Here are some pics from our trip to Antwerp last weekend. Took forever to get there because of construction on E313 (going on thru Oct; don’t drive that way). We stayed at the Residentie ‘t Elzenveld which was a stones throw from Kulminator and the Nationale Bank parking garage (6€ for 24 hrs!). There was a wedding and reception that day—imagine it’d be pretty quiet otherwise. Good free breakfast.
Last time we were in Antwerp it was in March, the night before Zythos, so we didn’t see much. Nice to come back; difficult to believe Antwerp is as far away as Brussels, which we’ve been to a gazillion times, yet this was our first real trip there.
Here’s an interesting bit from Wikipedia. The statue they’re talking about can be seen in the 5th pic below.
According to folklore, and as celebrated by the statue in front of the town hall, the city got its name from a legend involving a mythical giant called Antigoon who lived near the river Scheldt. He exacted a toll from those crossing the river, and for those who refused, he severed one of their hands and threw it into the river Scheldt. Eventually, the giant was slain by a young hero named Brabo, who cut off the giant’s own hand and flung it into the river. Hence the name Antwerpen, from Dutch hand werpen—akin to Old English hand and wearpan (= to throw), that has changed to today’s warp.
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From Antwerp 2. Shot May 21-22. Antwerp, Belgium
So here it is, the “best beer bar in the world.” Really? Maybe. I haven’t been to every bar (yet), but Kulminator definitely didn’t disappoint. We were there on a Saturday night, immediately found a table outside and settled in for a few. It was surprisingly un-busy for a Saturday. In retrospect I’m glad we didn’t go the night before Zythos—it would have been way crowded, not at all laid back like it was.
Drinking at the Kulminator is like drinking from someone’s personal cellar, where most of the beers are in the style they like. At Kulminator, that seems to be a lot of Trappists, quads and dubbels. Not a lot of aged lambics. Some things you have to get in a vertical or they won’t sell to you unless you have a certain number of people in your party, which I think is stupid. Note to self: Take more people next time. I wonder if kids count…
I had a Leifmans Goudenband from 1998 (last one they had), a La Trappe quad from 1995 (check out the mold on the bottle), a Westmalle dubbel from 1993, shared a Struiselensis with Matt (because they brought us two glasses, heh heh). He had 2005 De Dolle Stille Nacht Special Reserva, Mikkeller Monk’s Elixir, an infected Alvinne Night Owl and something else that was on tap. I thought the Trappists were way past their prime; next time I’ll try an old Westy to see how that holds up.
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From Kulmintor. Shot May 21, 2011. Antwerp, Belgium
Okay, so this is kinda cool. At the Nationale Bank parking garage in Antwerp, when they were digging the parking garage, they uncovered a wall that was part of a defensive bastion from the 16th century. According to the parking garages’ web site, it’s one of the last reminders of the Spanish occupation. It can be seen on -2 and -3 levels behind a glass wall.
Here’s another cool thing, parking in this garage is only 6€ for 24 hours and the Vinci chain gives you free parking on your birthday at select garages across Belgium. Good deal if you’re going to the beach at Oostende where parking is pricey (and you were born in the summer).
We stayed in Antwerp during Zythos Beer Festival (only a short train ride to Sint Niklaas). Didn’t do much sightseeing—we walked around the city after checking into our hotel Friday night. Ate at Mc Donald’s in the Grote Markt, where Jacob & Nicholas got R2-D2 Happy Meal toys (or “are doo deet choo” as Nicholas calls him). Looked for the Kulminator, ratebeer’s best bar in the world. We walked in almost a complete circle around it, but never found it. If one needs a reason to go back, there it is. (Perhaps it’s warmer and doesn’t get dark until 10 p.m. And w/o the kids.)
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From Antwerp March 2011. Shot March 4, 2011. Antwerp, Belgium