All tagged europebeertour
As perfect as a day can be was underway. In periphery, I could see countryside blur: lime-green grass and spring vegetables cracking dirt mounds; shadowy hardwoods budding and tall conifers starting to yellow with pollen; clouds lightly wisping otherwise vacant sky. The Kloster Michelsberg first signaled our approach towards Bamberg.
The steep valley walls approached the beetling of a gorge at times and trapped the sun’s heat creating a unique microclimate ideal for viticulture. The Ardennes and Hohes Venn to the west shielded the valley from rain providing the southern facing slopes with over 1300 hours of sunshine a year. Slate rock lined the ground at the base of the vines, retaining the sun’s heat and insulating the grapes’ root structure.
Just inside the door, Köbes, Kölsch bartenders in Köln, accumulated in the stone lined sallyport leading to the beer garden. They turned in unison beginning an exaggerated process of grouchy inspection, head-to-toe. Suffering mild humiliation in a similar Kölsch beer hall (Malzmühle) a few hours before, we walked confidently past the aproned guardians of Päffgen towards the beer garden, masking our anxiety with scowls and grunts of salutation.
Our second stop, Brasserie C, brought us south for the day in the first place. At the base of the Montagne de Bueren, next to the stairs running up towards the old citadel, we saw a sign to the left and up a narrow alley for the brewpub. All the buildings looked and felt very old in this section of town, aptly referred to as Old Town. We eventually found the entrance after circumnavigating the building and breached a doorway requiring a slight duck to avoid a bruise and headache. We walked indoors to a dark, empty bar and met with Kerian, their Public Relations & Beer Tour representative. The building, a nunnery in 1611 and an architectural museum in the 1960’s, began with solid ecclesiastical bones and consolidated much of Liege’s iconic furniture, paneling, doors, and fireplaces under one roof.
Only 45 minutes from from the youngest Trappist brewery in Belgium - and with the cleaning lady entertaining the dog as she chased around the house with vacuums and feathered dusters - we packed the car, opened the gate, and drove east towards the Dutch border. Achelse Kluis straddled Holland and Belgium: a place built long before present borders existed (if you want to call the line on the ground between Belgium and Holland a border). Wispy and remaining stubbornly sunny, the weather held out, but along with the rush of passing tractor-trailers, the gusts blew our tiny Opel hatchback. The open, Low Country fields laid no barrier for the wind, evidenced by the countless windmills dotting the landscape. We frequently crossed veins of canals redirecting water to the ocean, making the champaign habitable and above seasonal floods. Between corrugated brown fields the road ran east: the bricked Abbey of Achelse Kluis rising before the fields of Holland picketed with barren trees.