After a great day in Antwerp we headed out towards Mons, with a few stops planned enroute.
From the detailed information on our magnificent beer map we had selected Brasserie de Blaugies for lunch. Unfortunately the Brasserie was closed, although the brewery next door was open, sort of.
A harassed-looking woman answered the door and told us that although they weren’t really set up for tours, she could take us around the brewery. In the next room came a loud crash and some curses.
“We’re having bottling line problems,” she noted simply and continued showing us their beers, one of which they flavoured it with ‘speculoos’.
Yes, the cookie. It’s a very popular cookie in Belgium, like a ginger snap with a mild ginger flavour. I am trying to imagine a cookie-flavoured beer. Perhaps only in Belgium.
She explained that there are almost more local breweries in Belgium than there are Belgians, so in order to survive everything they produce is for export. Their main market was Russia, and just recently they had also acquired China, so now they had two very big markets. Another thing they did to survive was to create custom beers for fêtes, which was what they were doing right now.
This particular custom brew was going into taller bottles than usual, resulting in the bottles sometimes being only partially filled, and at other times would piling up on each other in the line, and CRASH! That was the sound of a dozen bottles hitting each other and the floor.
The woman threw up her arms and gave up. “Carry on, look around,” she called out as she abandoned us for the bottling line!
By now we were quite hungry so we headed to nearby Soignes for lunch, dropping into the lively pub there. But the bartender pointed at the clock and announced, “No food after two o’clock.”
Even though it was just barely after two, it appeared that all the restaurants in the town were closed, and the bakery, and any other potential food sources.
Rummaging in the car trunk we found the dubious remains of a former picnic from a week or so earlier. I ate the apple, Al the cheese and Mikey the stale pastry. Then we headed back to the pub. At least it was open and we could have a beer lunch.
We had their special, a La Trappe Isid’or in its own special glass. This got a rave review from all of us: lovely, lots of flavour, sweet edge (perfect balance between sweet and bitter), everyone said, “mmmm”. Probably high alcohol.
There were two women in the pub drinking coffee along with crepes de sucre. It was only later I realized that the pub did have food, it had sugar crepes. Sugar crepes count as food. They don’t go that well with beer but they’re better than starving to death…
Now we were off to Mons, a bigger city and surely they must have someplace open that served food?
This is part of our three-week trip more or less along the Belgian Beer Route.