This morning we visited Poperinge’s Hop Museum. On the way into town we drove through the hop fields getting us really in the mood, then arrived to find the whole place smelling of those lovely hops. The museum is quite small but well worth a visit, there was a fascinating Trappist exhibition on and it was very interesting seeing which beers are made with Poperinge hops.
In the afternoon we went on to Sint Sixtus Abbey as I had an order of beer to collect.
Once more we had nice Trappist croque monsieurs and Josh had a huge ice cream. We tried Westvleteren 8 which was lovely, a bit brighter than 12, with more distinct flavours but less of a spectrum. I could drink lots. Once more we visited the gift shop, bought two more packs of Westvleren 12 (one each which is all you’re allowed), Trappist cheese, Westvleteren 8 pate, and truffles full of 12 made by a local Priory.
Then I left the others at the cafe and went on to pick up my reservation. I was very excited and kept thinking something would go wrong, I wouldn’t be on the list or my card wouldn’t work. In fact it was very straightforward though I did see some people trying to buy without a reservation and getting quite worked up that they weren’t allowed.
When I returned to collect the family Jess was drinking a 12 so she would try each of the three Westvleteren beers in one day. She had also bought me a T-shirt. Yay. At home we had an excruciating wait for two Blonds to cool in the fridge but finally the moment arrived when we could sample our booty. The Blond is 5.8%, hoppy, lightly malty, lightly yeasty, a tiny bit sour and very drinkable.
This evening we decided to go out to dinner, not least as many of the local places have great looking children’s playgrounds to entertain Josh with. Unfortunately everywhere seemed to be closed. We drove around the nearby villages for ages and eventually found somewhere in Oostvleteren. Called t’Molenhof- Oud Postje (The Windmill- Old Post Office) it was next to a beautiful old windmill, had an excellent playground and had a huge beer menu with loads of Struise which shouldn’t have been surprising as it was nearly opposite the brewery. We asked about some beers and were told that the Struise master brewer, Urbain, was a regular. I had a lovely, soft Witte as I didn’t want something too strong. Jess had a Welzmerz Oud Blond. She described it as a delightful sour blond that put her in mind of lemon sherbet in the best possible way. A perfectly balanced sour taste made it both delicious and refreshing and it was only 3%. We both had excellent steaks, Josh enjoyed a sausage and Jess also tried a Roste Jeanne, a sour red named after a famous local woman who was tried for witchcraft and burned at the stake. She found it fragrant, full of flavour but not overpowering, a bit like a less intense Pannepot but with extra sour notes. Nice. As we got up to leave the patroness introduced us to Urbain who had come in and sat at the next table. Amazing! We thanked him for making such good beer and he seemed pleased.