In the few small days since my last post a lot has happened. We arrived and stayed in Bruges for two beautiful days. On the first day due to Maddi Being Ill we had a rather chill day in which I went for a 20 kilometre bike ride around the city centre. I found where the breweries were, its not exactly hard to you get hit with the smell of warm malt in the Mash. Its an amazing smell for those who don’t know it. On our second day we went into town together to do some exploring, we found out that we could do a boat ride around the city centre and opted to do that so we could see the sights in comfort. It was a very enjoyable experience. After walking round for what seemed like hours (mainly because we were looking for chemists) we found a nice looking beer shop in which I decided to have a round of Duvel. A well produced Belgian beer that never fails to taste enjoyable. In addition to the Duvel I treated myself to a De Konnick Belgian APA, again a very enjoyable albeit traditional flavoured Belgian APA. The weather in the afternoon was starting to look a bit worse for wear. So in the spirit of things I found the closest craft beer shop, aptly named ‘The Beer Shop’ and went in. To my sheer joy the shop went back over 100ft, opening itself out to show a range of around 1000 different Belgian and German beers. I was in Sheer heaven!! Reviews for the beers will be coming soon!
After heading back we had a relaxing night cooking our favourite food, tacos.
The next morning we awoke to a beautiful day, our final day at Camping Melming (A must for anyone visiting Bruges). After cooking some bacon sandwiches we decided to just go for broke and head for Brussels. Much to our disappointment Brussels was nothing like its Belgian counterpart and felt more like an abandoned London. Pretty much all of the shops, and breweries were closed as it was a ‘holiday’. It was a bit of a disappointment so we decided to carry one. 30km away is the town of Leuven. Famous for two things. Being the place where Stella Artois is produced and for having the longest bar in the World. Again a ‘national holiday’ meant a lot of the places we wanted to go were shut. So we settled for a small glass at one of the bars in the square that makes up the worlds longest bar and continued on.
The question was asked how far is it too Amsterdam? to be precise its 288km. On top of Bruges to Brussels (nearly 100km) and Brussels to Leuven (32km). As the course of this road trip goes we said let’s go for it. We left at 5.30pm and arrived at just past 8pm. The next struggle was finding somewhere to park up. We are in a big van with graphics going all around that’s hard to misplace. In addition to that we didn’t think to look into anywhere we could camp, and we knew the wild camping in the Netherlands carries a hefty fine with it (roughly 200-300 euros). We stumbled upon a campsite called Camping Zeeberg while scoping out a few car parks and persuaded them to give us a spot for the night. Even if it was at great expense!! The next morning we enjoyed warm showers, washing facilities and some fresh croissants and pastries. Then it was on with the hunt for a 24 hr car park we could camp out in. 2hrs of driving around the Amsterdam ring road later and we found a place that said they have a spot. We fit the van in perfectly and hopped abroad the metro into the town centre. Now there are certain bonuses to having a girlfriend that doesn’t like beer, one of which is that you are left to your own devices. And that’s exactly what happened, I was checked upon in different bars throughout the day, but otherwise was in my own craft beer world. For any of you that follow my social media you will know the places I am about to mention. I started there afternoon off at Brouwerij De Prael in the heart of the Amsterdam canals. Sadly their brewery tour was not open but their taproom around the corner was and I made the most of it. I ordered a tasting platter of four beers, their milk stout, their New England IPA, their Belgian Tripel and their Barley Wine. All were enjoyable beers, but maintained the traditional flavours you would expect from them. The milk stout was smooth, with a hint of carbonation and a great coffee taste, the NEIPA was juicy but not too sweet, the Tripel was thick, rich and had hints of jasmine and coriander and the Barley wine had a nice malty backbone that was balanced out with hints of sweetness and booziness.
After my taster I decided to continue onwards to In De Wildeman, an old school whiskey and beer bar that was just up my alley. I think has been my favourite place to visit on the trip so far. Antiques and unique paintings adorned the walls in all directions with a bar that looks like its been there for a hundred years. It was perfect, and so was the beer. I was started on a refreshing Keller Bier, followed up by a Strawberry Milkshake IPA and a Bowmore BA Imperial stout and finally a Citra Summer SIPA. All were perfect in their own ways, I will be writing beer reviews for them shortly. After this little selection me and Maddi went out for a romantic dinner to McDonalds, she was enjoying herself shopping in one of Amsterdams many shopping districts. After our brief rendezvous for dinner We went our separate ways for another hour or two, me to Cafe Belgique and then to Bier Koning Amsterdam (Who will forever remember me because they have some of my t-shirts!) Cafe Belgique is a cool, little place down a side street that specialises in Belgian beer, I just went for a larger as I wanted to save myself for Bier Koning. I’m glad I did. It is an amazing place that has beer running as a craft beer shop since 1985, it is a corner stone of the Amsterdam craft beer scene that is not to be missed! Say hi to the guys and definitely ask to see their local section. Over 150 bottles will be shown to you from all over Amsterdam. Its a must see. I went for whatever was recommended to me, as when your local, buy local.
After that me and Maddi met back up and took the tram back to where the van was parked for a snooze. After all it has been a long day. The next morning we woke up to beautiful weather and said we wanted to see the beach. So here we are 40km outside of Amsterdam about to sleep in a carpark above a beach. Life couldn’t be much better, well apart from the fact I’ve sunburnt anyways. I am looking forward to cracking open a cold one tonight and watching the sun set.
Bye for now!!