Summer Beer Tour of Belgium
seven days, six nights. | One DEPARTURE A YEAR
• June 14-20, 2020
Belgium is an amazing country on many levels: Beer, food, history, chocolate, tapestries, lace, cheese and people. The focus here, of course, is the beer from this greatest brewing nation in the world. What makes Belgian beer so special? Taste and variety. Belgium produces more than 1200 different beers. Not just different, but eventful ones from more than 150 breweries. All within a country you can traverse in about three hours. Now is your opportunity to experience the magic of Belgium!
The tour begins in the lobby of our hotel in Bruges and ends at our hotel in Leuven. We plan to visit at least 4 brewery locations, and or taprooms, featuring, Trappist Westvleteren, Halve Maan, Trappist Chimay (New addition to tour) and Brasserie Caracole. Other highlights include, Bruges, Leuven, Bastogne and the Bastogne WWII Museum, Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917, Tyne Cot Cemetery & Visitor Center and the Abbey of Chimay, aka, Abbey de Scourmont. We will be staying in Bruges, Mont and Leuven.
Photos from the Tour
Seven nights accommodations in nice, friendly, centrally-located hotels often in the old town section of the city and some in bucolic rural settings.
All breakfasts, three lunches and three 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.
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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.
$1995/per person + Air, $450 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 $450 in addition to the base price of $1995 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.”
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 destinations & overnight locations
SOME OF THE BREWERIES AND ATTRACTIONS WE HAVE VISITED ON THIS TOUR IN THE PAST:
Halve Maan Brewery and Museum
Brasserie Val De Sambre
The Bier Temple
Bastogne WWII Museum
Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917
Tyne Cot Cemetery & Visitor Center
Oud Markt in Leuven
“Longest Bar in Europe”
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SUMMER BEER TOUR OF BELGIUM ITINERARY ‘19
Day One, Sun., June 9 • Bruges – This morning at 10 a.m. we meet in the lobby of our hotel in Bruges. We’ll have a short meet & greet, and then have a tour and a company lunch at the Halve Maan Brewery & Museum. They are the brewers of Zot and Straffe Hendrik. After lunch, we’ll take a canal boat ride and learn more about the history of Bruges. This afternoon and evening, you’ll have some more free time to take in the many sites of Bruges. Rent a bike, take a carriage ride, visit museums, or just people watch, while savoring a Belgian beer in a sidewalk café.
At 4 p.m., we’ll meet in the lobby for our Welcome Bottleshare followed by a company dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Bruges. After dinner, you’ll have a quick tour to show you three great beer cafes to visit on your own. Also, looking for the best chocolates in Bruges? Look no further than, Olivier’s Chocolates. (Lunch #1 & Dinner #1)
Day Two, Mon., June 10 • Bruges -- This morning we catch a train to Ostend with its huge beach and nature is a major destination for Belgians in the summer, especially on the weekends. Friday afternoon traffic jams are common all the way from Brussels to the seashore and the trains are packed with vacationers. Today, you’ll have a special day trip with Karin Van Acker, a friend and regional guide, in a 1974 vintage VW bus. Visit her website at Toppezot Van Bier to learn more. You’ll visit the new Jus de Mer Brewery, and visit some other points of interest in and near the North Sea coastal town of Middelkerke, taste some beers along the way and enjoy lunch on your own of homemade spaghetti at one of Karin’s favorite cafes.
Afterward, we’ll take the train back to Bruges. You are on your own for dinner. Later this evening you are encouraged to visit on your own some of the many cozy beer cafés (Breakfast)
Day Three, Tues., June 11 • Bruges -- Morning is free until 9:30, when we meet in the lobby to travel by our van to two WWI historic sites: Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 and Tyne Cot Cemetery & Visitor Center. Afterward, we visit nearby Westvleteren, home of Trappist Westvleteren beers and the Abbey of St. Sixtus, and its brewery tap, “In de Vrede" (In the Peace), for a late company lunch and to indulge in their famous, exquisite and rare beers. The abbey and brewery are not open to the general public, however, we will be able to see the exterior and if we are lucky, buy some beer to go in their gift shop. You’ll be able to order lunch a la carte at the cafe. This is a late lunch, so pack a snack if you need one. Afterward, we return to romantic Bruges, where you’ll have the afternoon and evening to explore the cobblestoned streets. Dinner is on your own in one of Bruges many romantic and rustic restaurants. (Breakfast & lunch #2)
Day Four, Wed., June 12 • Mont -- Today we check out and depart for the Ardennes Mountains and Chimay, where you will have lunch on your own at their taproom called Auberge de Poteaupre. The company buys the beer. For beer, I suggest the “Beer Tree” with four small sampler glasses of the four Chimay beers. If that seems like too much, split one. The “Beer Tree” makes for a great photo opportunity.
