Climbing the stairs pt 1

Posted on July 4, 2011


I was accused of digressing a little too often in my last post. In fact, my wife said the last post contained a lot of ‘flannel’, albeit high quality cotton quilting flannel. These comments have been noted and from this day forth ‘laconic’ will be my watchword. It’s goodbye hyperbole, hello pithy. I promise to stick limpet-like to the subject from now on.

On to today’s post, which covers the magnificent beers of Belgium as experienced by my motley crew in the world class surroundings of the Café Bottelje in Ostend.  So no more nonsense, let’s get onto the first beer….

Westmalle Dubbel 7% draft

The first moon landing.

The fall of the Berlin Wall.

Barack Obama elected President.

England spanking Germany 5-1.

These are days on which the world stood still; days on which the world seemed a better place and that maybe, just maybe, we could all just live together. I’d like to suggest my own contender for inclusion on this historic list: the day I tried Westmalle Dubbel on draft. When that heavenly liquid touched my lips, everything else melted away; it was just the beer and me in a heavenly embrace. It did indeed demand focus and there was love in its eyes. This dark reddish brown trappist beer was as smooth as a mink’s pocket and sweeter than the bottled version, with hints of coffee and caramel.

While it turned out to be an inspired choice, I choose the Westmalle Dubbel because it is served in half pint goblets. One thing I have learned is that one should climb the ‘percentage’ stairs one stair at a time.

La Chouffe 8% 75cl bottle

LA CHOUFFE is a pleasant enough, fruity, unfiltered blonde beer. I know La Chouffe has its fans – Shamu loves this beer – but I think this is more of a one-night-stand sort of beer rather than something you fall in love with. On this occasion, however, my thirst was real lusty due to our cycling-based endeavours so it sank without trace within five minutes or so.

We took the opportunity to order some food at this point – a magnificent cheese platter – as those miles in the saddle had made us a tad peckish, too.

McChouffe 8% 7cl bottles (x2)

Shamu re-joined the group at this point after an hour’s beauty sleep. And just in time to sample the mighty McChouffe from the Achouffe Brewery that also produces La Chouffe. Now I have already waxed lyrical about McChouffe in a previous blog but it would be remiss of me not to say a little more. Known as the Scotch of the Ardennes, this is a rich, dark, caramely and rather boozy sort of beer. As for the taste sensation that accompanies this beer, the best way I can describe it is as follows: have you ever seen a dog in your local park slip its lead, sell its owner an outrageous lollipop and then proceed to run around with gay abandon for the next twenty minutes or so? Well, that was me. We all so enjoyed this bottle we ordered another one straight away and another cheese platter, too, except this one came with salami as well. We do not know why, it just did.

I think that’s enough for now. Part 2 will follow very shortly, where we will sample more beers and finally locate the beer Guido. Goodbye.

Posted in: Beer, Belgium