Beer in Belgium
Belgium has three official languages. Dutch, French and German. Yet ironically, many businesses have names and signs in English. Inevitably, this leads to some lost in translation moments.
My favorite, “Cock’s Fresh.”
I’m well aware this means, my sense of humor is that of a teenager and rather foolish. At least that means I fit right in, in Bruges!
Legend Of The Brugse Zot
After Mary of Burgundy, Maximilian of Austria’s wife died in 1482, Maximilian inherited reign over medieval Netherlands. Some of the Netherlander provinces were hostile to Maximilian including Bruges.
When Maximilian visited Bruges in 1488, the people revolted against his harsh reign and high taxes, imprisoning him for over four months. Oops!
Out of vengeance, Maximilian prohibited organize festivities and fairs. How do you calm a monarch down? Organize a celebration to honor him apparently. Honestly, I would have thought, it would have taken a lot more than that! But since Bruges is still on the map, it must have worked.
Legend goes, afterwards the storms of hostility passed, the people of Belgium asked Maximilian for permission to build a new mental hospital. Seems crazy right? His response, “close the gates of Bruges, the town was already filled with fools.”
Thus the nickname ‘the fools of Bruges’ for the townspeople and the name of Brewery De Halve Maan town beer ‘Brugse Zot.’
Best Brewery to Visit in Bruges Belgium
All jokes aside, Zot Beers at De Halve Maan in Bruges, Belgium is a treat to visit. While it’s easy to miss down an alleyway, once inside, a large open courtyard acts as a beerhall. A lavish wooded interior tap room serves up pints on draft at a reasonable price 4.5€. A few euro more, 8.50€ buys a 45 minute tour and a taste of their the infamous Brugse Zot Blond.
For tasting notes, I’ll leave it to the professionals.
Also on tap Straffe Hendrik, again tasting notes with the pros!
The final option on tap at the brewery is Tall Hendrik, Bello’s favorite. A much stronger, darker, richer beer with a bold malt hop. It also just so happens to be the last “authentic” triple beer, brewed in the last active brewery in Bruges city center.
Tours start every hour on the hour and can be booked ahead online.
Moral of the story, when In Bruges, don’t be foolish and miss out on the best brewery. It’s a great rest from the cobblestone streets packed with tourists in the city center. There is plenty of room to sit down, relax and breath in the fresh hops.