We spent day 2 of our journey through Belgium exploring the city of Antwerp with our friends from Troubadour. The biggest news of the day was Nate Hadley’s arrival. Our poor Naperville beer manager was bumped on his flight over due to the flight being overbooked. The flight he was hoping for standby on was also overbooked and then cancelled due to mechanical problems. He spent a night in Washington DC and finally got to us today. His luggage, however, did not. At least he’s here!
Troubadour beers are outstanding across the board. They have a Blond, Obscura (a light stout), Magma Triple IPA, Westkust (a black IPA), and an imperial stout. It’s great to see a Belgian brewery embracing US Craft brewery ideas and creating hop forward beers in a country typically completely devoid of them. If you haven’t had Magma, do yourself a favor and pick one up. There also may still be some of the limited edition Sorachi Ace Magma floating around at some of our stores.
We ate and drank well in Antwerp, and I discovered a pub game that I am going to try to recreate at home. It’s a coin toss game, played with heavy brass coins that are tossed onto a board with holes with different scoring values. It’s kind of like darts where you can start at 300 points and as you make certain values it is subtracted until the winner gets to zero first. This game was a lot of fun, or maybe it was the Troubadour.
Day three we spent at the Bavik brewery and its nearby town of Kortrijk, a small town on the French border. Bavik is a very large brewery, the 5th largest in Belgium, and churns out 180,000 hectoliters of beer annually. Bavik also produces the Petrus line, one of our favorites. Petrus is known in the US for their sour beers, which are all aged in large oak foudres. These foudres are massive. The original 9 are 200 hectoliters and had originally held Alsatian wines and then Calvados. 12 new foudres have been installed over the past several years that have 220 hL capacity. One of the highlights of the trip so far was tasting Petrus Aged Pale right out of the foudre.
More to come tomorrow, and hopefully Nate’s luggage!