Tag Archives: beer

Riding the velodrome in Gent

In the cold and wet months during winter, it is really unpleasant to ride the road bike outside, so you are left with three choices: 1) stop training (but come on, for three months? no…), 2) ride the indoor trainer (I will cover this in the next post), or 3) switch to track cycling indoors. I have never ridden on a proper indoor track before, though I rode one of the oldest (but outdoor) velodromes of Europe in 2009, just before I left to Belgium. But riding indoors, on a shorter, steeper track with wooden surface is really different. That’s why we (myself, plus Tijl and Kristof – the same colleagues who joined me when I rode to catch the Tour de France last summer) decided to go for a ride in the Vlaams Wielercentrum Eddy Merckx in Gent. They have specific hours, when “recreational” cyclists can just go there, rent track bikes (fixed gear bicycles, with only one gear ratio and no brakes), and ride for two hours (15 €, everything included). We had fixed this Monday evening (8-10 PM) in our calendars already a month ago, so we were quite excited about the ride.

In one word, it was awesome. We got a 5 minute introduction about the rules of the track (Tijl translated for me), and then we were free to ride. Usually we just joined a group whose speed was comfortable for us, and rode with them for some time (as it is much faster and less tiring than riding alone, and it gives you the real feeling of the track). Of course we did some individual sprints too :) Unluckily, at the beginning, I had some problems with hydration levels and the amount – or lack – of food in my stomach, but I managed to overcome these for the second part of the ride. The best part – for me – was my last 35 minutes (you can see the beginning of it on the last scene of the video below), when I rode with a group which maintained a pace of 21-23 seconds / lap on the blue line (the length is 250 meters on the white line, so on the blue it is a bit longer). This gives an average speed of at least 42 km/h! During this time, I was in front twice (as the riders rotate, because the first one in the line always has to work much more, as he/she has to ride against the “wind”, while the rest is pedaling in the slipstream), and by the time it was my third turn, everyone else was dropped :) I also had my DSLR with me, so we shot some Full HD footage of the action too (all the three of us is visible, but you can easily spot me, just search for the same guy who is on the picture above):

After the ride, we had a beer (Keizer Karel Blond) – which is really typical for Belgians… You really can’t find a sports hall without a bar :D

Nothing special is happening…

The number (density) of posts here has recently fallen to previously unseen depths, but there is really nothing special happening these days. And it is a bit boring to write about the normal days. From 2011, I will publish only when there is something truly interesting (or if I have too much free time, but that is very unlikely to happen). Sorry. Or if you really can not live without my (sometimes useless) thoughts, then follow me on Twitter (and it’s usually the same stuff on Facebook too)… In the last weeks, I saw the partial solar eclipse on the morning of the 4th (for like 10 seconds from the ring while I was riding to work), we started to play badminton again (twice a week), we had our usual fancy Christmas Dinner in the Faculty Club (and I got and gave chocolate :D), I went ice-skating, I played FIFA11 on-line with a colleague of mine (and I won :D), I have bought a digital scale (to track my weight), and the weather was so nice and warm last Sunday that I could go and ride my racing bike outside (to Mechelen and back of course). Oh, yes, and I drank some beer (Boon Oude Kriek 2006, Cantillon Kriek 100% Lambic Bio, Tumulus Magna, Boon Framboise 2008, Pannepot Reserva 2008), and ate some amasing pralines ;) This week I will spend two days (4×4 hours) with supervising (a.k.a. sitting there) on exams (as part of my teaching duties), so finally I will have some time to read a non work-related book. Preferably a novel. Or two…

The 100th Belgian beer – and even more!

Yesterday – after my poster for the upcoming XXII Canary Islands Winter School of Astrophysics was finished and printed – I went to Brussels with a couple of colleagues/friends, to celebrate my 100th Belgian beer. Some of us even had a dinner on the Grote Markt before we moved (in the rain) to the famous Delirium Café. Why is it famous? Because this bar has the most varieties of beer (2004 to be precise, and the majority of them is Belgian) commercially available on the whole planet. It is included on the list of the Guinness World Records!

