01 February, 2009

A Saturday Afternoon Visit to Lambic Country

Since it turned out to be a nice Saturday, we took a little drive Northwest to just outside of Brussels to the heart of lambic country known as Payottenland. Our specific destination was to the Girardin lambic brewer and gueuze blender. Girardin is a family run operation on a farm that is really in the countryside down a bunch of roads that are two way roads but can barely take one car at a time!

Although we were not able to take a tour of the brewery as they are usually closed to the public unless you have a prior arrangement or a large group, we were able to visit their brewery store where they sell all their beers in bottles and they also sell 10 litre jugs of several different beers including jonge (young) lambic, oud (old lambic, kriek ( lambic with cherries) and faro (lambic with sugar). We were in line behind a couple who were purchasing about 3 cases worth of various Girardin beers.

I was on a mission to get a 10 litre jug of lambic and then a few bottles of beer as well. We were going over to a friends house that evening for dinner so a large jug of freshly made beer would be just perfect! Plus I can't drink such a large jug all myself.....

We were helped by a very nice older man who filled a jug up for us with jonge lambic straight from the barrel! We also bought 12 bottles in total of 4 different beers including faro, 2 different kinds of gueuze and some framboise (lambic with raspberries). Each bottle was about €1.50 ( a real steal of a price!) and the jug was €16 for 10 litres which works out to €1.60 a litre which is larger than an average wine bottle. The price was a fantastic deal but besides the price, getting a fantastic lambic beer right at the brewery and straight from the barrel can't be beat!

After our lambic haul, we took about a 20 minute drive to Liederkercke, Belgium to have lunch at De Heeren Van Liederkercke. Paula and I were here once together with my brother and Kelli came to visit and I also went once myself a few months back to lunch. They have wonderful Flemish food and a fantastic selection of Belgium beers, heavy on lambics and gueuze and vintage beers as well. The restaurant was empty when we got there but quickly filled up with locals that all seemed to know the owners. For lunch Paula had coq au beer (instead of coq au vin as this was a beer restaurant) and I had stoofvlees which is a nice beer stew type dish with frites! The highlight of the lunch for me was a 1992 bottle of Alexander Rodenbach which tasted fresh despite its age in the bottle.

Overall is was a nice afternoon in Belgium and we were back in Luxembourg before 5pm.