Saturday, March 12, 2011

Belgium, trip 22: a day in the Payottenland

(Photos, above: Cafe 't Dravershof in Pepingen.The
Cafe is an Orval Ambassador, and opens at 9.30 am on
Saturdays and 8.30 am on Sundays.)

Here's a brief look at some of the highlights of day 1 on
my 22nd trip to Belgium.

I landed in Brussels airport at 8.00 on Sunday, 27 February, and
was having a 2005 Oude Geuze Boon Mariage Parfait at 't Dravershof
(an Orval Ambassor cafe) in Pepingen by 9.00. Perhaps record timing?
This was thanks to Belgian beer lover/brewer Gunther Bensch of
Brouwerij Montaigu, who drove me around the Payottenland all day.

(Photos, above: Volkscafe De Cam in Gooik. A sampler of Lambic,
Kriekenlambic and Geuze.)

(Photo, above: entrance to Geuzestekerij de Cam.)

(Photos, above: De Groene Port (The Green Door) in
Gooik. A fine meal of Flemish beer stew with
croquettes and Girardin Oude Lambik from bag-in-box.

(Photos, above: Den Haas, a country cafe 4 km outside of Gooik.)

(Photos, above: Cafe Meyts-Polle in Elingen.)

(Photos, above: you can still get roadside service
at Cafe Meyts-Polle in Elingen. You just have to
have to be driving a horse-drawn conveyance of some
sort. Being a local probably helps too.)

(Photos, above: Brouwerij den Herberg in Buizingen.
They brew less than 200 hectoliters of beer per year.)

Gunther and I also visited Cafe Sportwerld in Itterbeek,
where they have several Girardin beers by the bottle.

I stayed the night at a brand-new B&B on the grounds of the
old St. Pieters brewery in Neerijse, 11 km south of Leuven.
Not Payottenland, but still in Vlaams Brabant.

(Photos, above: the main brewery building.)

(Photo, above: the 1816 Brouwershuis, or home
of the brewer.)

Well, new to it's life as a B&B, but formerly a brewery dating
to 1816. The brewery, also known as Staff's brewery, is still
owned by the Bruffaerts family.

A couple, Liliane and Piet, from Leuven (11 km to the north)
bought two of buildings in the brewery complex a couple
of years ago, and renovated them. Their daughter is an art
student, and has an art gallery in the main house.

Liliane and Piet have two B&B rooms in their main house,
and a newly opened guesthouse behind the main house
that used the be the brewery's garage. There is a courtyard
for warm-weather enjoyment between the two.

Liliane and Piet are beer lovers and welcome beer drinkers
into their B&B.

(Photo, above: a garage door inside one of the
bedrooms. It still functions.)

I was the first guest to stay the night in the guesthouse, which
has two large bedrooms and a large living room. The bedrooms
have private ensuite bath and toilet.

The bathroom facilities are completely new and modern.

The couple are very eco-friendly and vegetarians. I enjoyed a
fine breakfast with hard-boiled eggs, breads, Chimay cheese, and

Price was 50 euros, plus 7.50 for breakfast.

See: Biesbemd