The majority of the beers I drank on the trip were at places I had mapped out and hoped to visit. I did a bunch of research online, most of it on the BeerAdvocate.com forums and travel sections. The recommendations there were priceless, and almost unfailingly accurate.
This was not one of those places. 2be is a tiny bar overlooking one of the canals in Bruges, and we found it somewhat by accident. It’s at the end of a small alley, one side of which is lined with beer and beer paraphernalia. Across from that “Wall of Beer”, a couple of steps lead down to a curious, dark room, empty save for lighted beer displays along the walls. At the end of the alley is a small bar – big enough to hold maybe 20 people – with a handful of taps and an impressive bottle selection on the shelves.
To the right of the bar is a cool wraparound balcony overlooking the water, with plenty of seating space and a lovely view of the town. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hang out there, so we got drinks.
The bottles behind the bar were very tempting, but most of those beers are readily available in Texas. The others, sadly, were 750ml bottles, far too much for me to drink solo. I asked the bartender for a recommendation, and she suggested Anker-Bok on draft. It was OK, decent but unremarkable. The setting, though, more than made up for it, and we enjoyed the 30 minutes or so we spent there.
Our next stop was probably my favorite bar of the entire trip: Staminee de Garre. It’s a tiny place, with room for maybe 30 people split between the downstairs bar area and a room upstairs. It’s relatively hidden, down a really narrow alleyway just off a heavily trafficked pedestrian street near the main square. You simply wouldn’t find it if you weren’t looking for it. We were looking for it, and we had very detailed directions/descriptions thanks to the nerds at BA, but we still managed to walk past both the alley and the bar itself, before climbing the stone steps into the bar.
It oozes old-world charm, and when you walk in you just know people have been drinking great beer there since well before you were born. It’s quaint and dark, yet still somewhat lively. Simply put, it’s an awesome place to drink a beer.
Speaking of beer, they have about 6 taps and a bottle menu that I didn’t really examine. That was because the must-drink beer here is the house tripel, Tripel van der Garre, on draft. It’s not really called that, at least not in practice – you simply order the “house beer”. It lived up to the hype. It’s delicious, a complex yet refreshing tripel, dangerously drinkable given the 10.5% abv. You could say all of those same exact things about Duvel (8.5%), of course, and that’s some great company for this beer. It would make a really interesting side-by-side, but the Van Der Garre Tripel stands up very well on its own.
Mrs. Beernerds had her favorite beer of the trip here, Lindemans Pecheresse (their peach lambic) on draft. She dislikes most beer, but loves sweet lambics such as this one, and she said it tasted even better (sweeter and less “beery”) than it does back home. Unsurprisingly, she would drink more of it throughout the trip.