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It is an extremely nice bar indeed (just a bit smoky, but not that bad), with the beer cards/plates/logos all around the place, and barrels used as tables. One might find it difficult to choose from a selection of two thousand beers, but I was prepared. After my visit to Westvleteren last weekend, I spent some time on the internet, and listed some of those high-rated beers which I have not yet tasted, and which might be hard to find outside this bar. So the first beer (and so my 100th Belgian beer – se it without and with me on the pictures below) we had was a special old cherry beer, the Cantillon Lou Pepe – Kriek 2004. Very different from anything else I had before, with a complex, layered taste, strong smell, and natural color. Good choice.

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The next one, with a shocking deep and dark, heavy taste and smell, was the Gouden Carolus Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw 2005. One of the greatest (and strangest) beers I ever had, it is worth reading some reviews on it here, because I can not describe it well enough. Then came the Chimay Grand Réserve 2008, which was a bit similar to the previous one, but made by the monks :) Again a complex, world class beer. Then to move a bit away from the heavy, dark colors and smells, we had a Chimay Cinq Cents. It has fruity notes of muscat and raisins in its taste ;)

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The last two beers were not that special, though the quite new and “nothing can be found about it on the internet” l’Outre-rue – Bière Urbaine was still well above the level of the average and bit boring Omer Traditional Blond. We had to leave after this to catch the last train back to Leuven – leaving from Brussels Central Station a couple of minutes after midnight. Back in Leuven we decided to have one more beer on the Oude Markt (just a light Lindemans Apple for me). It was a very nice evening, with good food, good beers, and good company! After a good – and long – sleep, today I submitted my first paper!

Disclaimer: we spent almost four hours in the Delirium Café, and shared 75 cl bottles with 6 people, so no one get hurt/drunk during the evening. And here is the list – in chronological order :)

01 Rochefort 8
02 Duvel
03 Orval
04 Grimbergen Dubbel
05 Rochefort 10
06 Steenbrugge Blond
07 Brugge Tripel
08 La Chouffe
09 Stella Artois
10 Schuppenboer Tripel
11 Schuppenboer Tripel 2009 (*different label and taste)
12 Malheur 8
13 Girardin Gueuze
14 Larumse Corneel 2004
15 Früli Aardbei
16 Bios Vlaamse Bourgogne
17 Tempelier
18 Achel Bruin
19 Boerinneken
20 Jupiler
21 Rochefort 6
22 Kwak
23 Hapkin
24 Westmalle Tripel
25 Rogier
26 Mc Chouffe
27 Westmalle Dubbel
28 Corsendonk Pater
29 Corsendonk Blond
30 Palm
31 Hoegaarden
32 Chimay Wit
33 Chimay Rood
34 Lucifer
35 Saison Dupont
36 Hopus
37 Chimay Blauw
38 Nen Engel van Domus
39 Ciney Bruin
40 Ciney Blonde
41 Grimbergen Cuvee de l’Ermitage
42 Tongerlo Prior
43 Tripel Karmeliet
44 Bush Amber
45 Brigand
46 Cuvee des Trolls
47 Bierbeekse
48 Grimbergen Blond
49 Vedett Extra Blond
50 Affligem Blond
51 Affligem Dubbel
52 Affligem Tripel
53 St. Bernardus Abt 12
54 Cristal
55 Park
56 Hoegaarden Grand Cru
57 Kasteel Bruin 2009 (and 2010 later on)
58 Maes
59 Leuvenese Tripel
60 Tongerlo Blond
61 Achel Blond
62 Villers Tripel
63 Villers Oud Vielle
64 Maredsous 8
65 Kessel Blond
66 Hommelbier
67 Kasteel Rouge
68 Kasteel Triple
69 Belle-Vue Kriek
70 Leffe Bruin
71 Hoegaarden Rosée
72 Hoegaarden Citron
73 Malheur 12
74 Judas
75 Kasteel Blond
76 De Verboden Vrucht
77 Nen Tripel van Domus
78 Con Domus
79 Delirium Tremens
80 St. Feuillien Bruin Réserve
81 Vedett Extra White
82 Leffe 9
83 Augustijn Donker
84 Chapeau Banana
85 Pannepot 2009
86 St. Feuillien Tripel
87 St. Feuillien Blond
88 Barbãr Winter Bok
89 Gusto 1833 Ruby Red
90 Leffe Radieuse
91 Kriek Boon 2009
92 Mort Subite Kriek
93 Mort Subite Kriek Xtreme
94 Lindemans Kriek
95 Timmermans Framboise
96 Leffe Kerstbier
97 Grimbergen Goud
98 Westvleteren 12
99 Westvleteren 8
100 Cantillon Lou Pepe – Kriek 2004
101 Gouden Carolus Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw 2005
102 Chimay Grand Réserve 2008
103 Chimay Cinq Cents
104 l’Outre-rue – Bière Urbaine
105 Omer Traditional Blond
106 Lindemans Apple

