Mini Trappist Tour
seven days, six nights | one DEPARTURE A YEAR
• March 11-17, 2017
We all have a little monk in us looking for happiness and there’s no quicker way to happiness than enjoying an authentic Trappist Beer. There’s an epic mystique surrounding these beers and their euphoric qualities.
Trappist beer has a mythic hold on people. And with good reason, the monks have spent in some cases hundreds of years perfecting these beers so you can experience their monastic magic. Now is the time to see where the monk magic happens and to enjoy these beers fresh from the source. Learn about the Cistercian order of the monks, see the exterior of the cloistered abbeys, feel the terroir and enjoy the taprooms of four of these fabled abbies. On this tour you will visit the St. Sixtus Abbey of Westvleteren, the Abbey of Westmalle, the Abbey of Mary Refuge, home of Zundert Trappist ale and the Abbey of Koenigshoeven, home of La Trappe ales in Tilburg, Netherlands. At LaTrappe, you will have first-hand access to the brewery with a detailed tour in English. We will also visit Het Anker, Averbode Abbey, Priory Corsendonk (Hotel), Scheldebrouwerij, Van Steenberge, Siphon and De Halve Maan. You’ll overnight in Tilburg, Netherlands, Turnhout, Belgium and Bruges. This tour starts in Mechelen and ends in Bruges. Come for the beer, stay for the spirituality and this unique rite of passage every Belgian beer enthusiast should have the pleasure to enjoy.
- Six nights accommodations in nice, friendly, centrally-located hotels often in the old town section of the city.
- All breakfasts, three lunches and two dinners with gratuities.
- Beer during brewery tours, taproom visits, festivals and company meals as listed on the itinerary.
- Ground transportation via private luxury coach with professional driver. Leave the driving to us!
- Professional and courteous BBM! guide services.
- All tours and admissions.
- An instant group of interesting and fun, beer-loving friends you haven’t met yet.
- Guaranteed tour price the moment submit your deposit.
- Plenty of unstructured free time to relax, shop and explore on your own.
- Custom BBM! name badges.
- Souvenir BBM! luggage tags
- One souvenir BBM! soft-sided cooler per household.
- Flexibility in the event you need to transfer or cancel your tour.
- Airport transfers.
- Some meals and beer on your own.
- Free-time sightseeing. Our guides are available to provide suggestions.
- Fine Print: You are responsible for the costs of your free-time sightseeing. Be sure to read our Terms & Conditions Agreement for important details.
- Gratuities, at your discretion, for brewery tour guides and coach drivers.
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Deadline to sign up is one month before departure.
$1595/per person + Air, $325 single supplement*
* Prices based on double room occupancy. If you are a solo traveler and would like to have a private room all to yourself there is a single supplement fee of $325 in addition to the base price of $1595 per person. We can also work with you to pair you with other single travelers to avoid the single supplement. Better yet, recruit a friend to come, too! Unless, of course, like Rick Steves says, you prefer to “snore alone.”
Also consider The Backroads of Belgium Tour, Mar. 3-11, 2017, which precedes this tour. Backroads of Belgium and Mini Trappist Tour Combo Package Tour of Belgium March 3-17, 2017. Cost is $3490 per person based on double occupancy. There is a single supplement of $675 if requesting a single room or traveling alone. Tour deposit* is $400 per person.
We require a minimum number of guests for each tour to be guaranteed to go, so it’s important to sign up ASAP, as opposed to waiting until the deadline. Also, tours can fill rapidly and suddenly, so signing up early ensures that you will go and not be disappointed.
