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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 Brussels, Bruges, Watou, and Ghent. We will visit over a dozen breweries, abbeys, beer restaurants, and beer museums and your Hosts will show you some of our favorite off-the-beaten-path Beer Cafés and restaurants and introduce 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
  • Explore the country of Belgium without worrying about driving or the train schedule
  • Taste new beers at the beer cafe Brugs Beertje, which has over 300 beers on tap
  • Experience Belgian cuisine, including locally-made cheeses & chocolates at Laurent Gerbaud
  • Visit breweries such as Brewery De Halve Maan and brewing abbeys such as St. Sixtus Abbey
  • Stay in unique accommodations including a B&B attached to the St. Bernardus Brewery
  • Extend your stay after the tour and enjoy the Brussels’ Beer Fest (August 24 -25)
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Tour Details

Tour Details

  • Location: Belgium
  • Next Tour Date: August 18 – 24, 2019
  • Trip Price Per Person: $3,300
  • Optional single supplement: $900
  • Host: Yannick de Cocquéau
  • Meals:  Breakfasts & dinners included (lunches are specifically left on your own on this tour to give you the freedom to wander through the many towns we visit)
  • 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
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Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Brussels & Ghent

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 on the road to one of our favorite cities in all of Europe, Ghent.

We’ll check into our hotel and set out to enjoy a tour and tasting 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.

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, including 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.

We then head to a festive welcome dinner featuring local fare.

Day 2: Ghent

After a leisurely breakfast, we’ll head out on a walking tour of Ghent led by our guide, Yannick, who calls this great city his home. You will learn about the city’s history, architecture, culture, and of course, it’s beer heritage.

You’ll then be set loose to grab lunch on your own, perhaps at one of the many cafes along the water.

We’ll then reconvene to drive Brewery De Ryck, located in the small town of Herzele, for our first brewery tour of the trip. Brewery De Ryck is a 4th generation family-owned brewery whose current brewmaster, Anne De Ryck, is one of Belgium’s first (and few) female brewmasters.

Tonight we dine at a cozy restaurant tucked away along the river serving traditional Belgian cuisine with Italian and French influences.

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.

Tonight, our delightful beer-paired welcome dinner is 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!

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

Day 4: Bruges, Poperinge, & Roeselare

Rodenbach Brewery

Today we begin with a walking tour of this grand city taking in the historical and architectural sights.

We’ll end with an educational brewery tour and our own blending session at 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.

Next, we drive to ‘t Hoppecruyt, a family-run farm that has been growing hops since 1893. We’ll stop in for a lesson in hops as well as a lovely picnic lunch made of local ingredients.

After lunch, we 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 is one of the only places in the world where you can buy these highly sought after beers.

Then, we’ll head to 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.

We then continue on our way with a lovely scenic drive through the varied, wooded landscapes, hop fields, and hilly roads as we head for Ypres, a charming historic town for some free time before heading to another delicious beer-focused dinner.

Day 5: Ypres & Watou

Our first 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.

During our stop, 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.

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: Brussels

Belgium Beer Tour - Cantillon

This morning we’ll enjoy a lovely breakfast in the conservatory at the St. Bernardus B&B before hitting the road to our final destination on our incredible Belgian beer journey, Brussels.

Our first stop, Brasserie 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.

After, we’ll check into our hotel and head out for a walk around this beautiful city, visiting ancient sites including Europe’s most impressive plaza, The Grand Place.

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 our final evening together.

Day 7

Belgium Beer Tour

On our final morning, we’ll have breakfast in the hotel and head out for one last tasting, not of beer but of chocolate! We’ll taste arguably the world’s best chocolate at Laurent Gerbaud.

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. We planned this year’s tour to end on the first day of the Brussels’ Beer Fest – definitely worth checking out as it is very inexpensive (5 euros per day) and the two-day festival’s motto is “Only friends, only craft, only independent breweries.  No place for industrial beer!”

Beer Highlights

  • Brewery De Ryck – Herzele
  • Malheur – Ghent
  • Dok Brewing Co. – Ghent
  • 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
  • Cantillon – Brussels
  • Moeder Lambic – Brussels
  • Restobieres – Brussels

As is with every Taste Vacation tour, the attention to detail is incredible. Everything from ensuring that participants have enough wine, tasting spectacular wines, visiting exclusive wineries, dining on great food, touring beautiful vineyards, plenty of activities to keep us busy, and enjoying unique restaurants is covered.

Elizabeth & Jake

I was concerned about the limitations of being on a guided tour as well as having to spend the entire time with a group of strangers. What I found was that the tours were extremely well planned and the accommodations, meals, wine tastings, and activities were perfect! And at the end of the trip, the people that began the tour not knowing each other, parted as a group of forever friends planning another adventure together with Taste Vacations.

Alice T.

Tour Accommodations

NH Collection Brussels Centre

  • Nights 1 & 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.
  • Nights 3: Hotel Acacia – Located in the historic center of the city (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and in the middle of all the action.
  • Nights 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.
  • Night 5: 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?
  • Night 6: 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.

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
  • All Scheduled Activities and Brewery Visits
  • Beers During Organized Tastings
  • Professional Tour Host

Not Included: Travel to and from destination, 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 late morning on our final day. You can easily take a return train to Bruges or wherever your next adventure lies!

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