While I had visited Brouwerij Affligem in 2008, when expert beer consultant and event planner Krishan Maudgal of Maudgal International used to work there, I had never visited or had a meal at Gasthof d’Oude Brouwerij (Guesthouse of the Old Brewery) which is essentially the tasting room of the brewery and Affligem abbey.
I was soon to find out that this was an oversight that I am happy has now been corrected! First, though, we took a stroll around the grounds of the nearby abbey, as the weather had cleared nicely and the sun was shining. Mostly, anyway. We had a happy happenstance as well: a monk just happened to be taking a Sunday evening walk, and was nice enough to stop and talk with us. When I explained that I was a beer writer and had visited all of the Trappist breweries in Belgium, he spent a few more moments talking with me. It was then that I found out that he was Dom Benedict, the monk in charge of the contract between the Abbey and Brouwerij Affligem.
Meeting Dom Benedict was a pleasure, and he even agreed to take a few photos with our group. We then walked back to the Gasthof for what would be a memorable meal. The Gasthof is located in the former dairy building of the Affligem Abbey, which started brewing on the site in the 12th century. Later, the monks licensed their beer recipes and name to Brouwerij de Smedt, located nearby, which was later sold to Heikeken. The name was then changed to Brouwerij Affligem.
The multi-roomed restaurant was teeming with diners on this Sunday, and we were ushered to a table in a large dining room in the back. Our four course meal started with a small bowl of soup and piece of cheese, followed by a choice of either Tomato shrimp with garnish or marinated vegetables with prawns and mango. I had the prawns, which were delicious. I paired with with an Affligem Patersvat, a beer brewed mostly with hops grown right on the Affligem site. This hoppy 7% abv brew was really refined, even more so than the last time I enjoyed a fresh bottle.
Here is a video of the Waterzooi dish.
The available entree was either seafood Waterzooi (stew) with vegetables, sauce of Affligem Blond, potatoes and shrimp; or pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon with fresh herbs, beans, mushroom sauce made with Affligem Dubbel. I choose the pork, and it was superb. There were also potatoes au gratin as a side dish, which were equally delectable. I paired this 2,000 calorie meal with an Affligem Blond, on tap. I was equally impressed with the refined character of this brew, and impressed that Heineken has even improved the quality of the Affligem beers in the last several years. The beer also have new labels, and new glassware is used. Fairly classy glassware, I’d have to say. Whatever anyone might have to say about marketing and branding, it’s just a fact that drinking a beer from a more visually appealing glass like the new ones at Affligem is more enjoyable than drinking the same beer from a boring pint glass.
During the dinner, our group reminisced about all the great times we had, beers we had drunk, and friends we had made during the trip. For me, it was an honor and a pleasure being a guest host on Stu’s BBM! Tour, and I’ll likely do another one in the future sometime.
Dessert? Sabayon frappe made with Affligem Blond, with raspberries and meringue. What a great way to end the meal. But luckily, I wasn’t done. There was an extra one, and I got it! Make that 2,500 calories, but who’s counting on a beer trip to Belgium? If you come on one of the BBM! Tours, you shouldn’t be. Just enjoy every beer and every meal, and hit the gym hard when you return home!