Among my many visits in Ghent these past two weeks was a small drinking session with my second host brother Thibaud. For our third drink we were joined by Thibaud’s friend Henri, who just so happens to be my first host brother!
One week ago was my first night in Ghent, and I was invited to dinner with the family of my former Youth Exchange Officer, Dominique Delbeke. They also surprised me by inviting along my old school friend Claire Flanagan, which was a lovely surprise.
The dinner consisted of a delicious cheese fondue, and a few drinks, but the most blog worthy takeaway from the evening was the carton of Fristi that somehow got thrust upon me in joking fashion as the evening wound down. I promised to review it, so here we are.
My next day in Brussels, Tuesday 3 October, I took advantage of our friends’ lovely backyard by installing myself with two grocery store bought beers. The cats then did their part by installing themselves on wall and lawn respectively.
For those of you who don’t know, I have received a two year visa for the UK, and I will soon be spending a lot of time exploring England, and perhaps eventually working in a pub. First though, I have returned to Belgium to visit some of my favourite people and cafés, not necessarily in that order. Going forward, you can expect my blog to become in part a travel blog, complemented by the usual drink reviews.
People often ask me, “what’s your favourite beer?” My response is usually along the lines of, “that’s hard to say, because it really depends on the situation, the time of year, the occasion etc. But I can tell you that the best beer I’ve ever had is the Westvleteren 12, a Belgian beer brewed by monks, but it’s so rare and complex that it’s not something I drink very often.”
About a month after I had put the airlock on my jug of rhubarb wine, what was once a furious bubble had become less than one bubble per 3 minutes. I took that as a sign that the bottling stage was not far away.
One week ago, the Belgian football club KAA Gent, or La Gantoise, became Belgian league champions for the first time in their history after 115 years of trying! Having lived in Gent for eleven months, I became a supporter of the team and have followed them ever since. I freely admit to experiencing one or two tears of joy as I watched the jubilant scenes unfold before me when I snuck away from work to stream the game online, and that night I persuaded (not that it was difficult) my parents to join me in some celebratory Belgian beers.