we also visited De Zolder but were very tired so did not stay out late. We were pleased to find out that the Beertje was again open on Tuesdays although this was to change in July and August due to staff holidays. Later in the week one of the draught beers changed to the Liefmans Goudenband which was very entertaining on it's first day on as the staff were having problems pouring it without creating a fountain! This was a blessing in disguise as we were very kindly offered a 20 year old bottle of the same beer which Clive shared with one of our local friends. The next day the problem had been solved and the beer was pourable
During the week we saw Peter and Paiva the day before they were due to travel to France for their holiday. Johan was in the UK at the start of our week arriving back in Belgium late on Sunday evening when he came straight to the Beertje to say hello. We also saw several more of our friends during the week and as usual met more new people including Bill & Nina from Florida, Bruce (American), Ron and Gabe (also Americans), Jackie (Dutch living in Scotland), Ian (Scotland) and Paul a Kiwi living in the UK who has recently acquired a pub in our home town which is being refurbished and is expected to reopen in mid July, selling a range of foreign beers. The website for the pub can be found here: www.sausagetreepub.co.uk. We had a very relaxing week and brought back a small supply of beers to add to our existing stocks.

Beers for the week:

La Chouffe
Hercule Stout
Kaiser Karel Rood
Alvinne Extra Blond
Watou Wit
Drie Fontein Gueuze
Saison Dupont
XX Bitter
Alvinne Bruin
Ard Monnik (Struisse)
Pannepot (this should have a line through the o but I don't know how to get that using html)
Rochefort 10
Oude Geuze Boon Mariage Parfait
Liefmans Goudenband (on draught)
Liefmans Goudenband (1987 75cl)
Alvinne Dertig (Erasmus anniversary brew)
Stout Bie
Duivel beer (Boon)
Duchesse de Bourgogne
Petrus Bruin

La Chouffe
Watou Wit
Cuvee de Trolles
Liefmans Framboos
Leute Bok
Petrus Blonde
Triple Karmeliet
Achel Blond
Keizer Karel Blond
De Graarl Triple
De Graarl Gember
Bink Triple Adelardus
Slapmutske Blond
Westmalle Dubbel
Girardin Frambois
Waase Wolf
Valeir blond
St Feuillien
Alvinne Dertig (Erasmus anniversary brew)
Malheur 6
Slapmutske Night Cap
Brugse Zot
Westmalle Tripel
Gouden Carolous Tripel

Bill & Nina in the Beertje

La Chouffe on draught

Fantome and the trademark wonky glass

Kaiser Karel Rood on draught

Tourist photo of the Beertje wall

and again!


Frederik hard at work

Bram, who by now is a married man

Beertje glasses

Daisy back to her normal self

Johan and Hilary




Ron & Marlene

Martin depleting the supplies of Ard Monnik!

Ian & Jackie

Gabe, Ron & Mark in DeZolder

Hiding behind his beer!

The music corner

Martin, me & Bram

Clive & Xavier (Brugse Zot Brewer)

March 2007 visit to Brugge
Beer diary - Brugge 2nd to 9th March 2007
I am sitting writing this while drinking a Kossaat a new Belgian beer from the Lefebvre Brewery a 6.7% blond.

2nd March 2007
We left home at 5.20 am on the 2nd to catch the 7.50 eurotunnel train, as usual the journey went without a hitch. We travelled to Brugge via Noel Cuvelier’s shop near Poperinge to stock up on beers for Clive’s beer talks We arrived in Brugge at midday and we again were allowed straight into the rented apartment. After unpacking, shopping for a few essential supplies and sleeping we were ready for an evening out.

Shortly before 4pm we left to eat at the best restaurant in Brugge: the frituur on the markt! After eating we made our way to our usual starting place for a week in Brugge being the Brugs Beertje in Kemelstraat where we had arranged to meet Johan a friend of ours also known as “Black Beastie“. We received the usually friendly greeting from Daisy and Bram who were on duty that night and settled in for the first part of the evening.

We had bought Johan the Deep Purple Machine Head classic Album DVD which we duly handed over together with the requested Daily Telegraph that we had bought for him that morning. Another friend of ours Dave was also there and lively conversation ensued.

Beerwise we started off with the Saison Dupont that Daisy had on draught and a very nice beer it was too, so much so that we both had another! As we had arranged to meet with Dinae Cat and any other babblers for a brief while at 8pm we decided not to move on to De Zolder for a couple there but to stay put for the evening.

Clive then moved on to a favourite Alvinne brewery beer: the Extra Blonde and I had a new one for me the Urthel Hop-It, both going down well (I‘m not very good at the describing of beer tastes and after a week I‘m not sure that I would remember anyway, but I can say that we did not have a bad beer all week)

As we were still tired from our early start we did not want too many this evening and tried to keep to some lower strength beers during the rest of the evening I had a Cuvee des trolls, a Barbar and a La Chouffe and Clive had a Cantillon Gueuze and some Kaizer Karel Reds a new beer we had seen in Noel‘s that morning.

