To find this place you either stumble across it, or have to purposely search for it, for us thanks to the “Around Bruges in 80 Beers” guide book and the map reading skills of “pathfinder Rachie” (the wife), it was the latter.
Although centrally located on the main tourist trail and only 100 yards from the main Bruges Markt square, De Garre remains discretely hidden from the less discerning beer tourist, tucked away down a tiny cobbled alley (De Garre) off Breidelstraat. Clientele ranged from the obviously regular local folk each having what seemed to be their own favourite chair, to beer enthusiasts and folk that were very probably lost…
The main room itself is quite small in cafe/bar terms, probably 18 feet by 18, with a small apertured high bar facing you as you venture up the ancient worn stone steps, a tiny winding staircase aside the bar leading to the upper drinking gallery.
Once inside the feeling is like stepping back in time. Being a fan of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, it reminded me of the scene in The Prancing Pony where the hobbits first met Strider, huge gnarled oak beams, stone floor, simple wooden tables clustered together all baring glasses of foaming ales.
Dating back to the 1700’s, De Garre is one of those places where the gentle atmosphere and ambience has your mind wondering how many people have sat here before you. What joys, tragedies, laughter, crimes or drunken buffoonery have these tine four walls witnessed in their lifetime?
Garre Tripel – 11%
Although they have a reasonable beer menu at De Garre, I was only after one in particular at the recommendation of Mark, co author of “real ale reviews” blog. This was the leg weakening De Garre house “Garre Tripel”, I was not alone as almost every table had at least one.
The Tripel arrived in two large goldfish bowl like glasses, with the thick white creamy head massively outweighing the liquid content by about three parts to one, there being only approximately three quarters of an inch of beer sitting at the base. Either by sensing our unconscious looks of disappointment or by the daily experiences of newcomers to his bar, the barman softly whispered “wait, it will come”.
Each tray of beer is served with a small portion of chopped cheese, which I’m led to believe is a compatible match for most Belgian beer, it was soft, creamy and when finally, patience rewarded we got to taste the Garre Tripel went perfectly with the beer
The beer itself has aromas of yeast and biscuits with slightly grassy hoppy notes. Once through that thick long lingering head, the first thing that hits you is the smooth malty flavour that disguises the alcoholic strength better than some half the same ABV. Garre is quite sweet for a Tripel which I suspect is due to the heavy alcohol, it has a smooth full bodied creaminess in the mouth which perfectly compliments the peach and light citrus flavours. The finish is easy going with evidence of hop bitterness but lightly so.
Garre Tripel is only available on the premises so you really need to make an effort and find it if ever you visit Bruges, all in all a fantastic experience and one we repeated whilst in the city. The beer can be purchased in 1.5 litre bottles to take away but we refrained from buying one preferring to keep the memory of the visit alive.
A final word of warning, at De Garre I’m told they will only ever serve you three house Tripel beers in one sitting, I didn’t test the theory but probably suggest that it’s a wise move..
Great blog. I love De Garre. You’ve brought back some good memories for me.
Hope you had fun in Brugge. A truly remarkable city.
Cheers Adam, thanks for the positive comments, glad it went down well.
Loved Brugge, got a few more posts to come on Brugs Beertje and De Halve Maan. Hope you pop back.
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Love the beer and the atmosphere and the people…I could go on. I’d like to know the name of the liqueur in the jugs on the wall. I had some and probably shouldn’t have after the Garre beer! Does anyone know of it??? Garre is a must in Brugges.
I have to say I’ve visited several times but have never noticed nor tried the liqueur you mention, needless to say I will be doing so next time. Cheers for the comment
Sorry if this came up twice. Where can i buy a De Garre glass so I can remember it everyday?
Hi Jeff, I don’t know for sure, but I suspect only at Staminee De Garre itself or specialist glass shops in Belgium.
I had a quick look online and you can see one or two, but prices are high & depends where you are shipping from and to.
Thanks, Phi, De Garre wouldn’t sell me one when I was there. I have emailed them but no response . I have tried on line but didn’t see anything. Would you mind sharing the sites you visited on line? Jeff
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Was just there on May 25, 2019. My daughter and I each had one Tripel. The perfect amount. What an excellent memory we made!
Great bear possible the best in the world