Westvleteren Brewery Guest Review

Westvleteren Brewery Guest Review

Peter and Norm, local Haligonians from Canada, paid a visit to the Westvleteren Brewery in Belgium, during a cycle tour where they circumnavigated the English Channel through England, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. They shared their experience with us in this Westvleteren Brewery Guest Review.

About the Westvleteren Brewery 

Location:            Trappist Abbey of Saint Sixtus in Vleteren, Belgium

Address:              Donkerstraat 12, Westvleteren, 8640, West Flanders, Belgium

Website:              http://www.westvleterenbeers.com

Opening Hours: The brewery is not open to the public, but there is a restaurant and beer garden, called “In de Vrede” just across a small country road from the brewery. This restaurant serves Westvleteren beer. Check the opening times on their website as they change seasonally.

Facilities/ Services: The claustrum at the visitors’ center and restaurant have an exhibition set up that will give you an insight into life as a Trappist monk at the monastery. The restaurant has a shop, wifi, bathrooms, beer garden and some info about the brewery.

Westvleteren Brewery Guest Review
The beer garden in the In de Vrede restaurant

The Beers: 

  • Westvleteren Blonde (5.8% ABV)
  • Westvleteren 8 (8% ABV)
  • Westvleteren 12 (10.2% ABV)

Interesting fact: The brewery was founded in 1838 and is the only remaining brewery where Trappist monks still do the brewing of the beer.

Westvleteren Brewery Guest Review: Norm’s thoughts of the Westvleteren brewery, restaurant and beers.

How did you discover this brewery? 

My brother (Peter) heard about Westvleteren I think from a “Brewnoser” (local home brewing club) colleague.

Westvleteren Brewery Guest Review
Peter enjoying one of the Westvleteren beers at the beer garden opposite the brewery.

What makes it cycle friendly? 

The brewery and restaurant is in the country side. There are no cycle paths that I can recall. We simply navigated our way there along the quaint and not so busy country roads. The restaurant is cyclist friendly only by the large number of bicycle racks in the parking lot.

Pros

  • The quality of the beer. It is simply renowned worldwide – according to some, the best in the world. We can certainly say that it is well up there.
  • Plenty of bicycle parking.
  • Historic.
  • Restaurant with beer garden.

Cons:

  • It’s a bit on the expensive side.

Do you recommend the place to other cyclists/ cycle tourists? 

Yes. As you can see from the photos it was a lovely day and we were totally relaxed after a 70km cycle. If one is cycling in western Belgium and enjoy a brew Westvleteren is a must. It’s not quite Mecca but pretty close.

Westvleteren Brewery Guest Review
Norm enjoying the Westvleteren 12

Did you enjoy this Westvleteren Brewery Guest Review? Do you have a cycle brewery guest review that you would like to share? Well head over to our Cycle Brewery Guest Review Submissions page to submit your review.

Cycle Brewery Guest Review Submissions

Cycle Brewery Guest Review

Been to an awesome brewery, where the suds are tasty and the atmosphere is cycle friendly? Submit your cycle brewery guest review to be featured on our website.

How to submit a Cycle Brewery Guest Review?

Just answer these questions and send them along with a couple of photos to info@cycletrekkers.com

  1. Brewery details (name? website? location? etc.)
  2. Info about the cycle trip you were on when you visited this brewery. Was it a day cycle trip, as part of a tour, or independent long term cycle tour? Where did you trip take you?
  3. How did you discover this brewery? (eg. recommendation, guide book, found by chance etc.)
  4. What makes it cycle friendly? (eg. bike parking/racks, bike tools/ pump available, free water/ water refills, camping available, close to bike trails/ what bike trails, bicycle decor etc.)
  5. Pros
  6. Cons
  7. Do you recommend the place to other cyclists/ cycle tourists? Why (optional)?
  8. Anything else you want to add?
  9. Optional: Favourite beer you tried there?
  10. Optional: Your social media link (twitter, flicker, facebook page etc) if you want it included at the bottom of the article.

In return for your review we will feature the article on our website and social media channels. We’ll also include a link to your social media page at the bottom of the article.

Read Norm and Peter’s Westvleteren Brewery Guest Review.

The guest review not long enough for you? Then head over to our guest post submission page, and submit a longer article.

Cycling with a Growler

Cycling with a growler

You’re about 20km into your day, and you happen to pass a really awesome looking brewery. A warmshowers’ host told you a couple of days ago that the beer there is amazing. The brewery is still small, so the only place you can get their beer is at the brewhouse, but it’s 11am and you still have 80km to smash out before sunset. You’ve been on your cycle tour for about 2 months now, and the effects of alcohol are definitely greater than they used to be. You know if you stop in for only one drink, then that’s you done for the day. So reluctantly, you cycle on.