During the evening Peter and Paivi another local couple we know arrived and joined us at the bar. As expected Diane Cat later arrived and we had a chat with her, we were beginning to tire just before Filipe arrived so after greeting him and his wife we decided to call it a night and head off to bed we think this was at about 9pm but I did not make a note of it.

Johan (aka Black Beastie) in the Beertje, with his Deep Purple DVD and second one for a friend!

Dave & Johan

Bram working

Saison Dupont on draught

Draught Brugse Zot Bruin & Brigand

Draught Brugse Zot Blond

De Koninck a regular draught beer in Belgium

La Chouffe & glass one of my favourite beers, shame it only comes in 75cl bottles

Johan, not sure what he’s doing!


Diane Cat

We can still see you Peter!

Paivi, Clive & Peter

Diane Cat

Paivi & Peter
3rd March 2007
As this was the first weekend in March we had planned to go to the Zythos Beer Festival on the Saturday, so we caught the train to St.Niklaas and arrived at about 11.30, the festival didn‘t open till midday so we joined the queue to get in early and try and find tables for the Babblebelt members coming that day. The other babblers were a little later arriving and joined the back of the queue!
There were a large number of babblers there, I believe we managed to fill 4 tables. The babblers and others supported the cause of “Come up against cancer” by buying the specially designed T-Shirts with a Bill Coleman design and drinking the beers, as part of the beer proceeds went to this very worthy cause. At times the hall seem to be a sea of yellow the colour of the campaign.

There were a large number of babblers from the US present and we realised how lucky we are to live within 4 hours travelling distance of Brugge! Enabling us to visit three times a year.

There were in excess of 50 Breweries/beer firms present at ZBF offering in excess of 230 different beers. The festival is free to enter, you pay 3 euros for a specially made glass that is marked to hold 15cl the standard tasting size, the glass may be returned for a refund at the end. Beer is paid for with tokens that cost 1 euro and are purchased from a stand near the entrance. All beers cost just one token regardless of strength.

There is a tombola that seems to have a large number of winning tickets, it is usually possible to win items worth more than you pay to enter and the funds from the tombola are used to run Zythos and the beer festival. The first winner in our group was Jeremy who came back with 4 bottles of HIK beer announcing the challenge that this was what needed to be topped on tombola wins, shortly after Clive and myself had a go and came back with a 75cl bottle of Valeir blond for me and a Magnum of Piraat for Clive, easily betting Jeremy! A few further goes produced a T-shirt for me and a bottle of Chouffe (75cl) for Clive, we felt this was enough for the day.

Although we had not had a great deal to drink the night before I was feeling a little delicate so we did not have too many beers at ZBF, we had not intended staying too late anyway. Beers we tried at ZBF in no particular order:
Ultra Delice - Ecaussine Brewery
Celtic Angel - Achilles Brewery
Forrestine - Caracole Brewery
La Chouffe 4000th brew - Achouffe Brewery
Scotch de Silly - Silly Brewery
La Divine - Silly Brewery
Aardmonnik - De Struisse Brewery
Aardmonnik v Aardnon - De Struisse Brewery
Maurootje Lauwse Saison - Alvinne Brewery
Extra Special Export Stout - De Dolle Brewery
HIK blond - Het Alternatief Brewery
We left ZBF at 4.30pm and made our way back to Brugge where we went to De Zolder for a short time only drinking De Koninck and Wittekerke Rose before calling it a day.

I did take a few photos at ZBF but I try not to use flash if I can manage it so they may be a little fuzzy, but that is the beer effect isn’t it?

Theresa & Thom

Theresa, Dann, Lennart, Jeremy & Paulette

Theresa -it‘s not that bad!



MikeK, Denise & Joris

MikeK, Glenn & Denise

Jeremy, Sean & Denise
4th March 2007
We caught the 16.33 train from Brugge which arrived at Izegem at 17.01, where we went to Kroegske. We arrived in the bar at 5.11pm to be greeted by Nadine, Danny was not there.

I started on a Piet-Agoras from the Het Alternatief Brewery (9%) and Clive had a ‘n Maurootje (7%). Danny has added a second house beer brewed by the Alvinne brewery to the one Clive tried in November so his second beer was a Kroegbier Pater (9.5% bruin) and I had a Reinaert Blond (9%), Clive then moved on to a Saison Regal (5.5%) as a final beer here and for my final beer I had a Vondel (8.5%). It was a little quiet here this time maybe all the people who would normally be there went to ZBF, we still had a very pleasant evening here as but the time came for us to leave to catch our train home at 19.14, but this was not the end of our evening! We arrived back in Brugge, specifically the Beertje at 20.15 for a nightcap or five! Being a Saison Dupont, Girardin Framboise, Barbar, cheese snack (no I know that is not a beer!) and Barbar for me and Clive had a couple of Saison Duponts and three Kaizer Karol Reds.

