Dworp to Brugge
27 August 2011 | Brugge, Belgium
Wednesday: A 45 km loop and back to the same hotel, through the countryside and especially the site of the great 1825 battle of Waterloo, where Napoleon was defeated and the course of European geopolitical history changed forever. We had an early evening visit to the lambic brewery Oud Beersel, a very tiny brewery dating from the 1880's. Brewing actually ended there in 1995, however production continues under new ownership with the purchase of lambic wort from the Boon brewery, and fermentation and aging is done on site.
Thursday: On the move finally, we ride 65 km to the town of Odenaarde, stopping at the lambic blender De Cam in Goick. We were greeted by a village music festival, with Flemish bagpipes and accordions being most common but just about all musical instruments and age groups represented. Karel put on a great passionate beer talk, and received a fabulous compliment from Sherri, a life-long non-beer drinker, who said his lambic and kriek bier were the first beers of her life that she enjoyed.
Friday: Thunderstorms roll through all night and it is an intermittent rain day as we head out. We all ride as a relatively tight group because the chalk arrows that Experience Plus! normally place as route markers would wash away in this rain. Things dry out after an hour or so and and we roll into the beautiful city of Brugge, 74 km. Riding a bike into the city is so easy, completely unlike the many entrances I have made over the years by car. It is always a thrill to wander around this well preserved historic city, especially with someone seeing it for the first time.
Saturday: We skip the optional ride to Oostende and explore the art museums and cultural relics of the city. Sadly, what I once considered the second best beer bar of Brugge, Erasmus, is under different management and has dismantled their once long beer list. Happily, Brugs Beertje, the absolute best beer bar in the world as far as I am concerned, continues its superb beer cultural offerings and expert advice. The Belgian beer scene remains dynamic, and since my last visit 3 years ago, there are quite a few new beers that I have not heard of, including some well made American style IPAs; another trans-oceanic beer cultural exchange!