Breweries "Visited"

Friday, September 6, 2013


Day #636 Ypres / De Struise Brouwers, Oostvleteren, Belgium
Previously from this brewery: Elliot Brew

Day before the PSU home opener.  Not sure if it's the fact that the season is already underway or what, but just not yet in the groove for a home opener.  Hope that changes a little between now and noon tomorrow.

Back to the recaps.  One of the best meals of Belgium came from 't Hommelhof in the town of Watou.  The group was treated to a special dinner, where the chef paired unique beers with each course.  One of the beers was a bottle of Ypres, from De Struise Brouwers.  This oud bruin was paired with a gazpacho served with a piece of fried mullet.  The gazpacho was simple yet delicious, which is probably how I could describe the entire meal.  I will say that with a few tiny exceptions the food on the trip was outstanding. However, almost every menu I saw had the same items on; croque sandwiches, lasagna, goat cheese & bacon salads, frites, etc.  Nothing wrong with that, but 't Hommelhof was the first inventive and unique - and therefore most memorable - restaurant of the trip.

And the beer?  It poured a dark brown hue, and gave off aromas of tart fruit with earthy notes.  The taste is a heavenly mix of tart cherries, sour apple, and an earthy, oaky taste that grounds some of the tart and sour flavors.  This beer was aged in two different barrels - Bourgogne wine and Wild Turkey whiskey.  This was a bottle from 2009, and the internet seems to suggest it was only brewed once.  Shame, as it was magnificent.  Speaking of the bottle, the artwork was very cool - it depicted a scene from World War I. Another beer from De Struise that people tried was Black Albert, which was widely regarded as one of the best beers of the trip.  I only had a sip, but I would agree.  We technically "visited" this brewery, which means we drove our bikes by and looked in the windows.  They were closed... perhaps it was a Sunday? De Struise wasn't on my radar before this trip, but after having this beer and trying the Black Albert, I'm a committed fan.
Ypres, Ieper, Wipers.  Just call this beer 'delicious'
Two items you may find interesting.  As with most everywhere in Belgium, there is the Flanders spelling/pronunciation and the French spelling/pronunciation.  In French, the town is known as Ypres, and in Flemish, Ieper.  British forces stationed there during World War I apparently couldn't pronounce either, and instead referred to the town as "Wipers."  The second odd fact for you is that this brewery was started by owners of an ostrich farm.  I kid you not - an ostrich is still featured on their logo.

Thing to Think About Today:
A beer brewed to honor those who fought and died in the First World War means we close things out with Edwin Starr and his protest song, War.

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