Since the first Crusades the Church allowed abbeys to brew and distribute beer as a fundraising method. Trappist monks carry on those deep traditions today with their dark, sweet, complex ales while Belgian craft brewers create their own rich brewing history by experimenting with modern beer flavors.

Throughout this beautiful country we will visit many of these breweries, new and old, to learn more about the people, their history, and the beers they brew. We’ll also visit several of Belgium’s renowned Beer Cafés along the way, all the while enjoying what might come as a surprise to some – delicious food that blends traditions and mixes the multiple cultures in Belgium.

Life is short and so it makes sense to maximize your time in Belgium. This seven-day vacation does just that. We tour much of the country, staying in four different cities and villages including Ghent, Bruges, Ypres, Watou, and Brussels. We will visit over a dozen breweries, abbeys, and beer restaurants, and your Hosts will show you some of our favorite off-the-beaten-path Beer Cafés  while introducing you to some of our favorite people in Belgium’s beer culture.

Related Blog Posts:

10 Best Hidden Gem Beer Bars in Flanders, Belgium
Know Before You Go: The Do’s and Don’ts of a Beer Tour
7 Must-Trys When Visiting Belgium

Unique Experiences

  • Join our small group public tour or create your own private group with a minimum of only 6 people
  • Take private, custom brewery tours with our local brewer and beer guide, Yannick
  • Explore the country of Belgium without worrying about driving or the train schedule
  • Experience Belgian cuisine, including locally-made cheeses & chocolates at Laurent Gerbaud
  • Visit breweries such as Brasserie Cantillon and brewing abbeys such as St. Sixtus Abbey
  • Stay in unique accommodations including a B&B attached to the St. Bernardus Brewery
  • Enjoy the Popperinge Hop Festival (September 18 – 20)
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Tour Details

Tour Details

  • Location: Belgium
  • Next Tour Date: September 14 – 20, 2020
  • Trip Price Per Person: $3,300
  • Optional single supplement: $900
  • Host: Yannick de Cocquéau
  • Meals:  Breakfasts & dinners included, except one dinner on Day 4 (lunches are specifically left on your own on this tour, unless otherwise indicated, to give you the freedom to wander through the many towns we visit)
  • Tour Group Size: 6 – 12 guests
  • General Tour FAQs

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Private Tour Option

  • Private Tours are available to book with your own group on any date you choose, given guide and lodging availability
  • Trip Price: $3,300 per person ($900 single suppl.)
  • Minimum: 6 people
  • Customizations to the above itinerary possible with additional per person fees
Plan a Private Tour

Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Brussels

Ghent Belgium

Welcome to Belgium! Home of delicious fries, waffles, and of course, beer!

Our adventure starts at 1:00 PM, allowing you to arrive in Brussels this morning or the day before (which we highly recommend). After a quick orientation, we head out to our first brewery of the tour, the legendary  Brasserie Cantillon! Cantillon is known for using natural yeasts that are present in the air around us for fermentation and is one of only two lambic breweries still in operation that produces nothing but authentic, unsweetened, unfiltered, unpasteurized lambic.

This evening we’ll enjoy a farewell dinner of Belgium’s classic food specialties and beer cuisine at Restobières, not far from The Grand Place.

To cap off the night, we’ll stop into Moeder Lambic to see if we can taste one of their rare beers as well as check out a few of Brussel’s world-famous beer cafes to raise a toast to the start of our beer adventure.

Day 2: Oudenaarde & Ghent

After breakfast, we’ll head on the road to one of our favorite cities in all of Europe, Ghent. On our way there, we’ll stop in the town of Mater to visit our friend Johan at the tiny Smisje Brewery. Smisje is one of the smallest existing craft breweries in Belgium serving up some memorable beers, many with a prominent use of honey.

We’ll enjoy a nice, casual barbeque lunch at Smisje, allowing time to truly get to know the brewer and ask any beer questions that you may have.

We’ll then continue on to Ghent which just so happens to be the home city of our trusty beer guide, Yannick. We’ll go from one of the smallest breweries in Belgium to one of the oldest family-owned breweries in Belgium, Brouwerij Roman. Established by Joos Roman in the year 1545, Brouwerij Roman is now being run by the family’s 15th generation! We’ll learn all about their history while on a tour of their facilities, followed by a tasting of their beers.

After, we’ll check into our hotel, drop off our luggage, and set out to take in the city’s history, architecture, culture, and of course, it’s beer heritage, all on a lively walking tour.  We’ll end our walk at at one of the newest breweries in Ghent, Dok Brewing Co, where they love to try out new styles and flavors, all while keeping their proud Belgian beer tradition in mind. We’ll take a tour of their brewery, enjoy a beer tasting, and sit down to indulge in a delicious dinner.

