Friday, 20 May 2011

Toer de Geuze 2011 - Summary

I just want to wrap up the summary of Toer de Geuze 2011 before I get stuck into the Beer Bloggers Conference followed by another beery trip with Podge's Tours to the battlefields of Belgium.

On reflection I could have included more words and better photos of people enjoying themselves rather than brewing equipment in-situ but I hope I have given a flavour of the day. Eight or nine (possibly ten or eleven will be open next time) lambic breweries/blenders in one day. Podge's Beer Tours include this as part of a four day/three night weekend including other brewery visits and some of the best bars. Get it in your diary for May 2013.

And finally, 39 weary beer tourist climb aboard the bus and slowly make their way to the Heeren van Liedekercke at Denderleeuw, the famous beer cuisine restaurant. A chance to wind down, share the highlights of the day, eat some fine food and drink some more beer.

No more sours for me. I need a malty, sweet, strong beer. Start with a Struise Pannepot, then a Glazen Toren Ondineke, then what ??? well, your guess is a good as mine.

Slept well !

One of the greatest beer days ever.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Toer de Geuze 2011 - Mort Subite

And so a marvellous day draws to an end. Chasing the end of the day, we chose to skip de Troch in favour of reaching Mort Subite before shut down. Managed a quick look round the historic and modern sides of the brewery without the crowds. Alone in a brewery, among the ghosts of beer - that's more like it.

Another more commercial fruit beer brewer that has again cottoned onto the growing popularity of the more authentic stuff.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Toer de Geuze 2011 - de Cam

Now coming towards the end of a long day we reach our penultimate stop, de Cam, a new blender set up at the de Cam Museum of folk art in Gooik, SW of Brussels. Beers from Drie Fonteinen, Boon, Girardin and Lindemans are blended in oak casks from Pilsner Urquell. I took full advantage of the slightly longer visit to enjoy glasses of both the Kriek and the Oude Gueuze - both excellent.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Toer de Geuze 2011 - Lindemans

Lindemans is another lambic brewer serving more commercial style fruit beers but for something more traditional seek out the Cuvee Rene Grand Cru Oude Gueuze.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Toer de Geuze 2011 - Timmermans

Podge's magic bus takes us onto Timmerman's, normally associated with sweet commercial beers, but with a nod to tradition, an old brewery , superb museum, and some special Oude Gueuze if you can sniff it out.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Toer de Geuze 2011 - Boon

Up in scale here. Frank Boon's beers are now available world-wide. Even my fine local Fullers pub, Red Lion, Barnes, stocks the standard Boon Kriek and Boon Framboise.

My favourite is the Boon Mariage Parfait Oude Kriek, using the best barrels of aged lambic and the finest quality cherries. A world class beer and a bargain at €4 in the brewery.

A large site, packed with revellers. Those with the energy to take a walk round the site were rewarded with a small taster of the lambic.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Toer de Geuze 2011 - Drie Fonteinen

Slightly longer here to enjoy the beers. A short talk in Flemish was rewarded with a taster of Drie Fonteinen lambic but it was the large glass of Kriekenlambic that really hit the spot (€3). Hand pulled, little carbonation, sharp and refreshing. Starting to get crowded now we reach the middle of the day, and the locals are out in great numbers. Warming up to be a really great day out.

Toer de Geuze 2011 - Oud Beersel

Next stop is Oud Beersel, the newest of the lambic blenders having resurrected the company after it closed in 2003. We landed here just as one of the HORAL buses arrived so there was a long queue to walk round the cellars.

We were on a mission, so enjoyed another quick glass of lambic and decided to walk to the next place, Drie Fonteinen. Supposedly a 10 minute walk, our plan was to get in an extra glass of Drie Fonteinen beer while the rest of the tour followed either on the bus or a more leisurely stroll.

Luckily I had a guide - NOT. "It's ok, I know where it is, just by the church, in the town" says the guide (Lovely Eric, world famous publican). I started to get worried as no church came in sight, and ten minutes turned to twenty. A schoolboy French conversation got us back on track and the guide did not fail as we reached the next brewery a minute before the bus. Doh !

Monday, 9 May 2011

Toer de Geuze 2011 - Hanssens

Leave our base hotel in Aalst, north of Brussels, bright and early in eager anticipation of a long day. Our first stop is Hanssens to the south of the City. This family brewed lambic until the Germans stole their copper in WW1 and have blended other people's beers ever since with much success.

A short stop here to aclimatise to the sour beers, a small (free) glass of 4 year old Girardin lambic, a quick walk round and back on the bus. There is much ground to cover.