The ABCD's of Beer: Amsterdam, Brussels, Cologne & Dusseldorf
Next Departure: October 17 - 27, 2012
Join us on a classic odyssey of beer styles and European languages and cultures.
We'll travel from Amsterdam, through Belgium, via Brussels, to Germany -- exploring and enjoying several distinct styles of beer and the great cities where they grew up. Dutch Lagers and a number of emerging microbrews, Lambic and the cornucopia of Belgian selections in Brussels, Kolsch in Cologne and Alt in Dusseldorf. The cities each offer centuries of history, great architecture, and vibrant culture... and really great places to drink and brew beer. Stay in fine, well located hotels in each city. Enjoy locally guided city tours, special brewing opportunities, and great beer meals. Travel by convenient public transportation, private beer bus and excellent international rail. Beer and rail and great cities -- a very good mix. Add special home brewer events, focused tastings, style seminars and a bit of brewing and you have a great trip made better with BEER!
See Trip Pictures
Wednesday, Day 1- Travel to Amsterdam
Your trip begins as you fly to Amsterdam, Netherlands. Meals and overnight aloft.
Thursday, October 18 - Amsterdam Walking Tour, Beer Dinner
Arrive in Amsterdam and settle into our hotel in the heart of the historic city center. This afternoon, we'll meet in the hotel lobby for a short city tour before our Welcome beer dinner and pub/cafe crawl. (Dinner)
Friday, October 19 - Amsterdam Beer Day
Today we'll visit Amsterdam's own Brouwerij t'Ij, with a possible opportunity to help brew a batch. The afternoon is free to explore some of Amsterdams many attractions, bars and cafes, cultural sites, and curiosities. This evening we'll have a focused all DUTCH beer tasting with a local expert. (B)
Saturday, October 20 - To Nijmegen, brewery visit, beer lunch
On the Beer Bus today, our private motor coach transportation for
the next couple days, as we travel to Nijmegen, The Netherlands'
oldest city. Upon arrival we'll visit the city's brewery, which
proudly limits its distribution to the immediate surroundings. We
will have the brew master show us around, learn about other beer-dervide
prducts and have a chance to taste all their fine beers with lunch
in their fine cafe. The evening is free to explore the city and
its several notable beer cafes. Overnight in Nijmegen.
Sunday, October 21 - To Brussels via Achel and Kerkom
Continue south this morning en route to Brussels. Along the way we will visit Achel and the excellent small brewery in St. Truiden - Kerkom, producer of the Bink family of beers. Late afternoon check-in to the hotel in the heart of Brussels. We'll take short walking tour en-route to our Cuisine a la Biere dinner. (B, L, D)
Monday, October 22 - AM Cantillon Tour, PM free
Cantillon's cob-webbed brewery awaits our exploration this morning as go to the source of true lambic. We will learn the finer points of production, tour the brewery, taste all their beers and enjoy a local lunch. The remainder of the day is free to explore Brussels. This evening we'll have an aged lambic tasting at Bier Circus. (B, L)
Tuesday, October 23 - Mystery Brewery Daytrip
We're keeping today open for a special event. We have a few plans in the works that can't be confirmed just yet, but we will know for sure by the time final itineraries are sent to trip participants. For now it is a mystery. Rest assured today will be a great opportunity to get a unique view of the brewing process of a fine Belgian Beer. (B, L)
Wednesday, October 24 - To Cologne, Kolsch crawl, Dinner
We take a morning Thalys train to Cologne where we will check-in and drop off our bags. This afternoon we will have a short walking tour of the old city, and some Kolsch Tasting in the Alt Stadt. This afternoon we have a Kolsch tour and seminar with a local guide. Tonight we'll enjoy a Traditional Local Dinner in local beer hall.(B, D)
Thursday, October 25 - Dusseldorf Daytrip
This morning we'll travel up the Rhine to Cologne's similar, rival city -- Dusseldorf, where we will visit an Alt brewery and learn the ins and outs of one of Germany's few ales. Enjoy a traditional lunch on your own. The afternoon is free to spend some time in an historic alt lodge or two (or six). Return to Cologne this evening. (B)
Friday, October 26 - Free day in Cologne
A full day to spend as you wish in one (or two) of Germany's great cities. The Dom, the old city, and many markets offer a wealth of options. Tonight we'll gather again for our Farewell Dinner, in one of Colognes fine Kolsch establishments. (B, D)
Saturday, October 27 - Return home
Alas, we must leave beer heaven. Our hotel is very close to the rail station for train transfers to Cologne, Dusseldorf, or Amsterdam for flights home. (B)
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!