BEER IN BRUGES. Belgium has more than 400 different types of beer, yes that is 400! The local residents also love a beer, the below photos should give you an idea of this and just how many different beers await to be tasted. Legend has it that St Arnold, an 11th century Benedictine monk, was made the patron saint of Belgian brewers after he encouraged everyone to drink beer rather than water during a bout of the plague and miraculously everyone got better. In “Great Beers of Belgium” the author Michael Jackson – a well-known expert and connoisseur of beer - explains that it was probably because the local untreated water was responsible for spreading the infection whereas the water in beer was boiled during the brewing process making beer a much safer drink. Brugse Zot has the distinction of being the only beer now brewed right in the centre of Bruges. Jackson describes Brugse Zot as “an almost iridescent pale bronze colour; a blossomy “hops in the brew house” aroma; a fruity palate reminiscent of peach sorbet; and a light, appetising dryness in the finish”. The official website of De Halve Maan brewery explains how Brugse Zot takes its name from a story that goes back to the 1400s when Maximillian of Austria visited Bruges. On his arrival the locals organised a “colourful parade of merrymakers and fools”. At the end of the festivities when Maximlliam was asked for a contribution towards a new madhouse he replied: “Today I have seen nothing but fools. Bruges is already one large madhouse!” Ever since that visit the people of Bruges have been known as Brugse Zotten (fools of Bruges). During the 45-minute tour of the brewery a multi-lingual guide tells you all about the history of brewing and you will see how Brugse Zot is made today. The brewery is still housed in its original building and is spread over a number of different floors. As you make your way up to the top of the building the stairs become narrower and steeper but after the final climb onto the roof terrace you are rewarded with a wonderful view of Bruges. The final reward is back at ground level when you get a complimentary refreshing glass of Brugse Zot.