What if this place has the most magical beer on earth?!? If you don’t sample it now you may never know! What kind of a life is that to lead?!?! A terrible one and you know it.

Rest assure, we think we’ve found a solution, so you never have to miss out on those great brews again. The solution: cycling with a growler!

Things to consider when choosing a growler:

  • Weight
  • Durability
  • Size
  • Insulation

What growler we chose:

Klean Kanteen 40oz (1.2L) stainless steel growler x2 – yes, Michael bought two growlers, and is currently contemplating buying a third.

cycling with a growler
Our Klean Kanteen stainless steel growler – and a glass of stout!

Why we are happy with this choice:

  • BPA free
  • Lightweight
  • Less likely to break/ damage
  • Doubles up as a water bottle
  • Made of 18/8 food-grade stainless steel, electropolished so it won’t retain flavours.
  • Removable cap is thread-free to provide a tight, leak-resistant seal.
  • 44mm opening allows easy filling and pouring and can fit ice cubes in.
  • Rounded corners permit easy, complete cleaning.

Downside:

This one isn’t insulated, which means we have to find a way to keep our beer cold, because nothing is worse then a warm beer. This is actually the reason Michael is contemplating buying a third (insulated) growler – honestly, we don’t drink that much beer!

A good insulated alternative would be the Klean Kanteen Vacuum Insulated Growler version.

How to attach a growler to your bike:

There are growler bike cages for 64oz growlers and also leather growler carriers for the bike (not sure how much they will move around on the bike and they don’t look particularly long lasting). Kleen Kanteen and Velo orange also make some mighty fine polished stainless steel cages, but they are pretty pricey! As we have two 40oz (1.2L) growlers we needed something that will hold something a bit smaller. We’ve opted for Blackburn Outpost cargo cages, which we’ve attached to the frame of the bike.

cycling with a growler
The growlers secure in their Blackburn cages

Obviously, another alternative (if the brewery offers it) is to by takeaways (cans or bottles), but personally nothing is better than beer straight from the keg, which is why we’ve opted for the growlers. Plus, if you have an insulated growler, you don’t have to worry about your beer getting warm. And, once you’ve got a secure way to attach your growler to the bike, it is actually much easier than trying to squeeze a couple of extra cans or bottles in your panniers, plus you don’t have to deal with disposing of empty bottles or cans so it’s more environmentally friendly!

The growlers are a new addition to our bikes, and though I think it will be great for short-term cycle trips, we’ll have to report back on how we go cycling with a growler in the long term.

Have you been cycling with a growler before? We’d be very interested to find out how you got on and what growler you used.

Cycle Friendly Brewery of the Month: Whitewater Brewing Company Riverside Brew Pub

Cycle Friendly Brewery: Whitewater brewing Co Riverside Brewpub

Each month we are going to feature a different cycle friendly brewery that a) serves up some tasty beer, and b) caters to the needs of cycle tourists.

Brewing good beer is obviously an important part of being an awesome brewery, however being a cycle friendly brewery is just as important.

This month’s Cycle Friendly Brewery is Whitewater Brewing Company Riverside Brewpub in Ontario, Canada.

A warmshowers’ host told us about this brewpub during our cycle trip across Canada. It’s a popular spot with cyclists, and we can definitely see why. The brewpub is located in a beautiful part of Ontario, near several different cycle routes. What Chris at Whitewater Brewing had to say about being cycle friendly is, “Cycling lends well to our “Always time to play” philosophy.”

Whether you’re cycling across Canada and heading through Northern Ontario to Ottawa (like what we did) or you’re on an extended cycle trip for a couple of days from Ottawa, this place is definitely worth checking out.

About the brewery:

Three friends founded Whitewater Brewing Company in 2011 on the banks of the Ottawa River.

Location:             Ontario, Canada

Address:              22 FLETCHER RD. FORESTERS FALLS, ON

Phone:                +1 (613) 582 7227

Email:                  Via website

Website:               http://whitewaterbeer.ca

Opening Hours: Seasonal. The Riverside brewpub will be open weekends starting May 19th. They will be open full time come June. At this point the opening hours are 11:30am to 9pm. The brewery is however opened year-around.