One of the best ways to taste the wide variety of beers available in Belgium is in beer cafes (bars) and there are several outstanding beer cafes for us to explore in Ghent. One such beer cafe that you might want to visit after dinner is the historic Herberg De Dullie Griet just off one of the oldest squares in the city. When you order a beer here, they take one of your shoes and hoist it in a basket to the ceiling! You’ll get your shoe back when you return the glass.

Day 3: Bruges

Bruges, Belgium

This morning we’ll check out of our hotel and get on our way to the city of Bruges. Bruges is known for its rich history, impressive architecture, tasty food, and great beer cafés.

We start our exploration of Bruges by whetting everyone’s whistle with a visit and tasting of Brouwerij Fort Lapin, a rather new brewery named after the fortress built in 1664 to protect Bruges’ commercial hub. We’ll chat with the brewer and founder, Kristof Vandenbussche, an outspoken entrepreneur from the area. Kristof had been brewing as a hobby for ten years before taking the final step from beer lover to professional.

You’ll then have a chance to walk through the fairy tale streets of Bruges and grab lunch on your own at one of the last remaining family-owned breweries in the Bruges city center, Brewery De Halve Maan.  You may have heard about the new 2-mile beer pipeline they recently built leading from their brewery in the city center to their bottling plant in an industrial area. The pipeline carries 1,500 gallons of beer an hour at 12 mph, which has saved them hundreds of truck trips a year. When you see the narrow, historic streets of Bruges, you will wonder how the tankers ever made their way through originally!

After lunch, we’re in for a treat! We’ll experience a special private tour of Bourgogne des Flandres. Bourgogne des Flandres specializes in the Flemish beer blending tradition of mixing fresh beer with aged beer to create a perfect balance of flavors. It also happens to be the “home brewery” of our guide and brewer, Yannick.

For those who are interested on stopping on our way back to the hotel, we can make our way to t’ Brugs Beertje where we’ll have the choice of 300+ Belgian beers. These beers include commercial brands, seasonal varieties, and unique and hard-to-find brews.

Tonights dinner is at a local restaurant specializing in ribs and a wide range of Belgian beers.

Day 4: West Flanders

Rodenbach Brewery

After checking out of our hotel and loading up our luggage, we start our day with a tour and tasting at the Rodenbach Brewery, where they have world-renowned cask halls with 294 oak casks, some of which are 150 years old. Rodenbach has a rich history that extends back to 1821. We’ll have a chance to taste their well-known barrel-aged sour beers that are brewed in the Flemish red style.

Our next stop is a sobering but powerful visit to the Tyne Cot WWI cemetery and memorial. With nearly 12,000 buried soldiers, this memorial is the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the world, for any war. It is beautifully kept and serves as a solemn reminder of not only Belgium’s but the world’s history.

The WWI Battle of Ypres had reduced the town to rubble and was almost entirely destroyed.  After the war, the citizens of Ypres meticulously reconstructed the town’s most important buildings, which in turn give it modern day medieval feel today.

After, we’ll check out a newer brewery that opened in 2014 but is housed in a building with quite a bit of history. Kazematten‘s building was originally built as part of Louis XIV’s fortress back in the 1680s and used for storing weapons into the 20th century. We’ll get to taste their Grotten Sante, a spicy dark brown beer, and their Wiper Times 14, a highly fermented blond beer, along with a simple but hearty lunch.

After lunch, we’ll check into our hotel in the heart of Ypres. You then have the evening free to explore as well as grab dinner on your own.

Day 5: Ypres & Watou

This morning, we’ll pack up our things and make our way through fields of wheat, barley, and hops to arrive In de Vrede at St. Sixtus Abbey, a fully functioning abbey where the monks are world-famous for producing fantastic Westvletren Belgian-style beers. This used to be one of the only places in the world where you could buy these highly sought after beers. Though the monks have made the beer available for sale online, it doesn’t take away from experiencing the abbey firsthand. We’ll have time to stop in for a few beers and lunch on your own.

After lunch, we pack up and drive to St. Bernardus Brewery in Watou.  This is also where we will be staying overnight as they have a quaint B&B attached to the brewery. St. Bernardus historically brewed the beer for the Sint Sixtus Abbey but they parted ways in 1992. Since then they’ve retained the recipes, including the famous Westvleteren 12 (called St. Bernardus Abt 12), which RateBeer awarded “Best Beer in the World” in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012, and 2013.

We have some time to relax before enjoying a delicious dinner at the Hommelhof, known for its beer-based heavenly cuisine.

Day 6: Poperinge

Poperinge Hop Field Belgium Beer Tour

This morning we’ll enjoy a lovely breakfast in the conservatory at the St. Bernardus B&B before heading to ‘t Hoppecruyt, a family-run farm that has been growing hops since 1893. We’ll stop in for a lesson in hops and a tour of their fields – you might even get to see the harvesters in action!

