This post is a part of the 2015 New Beer Every Day Beer Diary Challenge, #ottbeerdiary. Over the course of 2015, I will be trying a new beer every day. Please read the background in the link above, and enjoy reading about the most recently tasted beers below. If you’d like to join the challenge as well, let me know in the comments below, and be sure to check out Grown-up Travel Guide and his #grownupbeerdiary, where Andy Higgs came up with the diary format in use below. You can catch up on all of our posts as part of the challenge under the tag ottbeerdiary.
Day 243: August 31, 2015
I am currently in Belgium for the European Beer Bloggers and Writers Conference (#EBBC15 if you wish to follow along). Today is the second day of a tour of West Flanders’ beer culture with #VisitFlanders.
The final day of my mini-conference vacation started today with one of the best hotel breakfasts I’ve had in a while! I must say, the Grand Hotel Callelbergh has impressed me during my short stay. Comfy bed, nice shower, killer location, and a heck of a breakfast! I’ll check them out for a future stay, for sure!
We were given a walking tour of the city to start us off, seeing all the main sights of the city, but with an added twist of the tour guide linking in the beer culture of the city to a number of the sites. Who knew Brugge had such a rich beer heritage! I was very proud to see that the route we took pretty much included all of the same stops, twists, and turns that I take when I should people around the city.
Our first real step of the day was at Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan, where they brew the Straffe Hendrik and Bruges Zot beers. We toured the brewery, which I have not done since 2008, and has changed quite a bit, with a whole new modern brewery in place, still connected to the historic old brewery museum that I remember from before. This is always a very cool tour to take.
After lunch at the brewery, in which we were served the Straffe Hendrik Wild (2015) and Straffe Hendrik Brugs Tripel Bier 9°, Jay Brooks of the San Jose Mercury News Brookston Beer Bulletin made a quick run over to the Church of Our Lady to see the Bruges Madonna by Michaelangelo, recently made more famous in the movie The Monuments Men, before meeting the rest of the group over at the Bruges Beer Museum in the center square.
The Bruges Beer Museum has been open since 2014, and is partnered with the Palm Group of breweries. The museum features two floors of multi-media exhibits and information, along with a fun quiz on the history of beer. Following your self-guided tour, you can visit the tasting room overlooking the Market Square and enjoy a selection of beers from the Palm group, including some beers exclusive to the museum. I tried foederbier by Brouwerij Rodenbach, Oude Lambiek (2 Jaar Oud) by Brouwerij Boon, and Palm Ongefilterd by Brouwerij Palm.
The skies cut loose on us during our visit to the museum, so we had a wet walk back to the hotel for our bus ride back to Brussels. I must say, however, Bruges is still quite a charming city in the late-summer rain, and with the smaller crowds for being a Monday as well.
Our tour’s final stop on the way back to Brussels was at De Leite Belgian Brewery, where we were given a great history of the brewery and each of their beers, as well as a tour of the brewing facility, one of the cleanest I’ve ever seen! The brewery shares space with the brewer’s retail display products business, which definitely leads to a unique brewery experience. And the beers are well worth seeking out!
Femme Fatale, a nice sour amber.
Enfant Terriple, Funky. Bitter. Very interesting.
Cuvée Soeur’ise – Delightful fruit and sour. I’ve had this one before, otherwise it would have been the beer of the day!
Merci Maman – In honor of the mothers who lost their sons in WWI. A little fruity, a bit sour. Decent.
Fils À Papa III – Spelt beer. Fruity and wheaty.
And the beer of the day…
Name: Ma Mère Speciale
Style: Belgian Pale Ale
Producer: Brouwerij De Leite
Alcohol content: 6.0%
Bottle size: 0.15l pour from a 0.33l bottle
Purchased from: Provided to us on our tour of West Flanders with #VisitFlanders at #EBBC15
Ma Mère Speciale by Brouwerij De Leite. A sour, Belgian Pale Ale from Ruddervoorde, Belgium. A beer made special by the brewer as a surprise for the 80th birthday of his mother. There may have been a slight infection in this batch, but it was still enjoyable, and with the story to go along with it!
The demand for a more bitter beer has grown. In French bitter is called ‘amère’ (like mère for mother). ‘Ma Mère Speciale’ has been added to the ranks. Ma Mère Speciale has a mild malty rich quality. The balanced bitter hop flavor is rounded off with a soft, fine hint of lemon. The refined hop aftertaste lingers pleasantly. This golden bitter ‘mother’ is ‘unbitterable’ according to brewers.
De Leite brewery was founded in 2008 by Luc Vermeersch, who had been experimenting with home brewing in a 30 liter kit from Finland since 1997. Currently they are brewing once a month, with seven beers in the normal line-up.