Day 1, Thursday - June 23
Fly to Europe, as you begin a great beer vacation, diving deep into the hinterlands and Farmhouse Ales of Belgium and France. Overnight aloft.
Day 2, Friday - June 24
Walking Tour/Pub Crawl, Welcome Dinner
Upon arrival, it is an easy transfer to our hotel, near the bustling Grand Place of Brussels. This afternoon, meet the group for a walking tour and pub crawl en route to our Welcome Beer Dinner. We will be back in Brussels - home of more than a few brewers – for 2 nights at the end of the trip. Overnight in Brussels.
Day 3, Saturday - June 25
Beer Bus to Brasserie Dupont, Vapeur brewery lunch, visit De Dolle, to Ieper (Ypres)
This morning we depart Brussels bright and early on our way to a very good beer day! We'll begin at with public brew day at Brasserie Vapeur, home to a 19th century steam-powered brewery. We will arrive early to see the brewing take place – a sight to see! Enjoy an all local lunch with the best cheese board anywhere, as well as their very characterful beers. Next we head west to Esen, and De Dolle Brouwers, founded by 2 brothers and Belgium's first craft brewery, founded in 1980 when craft breweries were technically illegal in Belgium. Continue to Ieper our historic home for 2 nights. Menin Gate Ceremony for the WW1 soldiers occurs nightly. Overnight in Ieper.
Day 4, Sunday - June 26
Flanders Field Museum, Estaminet 'T Kasteelhof Lunch in Cassel, Dinner at Beck's Farm
Wake up in Ieper, with time for a great breakfast and a visit to the sobering Flanders Fields Museum. Head to Cassel, France for a truly classic estaminet for lunch, stories, and great French beers you may never have heard of... After lunch there will be some time to explore this hilltop town in French Flanders. Next a short drive to Beck Farm, home to brewers, farm cooks, hop farmers and horse breeders. A visit, tour of the hops fields, and great dinner with plenty of their fresh hop beer! Back to Ieper tonight.
Day 5, Monday - June 27
De Ranke, Ferme de Balthazar, Brasserie de Cazeau, Sint Bernardus Guesthouse
Today's stops include 2 more awesome, innovative breweries -- De Ranke and Cazeau. Different in character -- one in a traditional old farmhouse brewery, the other on a neighborhood lane -- both brew a wide range of great beers. We will stop at a favorite restaurant for lunch between the visits. Tonight we shift to the well-loved Sint Bernardus Guesthouse in Watou - where delicious beer and convivial environs set the tone for a great 2 night stay. Overnight in Watou.
Day 6, Tuesday - June 28
Thiriez, Deux Caps, Beer Dinner
The Opal Coast awaits today as we visit two French breweries with their own claims to regional beer fame: Thiriez in Escquelbecq, and Deux Caps in Tardhingen. Great beer, charismatic brewers, and unique locations make this a perfect northern France Beer day. We will stop along the beautiful Opal Coast for a bit of beach time along the way. Overnight in Watou.
Day 7, Wednesday - June 29
La Choulette, Au Baron, to Mons
Why not head back to France for two more unique visits, the classic family brewery La Choulette, and the father – son brewery, Brasserie Au Baron, we will have lunch a short visit, and a chance to taste their excellent beers. Continue the short distance to Mons (we may add a 3rd stop, as we pass by 2 other great breweries en route). Overnight in Mons.
Day 8, Thursday - June 30
Full Free Day to Explore Mons
Sleep late, enjoy breakfast, and the explore the unique provincal capital of Hainaut, Wallonia, Belgium. The city hall and clock tower are reminders of Mons' importance in the late middle ages. The small city is also home to a large university and culturally diverse population. Spend some time on the Grand Place with a few beers for great people watching! Overnight in Mons.
Day 9, Friday - July 1
Train to Brussels, check-in, Brussels Breweries Day, Evening free
This morning we will hop on a train to Brussels, arriving before lunch. We'll make a short walk from the station to the hotel, drop bags and check-in, before heading across town to Brasseries Cantillon and L'Ermitage. The rest of the evening is free to explore beery and eclectic Brussels. Overnight in Brussels.
Day 10, Saturday- July 2
Free Day in Brussels, optional rail/taxi visit to Brouwerij Kerkom, Farewell Beer Dinner
Today you have choices... Spend a Saturday exploring Brussels' attractions, beer and otherwise, or, if you still want more brewery visits, take an 80 minute train ride to one of our favorite breweries anywhere... Dilemmas... dilemmas. In any case we will meet tonight in Brussels for a beer tasting dinner to celebrate the end of our very beery BeerTrip in Belgium and France. Cheers! Overnight in Brussels.
Day 11, Sunday- July 3
End of the trip...
Alas, time to go home
The overall style of the trip is best suited for somewhat adventurous, beer-loving travelers who want the camaraderie and structure of a tour, as well as the opportunity to explore independently. Planned events and excursions will, for the most part, be informal. Guided touring is generally the exception, though travelers can always rely on the support and assistance of the trip leader.
This itinerary is subject to change based on brewery or hotel availability, force majeur, acts of dieties, common sense or bad weather, etc. Smaller breweries, as well as the Trappists, are often unable to commit to hosting groups until a couple of weeks before we arrive. Substitutions, when necessary, will be as good or better than what we replaced. And, don't worry, the beer is always good!