Monday, 24 December 2007

Seasonal Greetings!

We would like to wish all of our readers an excellent Christmas 2007.

For those of you we have met over the year, good to have met you and for those who have been on one of our tours, thanks, your custom has been greatly appreciated!

We hope to see you all again in 2008 on more of our tours!

Andy and Evi

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Ardennes Special/Chouffe Tour (AS-071214)

For tour photos click here.

Day 1-Friday 14 December 2007.

Louvain station. 2-30pm
After a quick introduction, 'Hello gents, this is Matt from the Stella Artois brewing factory....' we were on our way out of Louvain and onto the autoroute to the Ardennes.
After passing over the River Meuse/Maas we were into the Ardennes, Spa to our right, Malmedy to our left. Surprisingly it wasn't raining, it was freezing, yikes!
1-1 Brasserie de Bellevaux, Malmedy
First things first, straight to the cafe and a sampling of the breweries 3 beers (a 4th-Blanche/Wheat is on in the summer) then William showed us around his new copper Japanese brewery, an incredible brewery for the Ardennes where 'one-pot' breweries seem to be the norm!

A short drive across the Ardennes and onto Mont.
1-2 La Vieille Forge, Mont
Hello Boomer, how are you?
Awesome Belgium Beer Night with some amazing vintage beers dug up from Mr Chouffes's cellar. Maybe he should move more often!
Thankyou Mr Chouffe!

Day 2-Saturday 15 December
2-1 Millevertus Brasserie, Toernich
After being told to help ourselves to a beer (!) and looking around the brewery with Daniel's wife, the main man then turned up and started again with beer tasting! Great place, great beer and an amazing 'one-pot' brewery. Thanks.
2-2 Orval Monastery, Villers-devant-Orval
After some Orval cheese, a beer and some food it was back into the cold and a look around the ruins to discover the legend of Mathilde and her lost ring!
2-3 Houffalize
Quick stop, quick beer and onto Achouffe.
2-4 Achouffe Brasserie, Achouffe
Brewery tour, a mad dash to the cafe, some crazy Chouffe music then onto La Vieille Forge!
2-5 La Vieille Forge, Mont
Belgium Beer Night (another one!), some great Ardennes food and a 40-beer night! Good effort!

Day 3-Sunday 16 December

A -5°C start and we're off onto the autoroute and today is Lambic day. Past Bruxelles and onto Gooik in Vlaams-Brabant.
3-3 De Cam Geuzestekerij, Gooik
An excellent guided tour of De Cam 'blendery' by the man himself, Karel. We were also treated to an excellent bagpipe demonstration! Awesome.

Bruxelles. 2-45pm. The town is grid-locked. Rome looks tame compared with this. 'heard of the Italian job? Well this is the British Job....right turn Klide!'.
Drop-off at the traffic lights. Bye chaps....

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Medieval Baere & Banquet Night (PM-071207)

Another day in the year 1516.

A wise monk once said:

He who drinks beer sleeps well.

He who sleeps well cannot sin.

He who does not sin goes to heaven.

Photos now online.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Medievel Baere & Banquet Night (PM-071201)

The year is 1516. The day is 23rd April in the year of our lord. The town is Ingolstadt/Bayern.

Our rulers, Dukes Wilhelm and Ludwig have just told our brewers that they can no longer add gruit/wild herbs lavender, coriander and juniper to the beer. How on earth can I now mask those horrible tastes when I serve you your jug of beer?

They can’t even use wheat, rye, oats, peas and beans anymore. How can I serve your beer for 3 Pfennings?

Only barley, water and hops can be used. Mad. Stupid Dukes.

We call it bier from our forefather s’ Saxon word baere, the word for barley. Those pagans bastards in the north still call their crap beer Øl, they cannot even read and write, the heathens!

You, peasants are in my tavern in the city walls.

You have walked here from your dirty stinking villages in your crappy rags, why you can’t even afford the decent silk and fine cloth our ‘nobles’ wear! And what are those things on your feet. Ha ha! And I see you have your heathen children, how many Maßs will those little gits have tonight? At least they will have something decent to drink!

Well at least tonight you will probably find our food too spicy and salty anyway, it would go foul anway.

And as for you women. You are lucky our gentlemen allowed you to sit at our table, until 1100 you were banished to the kitchen where you belong. All you have brought is your stupid rules, we have to wash our hands now and we can’t even fart or burp, whatever next, using a fork like those nobles!?

You may even have some white bread instead of that hard black crap you normally have. What you don’t eat just feed to those scruffy in-bred dogs of yours.

Drunkenness is forbidden in the here as well as in the monasteries, and any of you who spills your beer must stand upright all night.

After our feudal landlords took over brewing from the monks (1250), we can even brew beer ourselves! Great. Mind you soon I think we can no longer brew in the summer as it really is getting hot (bluddy global warming!).

Mind you, after the Black Death in the 1400s there are fewer than half of us left in Europe anyway. Ha. More beer!

Since 1351 you have had your jugs filled to the mark, I cannot even put water in the beer!

So, finally, you are lucky to drink wine tonight, I managed to ‘acquire’ a wagon load from the Scloß.

Drink then, drink and take someone down a peg or two!

Prost! Cheers!

Photos from 1516, click here!