De Garre – This small bar hidden in an alleyway is our traditional first stop in Bruges. The house tripel is amazing and only available here. Our whole group started there and then veered off into Christmas beers and some rare finds that Mike wanted to try. Total beers tasted – 7 (DeGarre house tripel, Bush de Noel, Judas, La Guillotine, Vicaris, Floreffe and St. Feuillien Noel)
a great way to start any trip to Belgium
Cambrinus – A lively restaurant with tasty food and an overwhelming bottle list. Eric and I took it easy after DeGarre, so I ordered the Oerbier and Eric got the St. Bernardus tripel. My steak tartare was delicious and Eric’s rabbit stew was the perfect thing to soak up our first night of Belgian beers!
Thet Hof Van Rembrandt – We headed out a little before dinner to see some of the sights at sunset and stopped for a quick beer outside. The disco lights at a nearby club added an interesting ambiance but I liked the selection of several draft beers. Beers tried – 2 (Straffe Hendrik quad and Bourgogne de Flanders).
‘t Poatersgat – This bar, translated to the “Monk’s Hole,” is literally underneath an old church. Between our last visit to Belgium and now, a smoking ban went into effect which made this a lot more bearable on busy nights. The smell of cigarette smoke still lingers a bit; I think it’s permanently in the wood! Beers tried: 7 over two visits (Ichtegen’s Grand Cru, Duchesse de Bourgogne, Oud Beirrsel Kriek, McChouffe, Cantillion Gueze, Oud Beirrsel Gueze and Fonteine Oude Gueze)
a oude gueze (sour beer) tasting
de Kelk – Our first time visiting this little place, they had the Duchesse on draft, so you know that’s what I started with! Eric started out strong with the Straffe Hendrik Quadruple, one of his favorite local beers. After the boys visited the De Struise brewery shop, they were eager to taste test some of their purchases, and luckily, deKelk had quite a few to pick from.
port, bourbon barrel aged and black damnation, a Russian Imperial Stout – 13%!
Besides Cambrinus (above) we also tried:
De Koetse – Based on a recommendation from our hotel front desk and a promise of a “giant portion of mussels” we sat down to a satisfactory meal. As promised, the mussels were plentiful (so much so that I couldn’t finish my dinner) but Eric’s steak was overcooked. The meal started out with an amuse bouche of prawns we had to peel… I got better at it with practice. The one stand out was the chopped salad that Mike and Tiffany had as an appetizer, very tasty.
Bistro Christophe – Another recommendation from our hotel and this one was a huge hit with all of us. My filet mignon was enormous, perfectly cooked to medium-rare and my choice of mushroom gravy was simply amazing. Eric (along with Tiffany and Megan) had the best beef stew of the trip. The house rosé was very drinkable and overall the meal was tasty and a good value for dinner in Bruges. Highly recommended.
Bistro Christophe in the rain