Looking back at my Facebook feed, it seems I am in actual fact doing an alcohol tour of the world. So, for the record, that is incidental, OK!?!?!?
Champagne Vintage Mumm
But seriously, Reims has been on my radar ever since my brother Simon taught me to appreciate wine properly (and no, I don’t mean just drink buckets of it ok?) And ever since my father introduced me to Foresters lager and Bosun’s bitter in PE back in ’87, I have been a fan of craft or independent beer. So Belgium is obvious right?

Anyway, the point is, had a fabulous time touring around Bruges the last coupla days trying out beer. It is funny though how much more snobby wine or champagne tasting is. We did a brewery tour yesterday and it was very much no frills, sense of humour, feet on the ground stuff. Compare that to the manor house that each of the Champagne tours took place in and the sense of importance that hangs over all of Reims and well, you see what I mean…

It could be that Bruges is just a much more laid back place, or it could be that beer lovers just don’t take the whole thing that seriously, but there is an undeniable difference. Spent last night in a bar that serves 300 Belgian beers with 2 Kiwi’s and a Dutch couple. Oh how we laughed! Apparently my Afrikaans is more intelligible to Southern Dutch people than to Amsterdammers and makes more sense to a Dutch than a Flemmish speaker… They’ve been lying to us people… Vlaams is not really Afrikaans in disguise!

The other surprising development was that, after more than one or two beers in excess of 7% alcohol, I didn’t fall over and die and my liver is NOT in the ICU… You definitely get a different sort of drunk, but I wasn’t totally blitzed… I was quietly surprised. It had to be quiet, anything louder hurts….

So, now that I have worked my way through some of the highlights of the Belgian beer offering, today I think I shall try out canal boats and chocolate…. If you don’t hear from me, send the ambulance to the chocolate shop!

De Garre brewery and bar in Bruges
De Garre brewery and bar in Bruges
The gates of the house of Mumm
The gates of the house of Mumm