After, we’ll make our way to the Beer & Hop Festival in Popperinge.  This festival is held every three years so you are in for a special treat!

All beers served at the festival must be “Belgian Hop” certified, meaning the beer must be made from at least 50% Belgian hops. The vast majority of the beers on the list used 100% hops from the Poperinge region in their beers.

We’ll enjoy not only the beers at the festival but the delectable local cuisine. A number of local chefs set up in the exhibition space in the city’s main square to showcase the rich food culture of Poperinge and the surrounding area. Addtionally, local bakeries, chocolateries, and dairy farms, also offer their goods, most of which have a special offering for the festival related in some way to hops.  As we nibble and sip our local fare, we’ll also take in the local live music and traditional dance exhibitions.

Day 7: Poperinge & Brussels

Poperinge Beer and Hop Festival

On our final morning, we’ll enjoy one of the most memorable part of the Beer & Hop Festival – the Hop Parade! The parade tells the history of the development of the hop industry in the area and provides a four-seasons overview of the various activities in the field.

After the parade, we’ll pack up our things and hit the road back to Brussels. You are then free to continue on your travels (perhaps via high-speed train to Paris, London, or Amsterdam) or extend your stay in Brussels.

Beer Highlights

  • Cantillon – Brussels
  • Moeder Lambic – Brussels
  • Restobieres – Brussels
  • Dok Brewing Co. – Ghent
  • Smisje Brewery – Mater
  • Brouwerij Roman – Mater
  • Brouwerij Fort Lapin – Bruges
  • Bourgogne des Flandres – Bruges
  • Brewery De Halve Maan – Bruges
  • t’ Brugs Beertje – Bruges
  • Rodenbach Brewery – Roeselare
  • Kazematten – Ypres
  • St Bernardus Brewery – Watou
  • In de Vrede at St. Sixtus Abbey (Westvelteren) – Watou
  • Hommelhof – Watou

*Please note updates to the outlined itinerary may occur due to changes in availability of breweries and to accommodate new opportunities that arise.

We had a wonderful time experiencing Belgium's beer culture. This is absolutely a must do bucket list trip for any beer enthusiast.

Cara

It was great. Thought we got way more than our money's worth with the amount of food & drinks included in the tour. It makes me want to use Taste Vacations for our next trip.

Tour Accommodations

NH Collection Brussels Centre

  • Night 1: NH Collection Brussels Centre – Ou hotel for our final night has been freshly renovated and located in the heart of historic Brussels.  We are a kilometer from the central train station and less than half a kilometer from Grand-Place, the central square of Brussels.
  • Night 2: Hotel Harmony – Perfectly located along the riverfront in the heart of the historical City Center of Ghent, our hotel for the next two nights offer well appointed yet comfortable accommodations.
  • Night 3: Hotel Acacia – Located in the historic center of the Bruges (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and in the middle of all the action.
  • Night 4: New Regina Hotel – In the heart of quaint Ypres, this brand new hotel has a view of the iconic Cloth Hall and is only steps away from the historic Menin Gate.
  • Nights 5 &6: St.Bernardus – Attached to the St. Bernardus Brewery, this charming B&B is located just outside of Watou town center. Though the accommodations are quite simple, what could be more fun than staying the night in a brewery?

Please note: Hotels are subject to availability.  If listed hotel is not available at time of tour, a hotel that is equal or better to the original will be secured.

What is Included

  • All Local Transportation
  • Double Occupancy Lodging
  • Breakfasts and dinners, except one dinner on Day 4
  • All Scheduled Activities and Brewery Visits
  • Beers During Organized Tastings
  • Professional Tour Host

Not Included: Travel to and from destination, most lunches unless otherwise indicated, beer with meals, personal expenses, and optional gratuities to local staff and your Host. Travel insurance is also not included, though we highly recommend it.  Check out our Travel Insurance page for more information.

While the general trip itinerary will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common — restaurants close or lose their amazing chef, a winery changes their visiting hours, a hotel gets remodeled, etc. You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so it is possible we may take the liberty of making necessary changes to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience. If there is any one experience that is going to make or break your trip, please discuss this with us in advance.

Arrival & Departure

We meet in the early afternoon in Brussels, allowing you to arrive that morning or on a prior day as you wish. Getting to our meeting place at the NH Collection Brussels Centre hotel in Brussels from the airport or train station is easy and we will provide complete information in your Pre-Departure Packet.

Our adventure ends in Brussels mid afternoon on our final day. You can extend your stay in Brussels, hop on a flight back home, or easily take a return train wherever your next adventure lies!

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