Belgian Grandmothers pray for Patrick Swayze

When Belgian television isn’t occupied with amazingly good soaps, these two ladies read us the best of the daily gossip mags. This clip was taken from één’s ‘Man Bijt Hond’ (Man bites dog) nightly program of Flemish folk doing what Flemish folk do.

This evening an elderly couple are sitting in their lounge room discussing their collection of erotic pottery and breast-shaped tea cups.

Oh Belgium.

Beer Review: West Vleteren

The most beautiful empty crate I have ever emptied

For my birthday last year, Annelies suprised me with not just one sucker punch, but twenty-four, each bottled in a glass bottle marked ‘West Vleteren’.

West Vleteren beer is regarded by many Beer snobs as the beer to beat, consistently rated the best beer in the world (BeerAdvocate.com #1, RateBeer.com #1).

The 10.5% brew was an absolute joy to drink, tasting like a Rochefort with a caramal aftertaste.  The taste of alcohol is not at all overpowering, however this is no simple lager – the many complex flavours and thick malt make it a difficult to drink more than one bottle in a sitting.  I worked my way through half a carton in less than a month, however the last twelve lasted a good deal longer – the scarcity of the brew started to dawn on me.

One of the key ingredients that makes the beer all the more appealing is the difficult path one must take to actually aquire a bottle. For starters, the only place in the world to buy the brew is from the manufacturer themselves, a small monastory in West Flanders. Secondly, a maximum of two crates can be bought by any one car (not person) at a time. And after all that, West Vleteren is only available if you have made a pre-arranged appointment with the monastory, often several weeks in advance.

According to their website, there is no available beer between now and March, and quite possibly longer. It looks as though I’ll be waiting quite some time for my next West Vleteren fix!