A few years ago, a friend and I decided to go to Bruges (it's in Belgium) for a long weekend to sample lots of beer (and maybe look at some other stuff). It has since become a tradition for us to go there every November...
There are a few bars that we have to visit every time, we can't not go there. The picture above is taken at 'Staminee De Garre', a lovely little cafe bar tucked away down an alley way which would be difficult to find but it's always packed because people know it's there. Their house beer is a deliciously complex 11% beast which is dangerously drinkable considering the strength. It always comes with a small dish of cheese cubes which are also excellent and they genuinely compliment each other really well.
Best bar in Bruges (and possibly the world) is the quite strangely named 't Brugs Beertje', otherwise known as 'The Little Bruges Bear'. Really cosy place serving 250-300 beers... the sort of place that you can quite happily spend hours and hours in. Just look at this photo and tell me you don't want to just sit there and drink loads of beer.
Troubadour MagmaMy favourite beer of the weekend is one I don't recall having before. It's called Troubadour Magma. It's 9% and it's basically a golden Belgian ale with all the complex maltiness that you'd expect from a Belgian ale. One thing it boasts which a lot of Belgian beers don't though is hop character.
Hops aren't traditionally the big thing in Belgium, most of the beers are strong which comes from a large amount of malt and the malts used are quite often fairly sweet. They also tend to add sugar during fermentation (which we don't tend to bother doing in the UK) so their beers are generally quite rich. Their hop additions in contrast are often quite simple and the amount used is normally quite low in relation to the quantity of malt. Troubadour Magma still has the rich maltiness but uses more late additions of flavoursome american hops giving it that sharp citrussy bite. I found out that they make special editions which are made with a different type of hop each time (generally ones which are rarely found in Belgian beers). I got myself a bottle of the current limited edition made with Sorachi Ace, a fantastic citrussy hop from Japan. I'm waiting for a special occasion to crack this open... can't fucking wait.