Guys, we had a short beercation in Belgium!!! Woot woot! Now, we have to backtrack a little and explain our over-the-top excitement. Actually, we’ve been planning this trip for two years. Buuut at first we couldn’t find a dog sitter, then all kinds of happy and sad family events happened. So this year we said f*ck it, let’s just buy the tickets, book AirBnB and go. And we went, you guys, and it was the bomb. We have a couple of stories to tell — one about our beer finds in Bruges and Brussels; the other (this one) about a little tour we took to find the perfect geuze.
Before the trip, we booked two seats in a special tour bus (courtesy of Horal) and one grey Sunday morning off we went on an adventure. After 7 hours of tasting beer, touring breweries and trying to understand Dutch we were so freaking tired we couldn’t be bothered to go out to eat. But we were very happy and stocked on some amazing brews.
The first stop was De Lambiek — a visitor center in Beersel dedicated entirely to lambic, the miracle of spontaneous fermentation. We each got a cute little glass and were sent to the tasting room. Although we wished for at least a short tour (which we didn’t get; the whole thing was more like serve yourself), the first sips of Oud Beersel’s Oude Geuze were enough to lift our spirits high. It was a-ma-zing. Very rich, full of champaigny notes. We chose this first since we knew that Oud Beersel brewery isn’t included in the itinerary. After a short battle against time (we lost) we were on the bus again headed to 3 Fonteinen.
We’ll use this opportunity to gush about Belgian countryside. Cue romantic music. Belgian towns and villages are just the cutest! Very neat, tidy, with narrow winding streets. The people out and about hiking with their dogs and children (at least those who didn’t come to the breweries). Very quaint. Sappy part over, let’s get back to beer stuff.
Out of all the breweries visited that Sunday, 3 Fonteinen was the best. It’s a small family owned brewery that’s been producing award winning lambics and geuzes. Upon arrival they poured us a taste of 13 month old lambic. Already smooth, it will definitely be a great basis for geuze. They also gave us a tour of the (tiny) premises which we enjoyed greatly, thanks to one of the brewers (we can’t remember your name, sorry!) who was an excellent guide. We even had a peek at their cask cellar. After stocking up on 3 Fonteinen’s brews (those who could afford it were buying in bulk; we would’ve done that, too, if it weren’t for the weight restrictions on our luggage) we were on the road again.
Just as it started to rain we ended up at Hanssens, an idependent geuze blender. This was by far the most otherworldly experience we had during this tour. A yard and a barn packed with people, a horse right next to the improvised beer counter, some decent lambic to taste and the blender’s wife(?) breastfeeding while he serves visitors. We checked out their cask storage, made some selfies next to rows upon rows of green bottles and escaped the whole Kafkaesque situation in favour of a dry (and warmer) bus. Next up — Mort Subite!
The stop at Mort Subite was short. We went in, had a look around at their premises, downed a couple of sweet krieks and were kind of done with it. Although the technicolor cherries in Mort Subite’s kriek would be too much on a regular basis, after a day of lambics and geuzes the sweetness was kind of refreshing. Now, at this point we were a bit jaded, so not even the jolly local band could make us smile brighter. Compared to the other two locations, Mort Subite was on another level size-wise, yet it lacked the zaniness that we somehow grew quite fond of. Anyhow, with three down and one to go we were on the bus again with increasingly drunk Belgians keeping us entertained. Made us reminisce all the high school outings when the cool kids would snuck drinks into busses and have (actually not so secret) little parties.
Lindemans was the biggest and the poshest brewery on the list. Rows upon rows of tables, a generous spread to accompany oude krieks and geuzes, tacky lighting and music — it turned into one big party. We loved the fest feel to it and we actually liked the brews, especially Kriek Cuvee Rene. Wonderful cherry aroma, accompanied by sourness that’s not too sharp. One bottle of this beauty is now hidden away in our cellar, waiting to be popped open on some special occasion.
Thusly ended Toer de Geuze 2015 — on a high note, with everyone full of great (or at least good) beer. On the way back to the station the bus was silent, lulled by all the geuze consumed during the past 7 hours. We, too, were satiated. It was a fun experience, one we would be happy to repeat next year, preferably visiting other breweries, since there’s a lot that we couldn’t cover. Till next time, Belgium!