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Belgium! Zythos Beer Fest, Gent and the Ardennes

April 20 - 30, 2017
Departs every year in April

Get ready for a uniquely Belgian (and a little bit Dutch) beer and food adventure, as we experience the best of Europe's most underrated nation. We will start in hip and historic Gent with its Castle, riverside beer cafes, and ecclectic restaurants, hit the big Zythos Beer Festival, travel to the scenic Ardennes and spend a couple days in the cool Dutch city of Maastrich. Along the way we will eat great local cuisine, visit a couple breweries, and take in this historic area. The trip ends in Brussels - the home of Lambic. Meet blenders, brewers, and see working brewing museums where controlled as well as spontaneous fermentation and just the right conditions create the unique variety that is Belgian Beer. The trip starts in Gent on the eve of the incomparable Zythos Beer Festival and ends in Brussels. Great Beer, rising-star brewers, an incomparable beer festival, the living/working steam brewery at Vapeur, not to mention mussels, waffles and frites, cool cities, great meals, fine hotels, and travel by private coach make this a connoisseurs dream trip!

Daily Itinerary*


Day 1, Thursday

Travel Day

Fly to Europe

Day 2, Friday

Arrive Gent, City Tour, Gruit Brewery, Welcome Dinner

Upon arrival at Brussels international airport, transfer by rail and taxi to our hotel in the beating heart of bustling Gent. This afternoon, meet the group for a locally guided walking tour/pub crawl en route to our Welcome Beer Dinner on the water. Many great bars await for those with energy in reserve. Overnight Gent.

Day 3, Saturday

Morning Brewery Visit, Afternoon to Zythos Festival

Hop on the beer bus this morning as we head towards the Zythos Beer Festival, but on the way we will stop by a favorite brewery for a tour and tasting. We'll have an afternoon session, enjoy some festival food and beer banter and return to Gent this evening. Overnight Gent.

Day 4, Sunday

Free Day in Gent

Today is totally free to enjoy cool and historic Gent on a spring Sunday. Overnight Gent.

Day 5, Monday

To the Ardennes, Brewery Lunch en route

This morning we depart Gent on the Beer Bus, bound for the Ardennes and beyond! Lunch and other diversions await along the way. Tonight we'll enjoy a gourmet beer dinner and some local cheese and chocolate as well. Overnight in the Ardennes.

Day 6, Tuesday

Visit Rulles, Val Dieu, Grain D'Orge, to Maastricht

An early morning start today as we head south-east and then north to visit three fine breweries, with a lunch stop along the way. Each brewery has it's own unique story and delicious range of beers -- a dangerous sampling day, perhaps. Many bars and restaurants abound near the hotel in the modern, hip Dutch city on the Maas River. Overnight Maastricht.

Day 7, Wednesday

Maastricht Day

This morning we will join a local guide for a walk around Maastricht. We will get a bit of history and geographic orientation, and likely see some converted churches now being used as bars and bookstores. The remainder of the day is free to explore and enjoy Maastrich's rich history, architecture and cultural spirt. Overnight Maastricht.

Day 8, Thursday

To Brussels, via Kerkom & Jandrain-Jandrenouille

Our first stop today is Brouwerij Kerkom, a BeerTrips favorite for beer, ambience, and hospitality. We will see the old brown cafe, the coaching inn, and the soon to be working brewery, taste all the beers they brew and enjoy a simple farmers lunch. Did you hear the one about the hops brokers who started brewing beer? This is what happened at our next stop Jandrain-Jandrenouille, and now they brew some great beers. we will meet the brewers, see the small brewery and proceed to taste. After the visit we travel to Brussels. Overnight Brussels.

Day 9, Friday

AM Free Time in Brussels, afternoon Brussels Breweries Visits

Today is totally free until this evening when we travel by coach to Eizeringen for the fantastic Night of Great Thirst to celebrate the miracle of spontaneous fermentation with lambic and gueze from all the producers. After merry-making with other crazy beer lovers, we'll head back to Brussels for the night. Overnight Brussels.

Day 10, Saturday

Brasserie Vapeur Brewday, PM free, Farewell Beer Dinner

Oh my, we have a big day in store! We'll head out early so we cam see the old steam brewery at Brasserie Vapeur in action. Gears, belts, mash tuns all running off a 19th century steam engine, it is a sight to behold. We will also enjoy some pub games, lots of funky beer, a great lunch of local products and perhaps the best cheese board anywhere -- 20 plus cheese from a 50 kilometer radius of the brewery. Overnight Brussels.

 

Day 11, Sunday

Phew!!

Alas, time to go home. Breakfast this morning is the last event. Direct trains to the airport take about 20 minutes with frequent departures. Cheers!

Trip Price
(Land-only, Based on double occupancy)

$2995 per person

Single Room add $585

Beer Highlights
& Brewery Visits*

Gruit Brouwerij
De Dolle Brouwers
Rulles
Val Dieu
Grain D'Orge
Kerkom
Jandrain-Jandrenouille
Brasserie Vapeur
Zythos Beer Fest

Overnight Stays*

3 nights Gent
1 night in the Ardennes
2 nights in Maastricht
3 nights Brussels

Included Tours

Guided City Tours
in Gent, Maastricht and Brussels

Include Meals

9 Breakfasts

4 Lunches

3 Dinners

Arrival & Departure

Trip Begins & Ends Brussels, Belgium

Other airports within 3 hours by rail include Amsterdam (AMS), Paris (CDG), and Cologne.

 

Please Note:

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.

* Please note also:

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!