A small blonde Belgian child gave us the stink eye from her stroller as we sat down to enjoy a ridiculous and wonderful Kwak beer.
I’m only somewhat embarrassed to say that the bougie college town where we went to school has a dedicated Belgian beer establishment, so Kwak was a college throwback.
But, since we were drinking this mad scientist-looking beer in Bruges instead of Claremont, the Belgian guy next door kindly informed us that we’d been drinking it wrong this entire time. Apparently you’re supposed to leave the test tube glass in its wooden holder contraption, not carefully remove it and almost break it over and over as your make your way through the beer.
Needless to say, it was a groundbreaking revelation. Said Belgian guy also told us that this is where the name Kwak comes from — it’s the sound the test tube glass makes when it hits the wooden contraption and splashes in your face with mostly room temperature beer. I obviously didn’t Google any of this, scared to mess up what felt like, if not the actual truth, at least a very solid story.
This large county, err, very small country takes beer more seriously than most people take death and taxes.
We received a very heartfelt apology once when a cafe didn’t have the appropriate glass for the beer we ordered.
An extremely rude French bro (not a stereotype, because he was rude in English) trapped us in an awful conversation and we couldn’t duck out because we’d just ordered an interesting beer from our eccentric hotelier/menagerie manager.*
We discovered an entire collection of Kate’s dream establishments: bookstores with equally good taste in mystery novels and beers.
Semi-exhausted, we spent an afternoon reading in the castle-like lounge of a hostel, sipping slowly on something brewed by a monk and glancing around at the castle-y everything. At one point the hostel girl came over and said, “Wow, I’ve never seen anyone so relaxed here before.” We smiled and laughed as we thought back to our early-in-the-trip energy levels.
adorable but inaccurate medieval recreations abound
*More on the menagerie hotel later.