Clive on the train back from Izegem

Me on the train back from Izegem
5th March 2007
As Monday is Luk’s night off in De Zolder we settled in to the Beertje for the evening at 8.07pm and managed to be the last to leave at 1.50am! We kept the beers relatively light as follows:
Clive: Saison Dupont, Alvinne Extra Blond, Alvinne Bruin, Podge Imperial Stout, Cantillon Gueze, Oude Boon Gueze Mariage Parfait (8%) and Kaizer Karol Red.
Teresa: Watou Wit, Liefmans Framboise, Triple Karmeliet, Barbar, Cheese, Cuvee des Trolls, Brigand *2 (draught) and Watou wit.

Clive‘s Alvinne Bruine

Spot the mistake in this photo thanks to Frederick!

Frederik hard at work

Beertje glasses (2)

Beertje glasses (2)

The Beertje Bear

It‘s not often we are in the Beertje when it‘s empty so I decided to do the touristy bit!

Empty Beertje (2)

Empty Beertje (3)

Clive at the bar in Beertje

Board showing the draught beers

Me at the bar in Beertje


Clive at the bar in Beertje again!
6th March 2007
Since the Beertje was closed we decided to try another restaurant that had been suggested to us by Jeremy and therefore went to Koekse. Although we did not order a starter we were presented with winkles and fish which given the chance we would probably have refused, I hadn’t had winkles since I was a child but at least I knew what to do with them! I think we will refuse them when we go there again. We both ordered medium steaks which came perfectly cooked, Clive had a béarnaise sauce that was well made and I had mushroom sauce again this was very nice, we were a little surprised when the meal was served with a jacket potato as we had not expected this but were even more surprised when we were given frites too! The meal also came with a good sized side salad and although a little more expense than the restaurant we used to used (The Fox which was turned into Cambrinus enough said) the food was still good value for money. With the meal I had a Brugs Tarwebier and Clive had a Brugse Zot blond.

We then moved on to De Zolder for the remainder of the evening not sure what time we finished but it was not late. Drinks were as follows:
Clive: Leroy Xmas (best before 2001) *2, Chapeau winter Gueze (which tasted nothing like a gueze), Gordons Christmas and De Koninck
Teresa: Wittekerke Rose, Gouden Carulous Ambrio, Watou Tripel *2 and Gouden Carulous Tripel.
7th March 2007
We started the second night of the Beertje being closed in De Garre where we used to go regularly but had not been for some time, we were expecting to see Johan in De Zolder later in the evening so it was a late start at about 8pm this time.
I had a Celis Wit, Boon Frambois and a Corsendonck Agnus and Clive had a Van de Garre, and 2 Gouden Carulous Classics.
We then moved on to De Zolder to be greeted by Luk calling us over to say that there were two people there that had heard a lot about us! They turned out to be Des and Lynne from Manchester, Des sometimes posts on the babble belt. It was a slightly heavier night than we had intended including a Genever at one point thanks to Des J. Marlene one of the locals that we see regularly turned up later as did Johan as expected.
Beers consumed:
Clive: Gouden Carulous Xmas, Vichtenar, Corsendonk Xmas, Petrus blonde, Bush Noel (exp. 2007) and a De Koninck
Teresa: Watou Tripel, Wittekerke Rose, Barbar, Watou Tripel and Petrus winter
After which we staggered back to the apartment.

Des, Lynne & Johan

Clive behind the bar in De Zolder!

Clive & Luk


Clive pretending to pull a beer

Marlene, Yvan? & Des

Clive & me (after midnight so it was now our wedding anniversary)

Clive and me again!

Two locals sorry didn‘t catch their names
8th March 2007
During the afternoon we spent some time chatting in the garden of the apartments with Diane Cat, her husband Chris and one of Diane’s students also called Chris as they were also staying in the same apartments.

This was our last night so as usual we split our time between the De Zolder and Beertje calling it a night at 9.50pm as we were leaving at 8.30 the following morning.

We started in De Zolder this time where I had one of Luk’s Flemish stews with pasta and beerwise Clive had De Konincks and I had, what a surprise, wittekerke Roses!, we said hello and goodbye to Claudine & Mark two locals that we see regularly but this was the first time this week. Then we said goodbye to Luk but it will only be three months till we are back this time. After moving on to Beertje Clive had De Koninck’s and I had a Cuvee des Trolls and a Barbar, we again saw Des and Lynne and Johan for the last time. Unfortunately Daisy was not there to say goodbye to but Frederik and Bram were, so we said our goodbyes and left good wishes for the other locals who we did not see that night.
9th March 2007 - Departure day
Having loaded the car up ready to leave we had an uneventful departure this time, well apart from the roads being closed for roadworks or filming in various places meaning a slight detour was required to leave the city. The filming was for “In Bruges” featuring Colin Farrell, we had actually witnessed some of the filming in the Markt earlier in the week, the film is due to be released in 2008. A steady drive down to Calais saw us arrive in plenty of time to catch our shuttle at 10.28 finally arriving home at just before midday.

We entered the house expecting to find destruction from the two kittens, should that be cats? not a year old yet but one of them already weighs 6kg, his sister is slightly smaller at 4kg but we were surprised to see that although they are bigger this time and can get to more places they had been relatively good only pulling down one of my cuddly toys from Brugge on a previous visit. Our neighbour had been feeding them and spending a fair amount of time with them.