We were looking for pink elephants. That was the sole goal of today: to find the pink elephants. It was an all-day, dual-nation, multi-modes-of-transportation affair. And it was fun.
Melle is a small Belgian town with a brewery that brews the Best Beer in the World. Really, it is. It is a fact. In 1998 Delirium Tremens won a gold medal during the "World Beer Championships". It is that good. Put a pink elephant on the label and I am sold. Jose, our guide, told us when people drank it they became delirious and saw pink elephants. Hence the name and the logo. It has 8.5% alcohol.
With only 4 of us on the tour, we were able to go places no bigger tour groups get to go. And we could sample as much as we'd like. So we sampled to our hearts content:
Delirium brand: Tremens, Floris Kriek (cherry), Noël, and Argentum (the Head Brewer Himself poured Julie this 25th anniversary batch!),
Artevelde Grand Cru (really liked it but the US *shocker* has funky import laws)
Mongozo's fruity beers (coconut) and
Averbode. This is a recipe made by monks from an abbey in northern Belgium, but is brewed here.
The monks chose the Huyghe Brewery because it:
1. is a family brewery
2. is well established, brewing since 1654
3. has it's own well water
4. is ecologically responsible with solar panels and recycling, etc. and
5. is socially responsible employing handicapped workers to help fold boxes, etc.
We bought tulip glasses with pink elephants for souvenirs. Before we went we lunched in Ghent. (shout out to Aunt Gina in Ghent, NY!)
After hemming and hawing trying to translate the menu, our waitor summed it up: "lunch 2-times". We got two "Lunch Special of the Day". After the brew tour, with a 20 minute stopover in Antwerp, we ate a waffle. We spent lots of time in train stations today. As far as stations go, Antwerp's is tops:
So, just in our few hours in Belgium, we checked off the Belgian Musts:
The search for pink elephants took 8 trains and 4 trams, 12,200 Julie Steps, almost 17 hours, across 2 countries. Thanks Julie for masterminding it!