Facilities/ Services: Brewery, growler fills, take aways, shop, brewpub, restaurant, camping, wifi, washrooms

cycle friendly brewery of the month whitewater brewing company

What makes Whitewater cycle friendly:

Located close to some awesome cycle trails. Offers parking, water refills, bathrooms, wifi, use of bike tools, pallet bike racks and trail information all for free. Besides locally sourced food and beer they also offer camping for $10 per person, and live music on Fridays and Saturdays. The owners also actively supports BORCA trails, a local non-profit that helps restore and maintain cycle trails in the area.

About the Cycle Trails

7km of trails exist right behind the Riverside Brewery (thanks to Wilderness Tours for the land use) and there’s another 18km+ only a few km away. Check out the trail maps on BORCAs to discover more about the cycle trails in the Beachburg area.

If you happen to be in the area on 13th May, then check out the fundraiser, BORCA Spring Chicken.

Camping/ tenting details:

Camping is $10 per person. It is grass camping and allows access to potable water and washroom facilities. Arrivals times are flexible, however it is best to call first in case you are showing up before or after the pub closes. The best number to call them on is +1 613 582 7227.

cycle friendly brewery of the month whitewater brewing company

If camping isn’t your thing:

There are a few other accommodation options close to the Brewery. There is a nice motel in Cobden and the rafting company, Wilderness Tours has cabins and B&Bs. 

Other locations:

Yes. Whitewater Brewing Co also has a brewpub in Pembroke, Ontario. Unlike the Riverside location, this brewpub is opened year-round, so is an awesome alternative if cycling in the off-season. They don’t offer camping, but there is a motel close by, and they also have parking, wifi and water refills.

cycle friendly brewery of the month whitewater brewing company

Other pluses:

They support the local community and use local ingredients. Awesome chillout spot! They have a recipe for beer hummus on their website, so they must be legends!

Beers on tap:

4 original beers that they have all the time: Blonde Ale, English Style Ale, IPA and Oatmeal Milk Stout.

They also have different seasonal beers – the watermelon blonde definitely sounds refreshing after a long cycle day. Michael loves the sound of the Chocolate porter.

cycle friendly brewery of the month whitewater brewing company

Have you been to Whitewater Brewery while on a bike? We would love to hear all about your experience.

Resources

because beer resources

Here are some Beercycle Touring Resources that we’ve found handy during our cycles or that have been recommended to us by fellow beercyclists. We’ll be constantly updating this list as we’re cycling.

Beercyclist Resources

Hop in the Saddle book: A Guide to Portland’s Craft Beer Scene, by bike.

Cycle Touring Resources

Warmshowers: Definitely sign up to this before your cycle trip! Warmshowers is a community of cyclists that host other cyclists. They also have some really useful forums on cycling in pretty much every country in the world.

La Route Verte: All about the cycle routes in Quebec! Definitely great for planning your route through the province.

Trans Canada Trail: Good resources – don’t be fooled that the whole route is bicycle friendly, it’s definitely not. Still provides some good information and some of the trail is amazing! Much nicer than the highway.

Canada Cycle Route Notes: Our in-depth route notes from our cycle trip across Canada trip in 2016. We also published the book Cycling Canada: Coast-to-Coast Trip Notes.

Adventure Cycling: A great resource for planning your route in the USA. You do have to buy the maps, but they are super useful.

Cycle Touring Blogs

Arctic Cycler: Cycle touring blog about cycling from the Netherlands to Australia. Also check out the Green Pedal movement!

The Wandering Nomads: Two bikes, one life, and the whole world to see. This blog has some stunning photos! Love it!

Pikes on BikesAnother blog with some amazing photos and lots of helpful info. They’ve also published a couple of useful books worth checking out.

Universe With Me: Cycle touring blog by a Korean girl on a world tour – she’s been practically everywhere. Love this blog!

World Biking: This website has been running for over 10 years, so you can image the number of useful resources on there. They also have a very awesome cycle touring blog site, called Go Bicycle Touring, which has a whole bunch more resources and different blogs.

Two Wheel Travel: Lots of info and “how to”‘s on bicycle touring. Definitely worth checking out.

Cycle Friendly Breweries

To be updated! For now check out our Beercyclist Map that shows a bunch of cycle friendly breweries.

Other Resources

Couchsurfing: Similar to warmshowers, but for all types of travellers.

Expert Vagabond: Awesome adventure travel and photography. Definitely worth checking out for some inspiration.

itravelnet.com: Travel directory.

Backpack ME: Travel Blog Traffic Exchange.

If you have a cycle touring blog or cycle friendly brewery then we will also consider a link exchange. Email us at info@cycletrekkers.com to find out more.