Please share BBM! tours with fellow Belgian beer enthusiasts, your friends in general, and encourage them to join the fun!
map of overnight locations
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Combine mini trappist tour with Backroads of Belgium Tour
March 3-17, 2017 - Backroads of Belgium & Mini Trappist Tour Combo Package
Belgium is full of historic, fascinating and proud cities that want to share their stories with you. The Backroads of Belgium Tour will take you to the Meuse River Valley and get personal with the cities of Liege, Namur, Huy and Tournai. When you combine this with The Mini Trappist Tour, you will learn about the Cistercian order of the monks, see the exterior of the cloistered abbeys, feel the terroir and enjoy the taprooms of four of these fabled abbies. On this tour you will visit the St. Sixtus Abbey of Westvleteren, the Abbey of Westmalle, the Abbey of Mary Refuge, home of Zundert Trappist ale and the Abbey of Koenigshoeven, home of La Trappe ales in Tilburg, Netherlands. Whew! 15 days of Belgium culture, countryside, beer and history... did I mention two beer festivals and FOUR Trappist Abbeys?
Cost is $3490 per person based on double occupancy. There is a single supplement of $675 if requesting a single room or traveling alone. You save $100/person when combining these tours!
Mini Trappist Tour Itinerary
This tour begins in Mechelen and ends at our hotel in Bruges. We plan to visit at least 10 brewery locations, and or taprooms, featuring prominently the four Trappist ones: LaTrappe, Zundert, Westmalle and Westvleteren. We will also visit Het Anker, Averbode Abbey, Priory Corsendonk (Hotel), Scheldebrouwerij, Van Steenberge, Siphon and De Halve Maan. We’ll overnight in Tilburg, Netherlands, Turnhout, Belgium and Bruges. Included are all brewery visits, museum visits, hotels, ground transportation, all breakfasts, three lunches and two dinners. Beer is included during group meals and brewery tours, but not informal pub crawls or café visits. The tour does not include airfare or airport transfers.
Day One • Tilburg, Netherlands Our spiritual beer journey begins in the historic town of Mechelen, located halfway between Brussels and Antwerp. We’ll meet at the Het Anker Brewery Café, where we’ll have our first company lunch and tasting. Here, you’ll be able to sample the entire line of Gouden Carolus beers and others made by this 5th-general family-run business headed by Charles Leclef. Het Anker is a member of the Belgian Family Brewers. To be a member the brewery must have been brewing continuously for more than 50 years, family-owned, and sell each beer under only one name.
Next we head north to the Trappist Abbey of Koenigshoeven in Tilburg, Netherlands, where we will have an in depth tour of Trappist Abbey LaTrappe brewery, followed by a tasting and dinner in their taproom sporting a thatched roof. Afterward, we’ll check into our hotel in downtown Tilburg and the evening is free to explore this vibrant Dutch city. Take this opportunity to seek out some fine artisanal beers brewed in the Netherlands. (Lunch & Dinner)
Day Two • Turnhout Morning is free to enjoy one of the best breakfasts in Europe. Be prepared to be amazed. Afterward, we head south back into Belgium for a lunch on your own at the Norbertine Abbey of Averbode (Est. 1134), home of the sought-after Averbode ale (7.5% ABV), a beer in a league of its own, but approaching a strong blond ale/tripel in flavor and appearance. We’ll be able to visit the abbey grounds, gift shop and taproom called “Het Moment,” which is the only place you can get their Momentum ale (5.7% ABV), brewed on location in a small brewery. Their flagship beer, Averbode, is produced by Huyghe brewery, brewers of Delirium Tremens.
After lunch, we’ll head to our home for the next two nights, Turnhout, Belgium, and the Priory Corsendonk, a former medieval convent (est. 1394), with breathtaking arched ceilings and a grand Chapter Hall. It is most famously known as the namesake of Corsendonk Belgian ales. This is indeed a unique and special opportunity to sleep in the former home of the monks. Not many beer travelers can say they’ve done this before. Could this be the beginning of your discernment? Smile.
On a fascinating side note, Turnhout is known for the playing card industry. It is the home of the world’s largest manufacturer of cards and the National Playing Card Museum, which we will visit this afternoon. Deal us in!
Afteward, it’s off to the famous Trappist Abbey Westmalle, known for their tripel, which is the benchmark for the style. They also make a delicious dubbel, which goes great with their house specialty, the beef stoofvlees (beef stew) Their third beer, only available at the taproom of the abbey is Westmalle Extra, at only 4.8% ABV, it is the beer of the monks (patersbier) and through some special connections we are able to sample it. We’ll be able to view the exterior of the abbey and the brewery. We’ll have a company dinner and a tasting at the taproom across from the abbey.
