Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 1, part 2

Day one is the toughest, with the overnight flight and the lack of sleep.
After our wake up stop at du Bocq, we continued over hill & dale to Abbaye Notre Dame St. Remy at Rochefort.

 A fire had destroyed part of the buildings, much construction was on going. The Abbaye has been largely closed, so we were privileged to be one of the first groups to visit. The gleaming copper with the scents of the malt cooking always seems to sing to the group of beer pilgrims.
After our tour of the brewing facilities, we attended a lovely daily service with the monks chanting and  singing psalms 125, 126, and 127. There are less than 20 monks left at the Abbaye. The names of 6, 8 and 10 of Rochefort derive from the orginal gravity in Beligian scale which is not commonly used any more. The 6 is brewed the in the smallest quantities. and is not generally found here in the USA.
In case you don't know, you'll find the bottle conditioned beer different than a draft. Many Belgian breweries have bottle conditioning which adds a small amount of yeast and sugar into the bottles to continue fermentation.

After quenching our thirst, both spiritual and physical, we boarded the bus to continue to Fantome, one of the many tiny specialty breweries you can find scattered through the Belgian countryside.  Like many of their fellow brewers, Fantome takes pride in their unique recipes and pure water source which make their brews stand out from the crowd.  One of our gang ventured into the hamlet to bring back these lovely gingerbread cookies to accent the delicious beers.

I'll admit to being  too tired to enjoy our visit in the scenic city of Liege that night. A good night's sleep to all, getting ready for more beer adventures the next day!

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