Friday, August 17, 2012

Dan at the Cantillon Brewery


Wow, I have done poor job blogging lately, although I really hadn’t been anywhere in a long time. I did take a trip to Belgium, the Netherlands, and India recently, so maybe I should blog about the places I went when I was there.

So for work I had to go to India, but when I planned it out, I was able to get a two-day layover in Brussels. Luckily for me, my friend Mike and his wife Willemijn live two hours from Brussels in the Netherlands, so they offered me a place to stay and rides for a couple of day, which was great. I hadn’t seen them in several years, but I consider Mike one of my better friends, so we pretty much picked up like we saw each other the week before. Anyway, I had left the day before, but I arrived in Brussels around 8 AM, which would be 1 AM Central Daylight Time. I sat on the plane next to a nine-month old, so I didn’t sleep much. Having two kids myself, it didn’t make me angry. It also didn’t make me rested when Mike met me at the airport. The plan was to leave the airport, head to Cantillon Brewery, which opened at 9 AM, and then see how we felt before deciding what to do next.

Cantillon was interesting. Mike had programmed the address in his TomTom, and because of all the construction in Brussels (they’re just like us!!!), we arrived there around 9:15 or so. From the outside, you’d never know that there was a world famous brewery inside of it. It took us a couple of minutes to find the door to enter, but eventually we did. We walked in, were immediately greeted by a lady who asked us if we wanted a tour. Of course we did, so I wanted to pay for the tours for both of us with my credit card. Well, apparently in parts of Europe, your credit card has a chip on it besides the strip on the back, and my American credit and debit cards did not. So none of my cards would work, so Mike had to pay. I felt like a dick, but Mike was fine with paying.

As for the tour, the lady spoke about how her family founded the brewery in 1900 and everything is basically the same since. She was really cool and proud of the place (as she should be), spoke for a few minutes, and told us to go ahead and tour the brewery. The tour was a self-guided tour with a pamphlet, but it was still pretty cool. They weren’t brewing that day, and we were basically the only ones there, which you’d expect on a Thursday morning, so we had our run of the place. The building was pretty old, and I don’t think it has been renovated in a long time. It was almost charming, in a way. Their barrel room was impressive for a brewery of its size, and the whole place was great.

At the end of the tour, we got to try their Gueuze first. Obviously it was really good. Afterwards, we got to pick one of their other beers, and I chose the Kriek which I loved. I really, really loved that beer. Mike got the Framboise which he really liked too. We hung out in their little tasting area and just shot the shit for a few minutes. It was a pretty nice to just do that for a bit. After that, I wanted to buy some beers. In retrospect, I wish I would have bought a shirt too. Oh well. So when I went back to the counter, they said that the problem before in purchasing the tour wasn’t my cards but that their phone line was out. So I bought a three-bottle gift set for Mike and for me, and we went on our way.

Unfortunately, Cantillon was my only Brussels experience. When we got back to the car, I was exhausted. From travel, from the time of day, from just being a pile of crap, whatever. I needed to sleep. So we left, Mike drove back to his home while I slept the whole way. Luckily, after that I recovered, and later that night was able to hit another brewery, although an unexpected one. 

Dan

P.S. Sorry, I am not good at taking pictures, so you get the one of me in the barrel room.

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