Later this evening, we’ll gather at the oldest beer café in Turnhout called de Penge. (Breakfast & Dinner)
Day Three • Turnhout Morning is free to explore Turnhout. Later morning we’ll venture north back into the Netherlands to visit the Trappist Abbey of Zundert (aka, Maria Toevlucht Abbey), where we’ll be able to see the exterior grounds of the abbey and the brewery. You’ll experience the tranquil beauty and serenity of this forested location, surrounded by bucolic farmland. Just down the road, we’ll have a tasting of Trappist Zundert and a gourmet company lunch at one of my favorite cafes in the Netherlands. Zundert’s brewery, established in 2013, is one of the newer Trappist brewers.
Just a short distance away and over the Belgian border, we’ll make our next stop for a tour and tasting at the Scheldebrouwerij, home of many fine beers, which may be new to you. This brewery has its roots in the Netherlands, but it’s physical home just inside Belgium. It has been brewing since 1994.
Dinner and the evening is free in Turnhout. Later, we’ll gather at Den Spytighen Duvel (Mournful Devil) beer café to experience their old-world atmosphere and sizable beer list. (Breakfast & Lunch)
Day Four • Ghent Today we say farewell Priory Corsendonk and make our way to Brewery Van Steenberge for a tour of their new brewery and taproom, Bar Baptiste. The taproom name is a nod to the brewery’s founder Jean Baptiste De Bruin, who in 1874 established what is now Brewery Van Steenberge. This has been a monumental expansion for this family-run brewery under the leadership of our friend Jef Versele, seventh generation. Van Steenberge is the home of Gulden Draak, Piraat, St. Stefanus (Augustijn in Belgium) and other amazing beers. Everyone will leave happy from this visit. No exceptions.
Just a short drive down the road puts us in historic Ghent, where we’ll spend the night. We’ll get checked into our hotel, have a short walking tour, then dinner is on your own in one of Ghent’s many seductive and romantic restaurants. Later this evening at 8 p.m., we’ll meet for an optional informal tour of some of my favorite beer cafes and genever bars in Ghent. (Breakfast)
Day Five • Bruges Morning is free to sleep in, explore, to buy some famous Ghent mustard, or perhaps tour the Gravenstein Castle and Torture Museum. Late morning we’ll depart for a company lunch and tasting at more-than-famous Trappist Westvleteren taproom, just across the street from the Abbey of Sixtus, as it is more formally known. This is kind of a big deal in the mind of any true Belgian beer lover and is one of the wow moments of the tour. You’ll be part of a very small fraternity within a fraternity of people who have ever visited these sacred and hallowed grounds to have this magnificent beer right at the source. Afterward, we’ll head about an hour to romantic Bruges, our home for the final two nights of the tour. We’ll get checked into our centrally-located hotel, have a short walking tour to give you the lay of the land, then you’ll be on your own for dinner. This evening, we’ll do an optional short walking tour of some of the best beer cafés in Bruges, of which there are many. (Breakfast & Lunch)
Day Six • Morning is free to explore Bruges. Lunch is on your own. I suggest the taproom for De Halve Maan Brewery, where the beer and food is excellent. After lunch, we gather for a tour and tasting this afternoon at Siphon Brewing, just outside of Bruges. This is one of Belgium’s newest breweries. It is attached to a famous restaurant of the same name, Siphon, which refers to the confluence of two canals. Be prepared to be delighted by their beers. Weather, fitness level of the group and interest level permitting, we’ll ride bikes out to the brewery along the scenic Napoleon canal. Dinner and evening are on your own in Bruges. Your tour leader is available for suggestions on the many great places from which to choose.
Day Seven • Bruges Breakfast concludes this grand Mini Trappist Tour. Rail service between Bruges and the Brussels airport (BRU) is frequent and takes about one hour. This is the quickest and easiest route to BRU avoiding the infamous Brussels traffic.
*This itinerary is subject to change.
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