Fin (1144) Merton, Oxfordshire, England, England | March 28, 2017
We visited here on Saturday 25th March 2017, the we being me, Loz and Ian (Harrisoni on RB). Despite our many, many trips to Belgium over quite a number of years this was our first visit here as the opening times have never really worked out for us. As I have described in my other ratings for places nearby It is quite easy to get here, if heading over from the UK, then get off the E40 Mway at Veurne and head down the N8 in the general direction of Ypres and Poperinge, once you hit Oostvleteren turn left at the traffic lights and the old school house is immediately on your RH side. I have to say there is very little signage that screams out brewery or tap room though.
We had a flying visit as we were heading back to the UK on the 16:20 Eurotunnel and never arrived here until gone 2pm. You enter via a narrow passageway off of the street; this opens out into an open area where much of the brewing equipment is including large wooden Bourbon or Whisky casks waiting to be filled with the next Struise beer. The old school building/tap room is at the rear of the yard and as you enter there is a small corridor off to the left that acts as a bottle shop with a limited amount of their own beers here for sale (mostly the rarer stuff by the looks of things. Beyond this is the Tap Room, it a reasonable sized square room with a bank of taps ahead (27 I’m told) what looks like the old green original school chalk boards off to the RH side have been reused to explain brewing processes with diagrams and text. There are lots of pictures on the far wall that have been photo-shopped/doctored, so famous images, celebrities; historical characters are seen with a Struise beer in hand, some are quite amusing.
Carlo met us, we’d met Carlo before and chatted to him at beer festivals gone by, but Ian knew him really well and got a big hug and free beer thrust into his hand, as did Loz (I was Des, so no beer for me) I took myself off into the bottleshop and picked a few interesting bottles to take away with me. By the time that we left a few more folk were now coming in and Carlo was doing the explaining to the beer novices about the many beers that they had on offer. I would say that this is a must visit if in the area, we’ll definitely be back again if we can just get it to work in with our plans for a future visit over here.
This is the front yard of De Struise brewery in the little village of Oostvleteren, Belgium. They only open Saturday afternoons, and feature a massive 30 taps pouring their own creations. Prices are tight, so you can have many different ales (as long as the body holds). They have an open BBQ, and you can buy some meat at the butcher’s right opposite and bring it in freely. Oddly, no bottles were sold when I was there. They said they had ran out, even though it’s only open once every seven days. I’ve been afterwards told it’s not the first time this happens.
Wow this place is sketchy to get to, it is on an unassuming road where everything else around was either closed down or residential. When I visited we had to walk through a run down abandoned building which looked like it was falling apart to reach the brewery. That being said, the brewery has a ton of outdoor space and a small indoor space as well. They had roughly 20 beers on tap when I visited plus a small bottle list. Tons of rare/unbottled stuff, very interesting!
The quintessential Struise education. Mind the opening hours, but this place can become incredibly busy. The choice is immense, and far from restricted to the own Struise beers. Meet Carlo, meet Urbain, or one other strange bird behind the counter, flocking in from all parts of the globe. You’ll end up talking about beer... as long as you can stand the alcoholonslaugth you’ve signed yourself in for. One not to miss when in Belgium.