“We never manipulate our beers to make an easy product,” said Julie Van Roy, who runs the brewery with her brother . a two-hour train ride west of Brussels, at ‘t Brugs Beertje, or the Bruges Bear. This unassuming shop stocks an outstanding collection of the country’s most progressive designers, from established labels like Dries Van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester . Just at the start of Molenmeers street is Refter, the second restaurant of chef Geert Van Hecke . p.m. - Brugs Beertje, just crossing Simon Stevin Plein in Kemelstraat, has 300 different beers to try. 9:30 a.m. Bruges, or Brugge in Flemish . To join them, head for 't Brugs Beertje (Kemelstraat 5, open 4pm-1am), my personal choice for the world's best pub, with 1970s decor and a choice of more than 300 beers. Easier to find is t'Brugs Beertje (Kemelstraat 5), what is known as a traditional 'brown cafe' because of its nicotine-stained ceiling, a welcoming bar with both a great atmosphere and this time more than 300 Belgian beers to chose from. In truth, Cafe 't Brugs Beertje serves more than 300 kinds . the help is friendly and the beer is terrific. But there are other beers to sample after we walk Madeline to the hotel. NO COUNTRY has a greater diversity of individualistic, idiosyncratic beers than our temptingly close neighbour Belgium . It features works by Brueghel, Bosch, Hans Memling and Van Eyck . has a generous choice of beers, while Cafe Lissinghe at Blekersstraat 2, dating from 1503 and the city’s oldest bar, has simple snacks. To JP Van Seventer, our friend from Amsterdam . What can we learn from this tale of two beer cities? First but not foremost, there are objectively good beers and the stinky-sock beer may or may not be one of them. Come for the chocolate (Dominique Persoone, at The Chocolate Line, makes the best), for the art (especially Jan van Eyck at the Groeninge Museum) and for the food — the new autumn menu, with wine, at the three-Michelin-starred De Karmeliet costs £157pp .