Beer and Belgium are pretty much synonymous. The best beers in the world are made here. I have tended to be more of a wine gal, after all I am a mom of twins, but beer is slowly winning me over. The depth of flavor, the lack of stained teeth, lack of creating kidney stones, and crispness are all winning attributes. A few months ago, you could not have convinced me beer was superior. The beer I preferred was typically on the darker side (Shiner etc.) but American beer is mainly dull, so therefore, not my favorite. But, the beer produced here makes Miller and Bud taste like soured champagne. If you are not a beer fan, I strongly suggest giving the deeper richer Belgian beers a try, you might be surprised.
In college, I consumed a fair amount of Maredsous 8 at The Fox and Hound in College Station. Being young and collegy, I had no idea where it was from, nor did I care. All I knew was that I liked it and two was my absolute limit for the night.
Maredsous is an Abbey beer. Abbey beers are beers that are brewed as a monastic or monastic-style beer. There are tight regulations as to what designates an abbey beer because it doesn’t necessarily have to come from a monastery but can be like a monastery beer. Therefore a certification process is necessary. As of now, there are 18 Abbey beers.
Abbaye de Saint-Martin
Brasserie de l’Abbaye du Val-Dieu
These beers should not be confused with Trappist beers. Trappist beers are made within the walls of a monastery. There are 7 Trappist beers, 6 are produced in Belgium. They are:
This weekend we went and visited the Abbeye de Maredsous in Denée, Belgium. (Shout-out to NéeNée!)
The town of Denée is beautiful and the stone work on the houses and buildings puts everything I’ve seen in Texas to shame.
The beer is served in handmade ceramic mugs crafted there at the abbey. It keeps the beer chilled and is probably a lot cheaper than glass. Since all the dining is outside, I’m sure this method saves on accidents and clean up.
On Wednesday of this past week, Zane, Lily and I travelled to Mechelen to the zoo.
I have been told over and over that there are two zoos near me, one is “meh”, and the other fantastic. The “meh” one is just north of Brussels in Mechelen and the fantastic one is in Antwerp. Antwerp is a good 45 minutes away so I thought I’d give Mechelen a try.
Well, I’m here to say, if the one in Mechelen is just “meh”, I can not wait to see the one in Antwerp. The Mechelen zoo was amazing and I have to say, better than any zoo I have been to (and I have even been to the Miami Zoo, one of the top 10 in the world). We had a great time but probably need to buy a membership. For just the three of us it was €60 for admission. eek.
Mama Elephant Slide, you get to the top and slide down this super fast slide by either climbing a rope or a giant wooden ladder. Zane must have done this 40 times. Lily went once and said, “I’m good.”
A petting zoo with NO wash station or people running around with hand sanitizer! I had to search out a bathroom afterwards to scrub up their hands after they fed the animals.
Zane loved these goats. I mean, LOVED. He hugged each one and talked baby talk to them. I am glad to see my love of the animal kingdom has transferred to at least one of my children.
We spent all day at the zoo and I can’t wait to visit the Antwerp zoo, especially if this is its baby brother.