DESTINATION: Bruges, Belgium
DISTANCE: 44 Miles (71 km)
GETTING THERE: It’s a fairly flat and straight route but the GPS failed to record so I can only share our planned route.
The warm, sunny weather began to turn on our ride to Bruges. We avoided the rain for most of our ride, and the temperature dropped steadily as we got closer to the city.
As soon as we pulled into our hotel and locked the bikes, the rain started falling and wouldn’t stop all night.
Our first night in Bruges was a Monday, so almost everything was closed. After wandering around in the cold rain, we finally found some food and headed back to the hotel for some much needed rest.
Day 2 in Bruges was slightly less rainy. We were able to climb the Belfry before the day’s rain came in. Awesome view of the city and worth the hike up the steps!
Bruges is filled with awesome beer bars, so we decided to hit up Rose Red first. They have a few beers on tap, and a lot in bottles. It’s a fairly new place by Bruges standards, but they specialize in Trappist beers and tapas. They had everything from aged Orval to Oak Aged La Trappe Quad.
Next we wandered to De Garre. This is a cool little place that almost looks like an old church/house. Most reviews online talk about how difficult it is to find De Garre but it’s really not that bad. The bar is definitely hidden, but Google Maps got us close and then we just wandered down the alley until we came across it. They also brew their own Tripel which is served alongside a sampling of cheese. It is a tasty 11.5% ABV beer and I highly recommend it! Definitely check this place out!
For dinner, we went to Cambrinas. The food is great, and there’s a HUGE beer list. We found beers on the menu here that we had not seen anywhere else on the trip. If you want to do dinner here, make sure you stop by earlier in the day for reservations. We ended up sitting at a table next to a couple from Scotland. After dinner, we sat around and had a few beers with them. We closed down Cambrinas and stumbled to the Druid Cave for a few more beers. The Druid Cave is filled with local teenagers in the twilight hours, and there’s not much of a beer selection, but it’s a very cool location and they serve the local Bruges Zot Belgian Pale Ale.
On day 3, we decided to hit up the local art museums. If you’re into boring Dutch portraits and Jesus paintings, this is your kind of place. I recommend it if you want to get out of the rain.
We checked out “the oldest bar in Bruges.” It’s a neat little house, but the beer selection is lacking. We were going to meet the Brits here, but they never showed. We later learned that they were incapacitated for the day, thanks to the night before.
We later headed to Halve Maan Brewery for a beer. Their Straffe Hendrick Quad is amazing!
Finally, we ended the night at ‘t Poatersgat (Peters Gate?). It’s a little bar under a church…it looks like a bar in a catacomb. When you walk by, there are no signs. The tiny door has their logo painted on, and it just looks like someone graffitied the church door. The beer selection is incredible and inside is one of my favorite locations to ever drink a beer. I also drank one of the best beers I’ve ever had in my life while here. I asked the bar tender if he had anything special that he recommended and he pulled out something not on the menu, and that I had never seen. This was Tsjeeses Reserva from De Struise Brouwers and it was amazing. This beer had so many complex malt and spice flavors going on that I could never have been able to identify all of them.
Supposedly this Tsjeeses Reserva was from 2012, but I never could figure out how to tell this from the bottle. The more research I’ve done on this beer the more I get confused. Supposedly the Reserva is aged in wood, but it may or may not change every year. I’m also not sure how you can tell what year a particular bottle came from. We found some bottles at a store, but once again we couldn’t figure out when they were brewed. The only indicator I found was that the label had “TSJ No. 11” but I’ve heard that just means it was the 11th beer de Struisse made. I’ll provide more info if I ever figure this beer out.
On to the next post: Days 13 – 15: Brussels