Yesterday was the 27th birthday of our editor and fearless leader – Jessica Reiser. We all really appreciate her dedication to BeerBlotter.com and her amazing thirst for excellent beer at home and abroad on our many beer excursions!
We celebrated this joyous event with a weekend full of camping in Southern Washington’s Seaquest Park, topped off with a day in Seattle drinking beer at Collins Pub, dining at Cafe Campagne and having a nightcap supplied by cellar treats! There was some good beer along the way….
On the way down south, we stopped for a lunch over at the Nothwest Sausage and Deli, the home of Dicks Brewing Co. This place is a mecca of smoked meats, cheeses and of course Dick Young’s famous beers. A more substantive article will appear this week in our 52 Weeks column – but this place is simply amazing and should never be missed by any beer lover.
Lazy Boy Brewing supplied a jockey box and 1/4 kegs of its new Pale Ale and its Imperial Red for our camping trip over the weekend. New Lazy Boy assistant and Beer Blotter writer Timperial Stout helped create what we are calling a “dixie cup randall” filled with fresh smoked wood chips, soaked in Makers Mark. We used the mini-randall to create a bourbon wood infused imperial red (we kind of wish we had used the Pale Ale, but this was still a damn good beer).
Yesterday, Seattle’s Collins Pub supplied some exciting beers with pours of Boundary Bay’s Imperial IPA, Midnight Sun’s 3767 Belgian-style IPA, New Belgium’s Eric Sour Peach Ale and Allagash’s Trippel. We are all such big fans of 3767, an IPA wort engineered by Ballast Point Brewing (San Diego) and infused with 3 different yeast strains (Brett included) and bottle conditioned by Midnight Sun (Anchorage). Its amazing beer in the bottle – and better on the tap.
We enjoyed an incredible dinner at Cafe Campagne, comprised of escargot, country pate, roast duck, steak and fine grenache wine. But we finished up with a nite cap filled with some cellar favorites that had been pushed back for a special occasion. Avery Brewing‘s Brabant Wild Ale was a splendid surprise. The beer has the body of a Cascadian Dark Ale, but the Belgian undertones of a Jolly Pumpkin Bam Noire. The beer is fermented with Brett and conditioned in Zinfendel barrels. Very impressive, though not as sour as we hoped.
We also enjoyed a special beer from Brussels’ Brasserie Cantillon. Cantillon’s Grand Cru Bruscella was a beer that we first enjoyed during a meal at De Gans, a quirky house/restaurant on the outskirts of Ghent, Belgium. After visiting the Cantillon brewery back in March, we decided to take a bottle for the road. The beer is a simple 3 years old lambic with virtually no carbonation and little body – but bursting with flavor. This particular bottle was from the 2006 vintage and is from the “Bio” series of beers made with organically grown ingredients. We very much enjoy this beer, as its flavor develops down to the last drop.
Again – Happy Birthday to Jessica! Expect to see an article reviewing her night with Tomme Arthur during Seattle Beer Week at Brouwers Cafe, later this week.
We are back tracking to week nine, one of the two weeks we spent in Belgium. If I said I wanted to go back there tomorrow and live for all eternity….that would be an understatement.
9 of 52
9000 Gent, Belgium
09 225 06 80
Rank: #1 of 12 (again including there is one other unknown Belgian place, which will be in the top 5)
Type of Establishment: Your quintessential Belgium beer bar
BEERS ON TAP (at time of visit) —>
Rodenbach Grand Cru
House Beer Gandavum (blonde hoppy ale)
House Beer Mammelokker (dark ale)
House Beer Klokke Roeland (strong ale – 11.5%)
FOOD OPTIONS: No food options. Remember we are in Belgium. They drink all day on an empty stomach and so should you!
STAFF OPINIONS: A small establishment, there were two bartenders, one of which we had the pleasure of interacting with. He, like many, if not all Belgium residents knew his beer….he knew it well. He discussed 3 of the brews on tap that were the house beers and suggested we try them all. (Interesting, rare beers on draft are hard to come by in Belgium, a country that prides themselves on aged bottles). He was pleasant, informative and happy to introduce beers that we had never had into our lives. We are forever indebted.
Ghent was the first stop outside of Antwerp that we made in Belgium. A city with so much history and beauty, Ghent has much to offer in the realms of beer and art. During our stay we encountered medieval churches, bell towers, castles, canals and quaint squares. Although these elements of the city were preserved, Pizza Huts and modern hotels proved that Ghent was a city of the past and of the future. Prior to stopping at the Waterhuis, we ventured into Saint Bavo Cathedral to see the Ghent Altarpiece, otherwise known as the Altarpiece of the Mystic Lamb by Hubert and Jan Van Eyck. Completed in the early 15th Century, this masterpiece was very high on my bucket list and is the single most impressive piece of artwork I have ever seen. The picture in this post is from the internet, as you are not allowed to take photos of the piece.
After taking in our art for the day, we head over to Het Waterhuis located along side a canal and therefore appropriately named in more ways than one. A modest space with old, almost rotting wood paneling along the floor, a layer of dust and a cloud of smoke, this bar would not exist in the US and this is why we love it. We find a space in the back with a barrel surrounded by four chairs next to a window looking out onto the water with a castle in the back drop. Dried hops hang from the bar with bottles, many of which we had yet to try, layered with dust and mold that lined the wall.
We sat in awe of the country we just arrived in, in awe of the beer we were drinking. Het Waterhuis was one of many beer experiences to come. It was amazingly worthy of our top spot to date.