In praise of…Staminee de Garre, Bruges

Posted by on Mar 19, 2010 in Belgian Beer, In praise of..., Pubs | 4 Comments

I realised very quickly just how good Belgium is for beer drinkers – every restaurant or bar has a local selection that really cry out to be sampled. Most of them have a decent selection on draught, many are even house specials or are renowned for one particular type or style of beer. One place such as this is Staminee de Gare in Bruges, tucked away down a narrow passageway between the two focal points of the city – the Markt and Burg squares. In researching the drinking options beforehand, the house tripel here – Tripel De Garre had been mentioned numerous times. I’ll say right now that every single one of these people who mentioned it were absolutely right – it was the nicest beer I tried the whole time I was in Belgium.

Brewed by the Brouwerij Van Steenberge in Ertevelde the menu leaves you under no illusions as to the strength of the Tripel – at 11.5% it warns that they will only serve a maximum of three per customer (although I have since read that if you sweet-talk the barman he’ll let this slide, as long as he ‘keeps an eye on you’). As I was sampling at midday on an empty stomach I left it at the one, but the large chunky glass arrives on a doily-draped tray with a small dish of cubed cheese (kaas, in the Flemish). This turned out to be so good, we ordered a cheese platter to accompany – and compliment – the beer (my girlfriend having ordered a Huyghe La Guillotine on my recommendation, before I realised it was 9%). Anyway, it made for a pleasant lunch.

Tripel de Garre is poured from a wooden barrel on the bar, and so comes with a colossal pillowy head, at least a couple of inches. The aromas are amazing – alcohol esters, rich citrus, wheat beer notes, some mild spices from the hops. The mouthfeel is as good as I’ve ever got from a beer, strong warming alcohol mixed with the sharper hops and mellow sweetness. This mellowness continues into the aftertaste, where the strong witbier flavours come to the fore along with some flowers, and then finally the punch of the 11.5% alcohol, which remarkably is never overpowering. It was astonishing, I was genuinely amazed. Truly one of the nicest beers I’ve ever had the pleasure of sampling – and quite simply a must if you find yourself in Bruges.


  1. john spollin
    April 6, 2010

    Best beer ever tasted……from many tried. They also had a special Xmas beer, about 9.5% if memory serves correct. Is it possible to get it shipped to the UK ?

  2. Estonian Sig
    May 18, 2011

    After three vacations to Belgium (and much of Europe) I can honestly say that de Garre is my favorite beer to date… always hoping for a better! Although not a Trappist or “famous” Belgium beer this has to become a MUST TRY for anyone in northern Europe. As far as I can tell after several converations with the barkeep and the brewery personnel that brew de Garre, you can only get this at the pub. With only one exception… a limited number of 1.5 litre bottles are availible for purchase (20 euro) at the pub. After my purchase, we dubbed the bottle “our baby” and ultimately she made the trek back to southern California… to be enjoyed by a VERY select group of friends who will appreciate the quality and uniqueness of this beer! The “baby” is sleeping in the cellar now, settling and relaxing from her travels! 😉

  3. Richard
    May 20, 2011

    Wow – I had no idea at the time that you could buy bottles of the Tripel to take away. If only I had!!!

    Ah well. Just another reason to head back I suppose. Hope your bottle tastes as good as you remember…

  4. Beer in Bruges: De Garre and Tripel De Garre « The Beer Prole
    August 10, 2011

    […] I read before I went, including Phil Hardy of Beersay, Jose from Beer Nerds, Rich from The Beercast, Boak & Bailey, Simon Jenkins and Mark Fletcher of Real Ale […]

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