Rumbling along the cobblestone streets of the medieval city of Bruges, there is no shortage of things to see, smell, hear, and taste. The small city in the West Flanders region of Belgium has had some time to perfect its quaint, European character, having first been mentioned in history books around the mid-800’s!
In and around the city center, it resembles Grand Place in Brussels. There are outdoor cafes, bell towers, kiosks, chocolate, frites, restaurants and pubs, and there is a general rhythm of pride and contentment that flows throughout the area.
Bruges is also home to , as well as one of the most amazing tour guides I’ve ever met! Coincidentally, this was the second time I had visited the brewery, and Inge was the guide for my first visit in 2007, and again in 2016. It made it so much more of an experience, to hear how the brewery had changed and grown, from her perspective. Consider that between my first and most recent visit, happened!
Inge is super-charged and full of energy. She’s got an incredibly sharp wit, and a deft understanding of how to make a room full of strangers from all over the world, burst out laughing. No matter that English isn’t her first language; she is in the business of gaining the understanding of her audience through amazing beer and great hospitality.
Since this is so similar to what Craft Beer Cellar holds near and dear, I’d love to sit down and have a beer with Inge. Can you imagine how many different kinds of people she has come into contact with? The beer tours, the “walk in off the street tourists”, the beer seekers? So many personalities! Her schitck wasn’t so different from 2007 to 2016; but that’s what was amazing! She knew the story of De Halve Maan inside and out. Inge knew how to capture, and keep, an audience’s attention.
It’s such a valuable asset, in terms of making people feel welcome, and possibly earning repeat customers. I definitely felt like we’ve shared many of the same things, in our years as both tour guides and creators of experiences. Inge had asked me in 2016 what my favorite De Halve Maan beer was, and I told her, without a doubt, that is was . After a tough day of touristing, it’s the perfect beer to wind down with. Cheers, Inge!