New personal best on 50 km

Just some short notes on the previous days. First of all, I set a new personal best on my usual 50 km Leuven – Mechelen – Leuven route (all the way along the Dijlekanaal) on my training ride (click link for details) today (after work). My average speed was 33.1 km/h, which is an improvement of 1.0 km/h compared to the previous PB (which was set on the 6th of April after I came back from La Palma). This – as always – was an individual ride (like a time trial), so I had to fight the aerodynamic drag alone, but this was the first time I needed only a short-sleeved jersey, thanks to the return of normal May weather (so 20°C  and not 6°C like two weeks ago) to Belgium. I am quite happy with this speed (though my heart rate was a bit too high this time and the cadence could be still higher), now I would need interval training to improve it even more… With today’s ride I have passed the first 1000 km mark with my new road bike :)

Honestly, there is nothing else to write about, but the weather is getting really great these days, so we could finally eat outside on Tuesday evening (at the Seinhuis – the new beer was the Maredsous 8 this time, then the Kessel Blond and the Hommelbier on the day after in the Via Via). And – finally - we could play with my special frisbee – which is just the most cool outdoor game ever – in lunch-breaks…

Belgian beers (1.)

The list of beers I have tasted in Belgium until now (in chronological order - italic typeface if the beer can be found in the book “100 Belgian Beers to Try Before You Die!”):

01 Rochefort 8
02 Duvel
03 Orval
04 Grimbergen Dubbel
05 Rochefort 10
06 Steenbrugge Blond
07 Brugge Tripel
08 La Chouffe
09 Stella Artois
10 Schuppenboer Tripel
11 Schuppenboer Tripel 2009
12 Malheur 8
13 Girardin Gueuze
14 La Trappe Isid’or
15 Larumse Corneel 2004
16 Früli Aardbei
17 Bios Vlaamse Bourgogne
18 Tempelier
19 Achel Bruin
20 Boerinneken
21 Jupiler
22 Rochefort 6
23 Kwak
24 Hapkin
25 Westmalle Tripel
26 Rogier
27 Mc Chouffe
28 Westmalle Dubbel
29 Corsendonk Pater
30 Corsendonk Blond
31 Palm
32 Hoegaarden
33 Chimay Wit
34 Chimay Rood
35 Lucifer
36 Saison Dupont
37 Hopus
38 Chimay Blauw
39 Nen Engel van Domus
40 Ciney Bruin
41 Ciney Blonde
42 Grimbergen Cuvee de l’Ermitage
43 Tongerlo Prior
44 Tripel Karmeliet
45 Bush
46 Brigand
47 Cuvee des Trolls
48 Bierbeekse
49 Grimbergen Blond
50 Vedett
51 Affligem Blond
52 Affligem Dubbel
53 Affligem Tripel
54 St. Bernardus Abt 12
55 Cristal
56 Park
57 Hoegaarden Grand Cru
58 Kasteel Bruin
59 Maes
60 Leuvenese Tripel
61 Tongerlo Blond

It is quite an impressive list, my guess before this post was around 50, so it is even more than I thought. And if I made a list of the beers I had tasted before I came to Belgium, I think it would not have more than 5 entries… So this number is a result of three things: 1) I try to integrate well (which also reflects clearly in my chocolate consumption), 2) Belgian beers are quite good (which translates to really great, but – originally – I am not  a big beer-drinker, so do not expect those high emotional words from me when I am talking about beer), 3) the culture of beer-drinking is much more evolved, richer and more important (in a social way) here than in Hungary. Now it’s getting harder to taste new kinds in a normal bar, but I am still far from running out of possibilities…