Beer In Bruges: Café Vlissinghe and Poperings Hommel Bier
The second bar Kate and I went to on our first evening in Bruges was Vlissinghe. We fancied something simple and unfussy for dinner on a busy Saturday night, and this out of the way place seemed like a good option when the city centre cafes were packed.
I’d read about Vlissinghe in Around Bruges In 80 Beers, an invaluable book for anyone visiting the city. It’s a very old building and has been a cafe or tavern continuously since 1515. Allegedly Rubens once painted a coin on the table and scarpered without paying.
The decor certainly looks the part, with a high ceiling and a collection of oil paintings and sepia-tinted photo portraits on the walls. In the centre of the room is a fireplace covered in irons. There were a number of big dark wood tables. We sat at a table with a group of Greek and English people, who we thought might be academics or civil servants.
There’s a good if not remarkable beer list and I chose a Poperings Hommel Bier as suggested by the book. I’ve had this before, delivering a nice intensity of floral hoppiness but in a clearly Belgian way with a noticeable yeast flavour. Kate, who is more wary of Belgian beer, opted for a Brugse Zot, on which I will expand in a future post.
The food was good too, and quite reasonably priced. I had a traditional Flemish dish of chicory wrapped in ham and baked in a cheese sauce (chicory is a big thing in Belgium, apparently), whilst Kate enjoyed a white onion soup. For dessert she had pancakes and I had an apple tart.
I wouldn’t say that Vlissinghe is a must-visit beer destination in Bruges, but it is friendly, laid back and out of the way. To a tourist at least, it gives you a nice sense of history, like having a beer inside a folk museum or a van Eyck painting.