Afterward, you’ll visit the grounds of Abbey of Chimay, aka, Abbey de Scourmont. Then you’ll travel about 2 hours to the rural farm village of Mont (Northwest of Bastogne and just west of Houffalize). You’ll spend one night at the historic La Vieille Forge Inn. Dinner will be in their outdoor dining room or if weather is not conducive inside their cozy dining room, built in the former horse stable. You’ll enjoy a home-cooked company dinner prepared by your hosts Tine and Pol. After dinner, Pol will open his Aux Grand Cafe, the taproom of his nano brewery Inter-Pol, the “smallest brewery” in Belgium. Pol’s house beers are a Wit (Witte Pol) and Milk Stout (Zwarte Pol). This cafe is the cutest little man/woman cave you have ever seen. (Breakfast & Dinner #2)
Day Five, Thur., June 13 • Leuven -- This morning we check out and head to Jack’s Woods, aka, Boise Jacques and the U.S. Airborne memorial, near Foy, Belgium. This forest was where the famous battle took place that was depicted in Band of Brothers. Afterward, we’ll continue to tour the Bastogne WWII Museum, where we’ll learn more about the Battle of the Bulge, known in Belgium as the Battle of the Ardennes. You’ll have about 2 hours to tour the museum and the Mardasson Memorial next to it.
Next, we have a late lunch and a beer tasting at the Abbey of Maredsous. It’s a magnificent visit set in an absolutely beautiful location. Everyone leaves happy. So, if you are hungry, you may have a snack at the nice cafe of the Bastogne Museum before we depart. Maredsous has a blond, double and a tripel. All excellent abbey beers, brewed by Duvel Moortgat in Breendonk. They have a nice beer garden, so if they weather is good, you may dine outside. You are on your own for lunch, but the company buys the beers here. You’ll get a paddle of all three beers along with some cheese from the Abbey. After lunch, you’ll have time to visit the attractive Abbey grounds and the chapel. There is also a nice gift shop next to the cafe.
Then it’s on to, about one hour, the historic university town of Leuven. Evening and dinner are on your own in Leuven, our home for the next two nights. You may get a map of Leuven from the front desk or better yet, download a Google Maps to your phone. You can search restaurants nearby and get walking direction. There are some restaurants near your hotel and the railway station. Leuven has a vibrant nightlife. Get your second wind and venture out. (Breakfast)
Day Six, Fri., June 14 • Leuven -- Today is a free day in the historic university town of Leuven. In the morning, at 10 a.m., we take an optional walking tour to give you some history and the lay of the land. Leuven is a large, but very quaint city, where you can easily walk to most everything. Watch out for bicycles. There are lots of beer cafés and ample nightlife. Leuven boasts the “Longest Bar in Europe” with its Oud Markt (Old Market square) that has at least 34 bars around its perimeter. Check out the “meter” of beer you can order there and try one if you dare. Or perhaps try the new Capital beer cafe, boasting the largest selection of beers in the world with more than 2,000! This evening at 6 p.m., we gather in the lobby to walk to our farewell dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, where we’ll enjoy the company of our new friends and recall our favorite memories of the tour. The restaurant serves traditional Flemish cooking. Try the stoemp, a large serving of mash potatoes with herbs and vegetables and garnished with two of the largest strips of mouth-watering bacon you’ve ever seen. Or, maybe indulge in the waterzooi, another traditional Flemish dish. If it’s nice outside, you may sit on the terrace. (Breakfast & dinner #3)
Day Seven, Sat., June 15 -- Breakfast concludes this most memorable and satisfying Summer Beer Tour of Belgium. Rail service between Leuven and the Brussels International Airport (BRU) is frequent via a 15-minute ride. Buy your tickets in advance at the station, or on the Belgian Railway app, then just hop on the train this morning. This is the quickest and easiest route to BRU avoiding the infamous Brussels traffic. (Breakfast)
* This itinerary is subject to change
Summer Beer Tour of Belgium Itinerary '17
Day One • Bruges The tour begins in the lobby of our hotel in Bruges at 12 noon. In the summer, Belgians flock to the scenic coast. You'll see why. This afternoon, we’ll board a train, enjoy some welcome beers on board and take a day trip to the North Sea coastal city of Ostend, where we’ll experience the fascinating and thought-provoking Marvin Gaye Walking Tour. Few people know that Marvin Gaye spent 18 months living in Belgium, where he wrote his famous Midnight Love album. Whether you are a fan, or not, you’ll find this walking tour fascinating and emotional. The walking tour includes an audio guide with narration and music. Think I Heard it Through the Grapevine as you stroll the scenic boardwalk of Belgium’s North Sea.
This excerpt from the Marvin Gaye Documentary Walking Tour website tells you more...
"As a washed-up, drug-haunted American soul-legend, where would you go to clean up, get fit and reconnect with your musical soul? Possibly not (for all its charms) Ostend in the grip of winter. But the ferry to Belgium's 'Queen of the Seaside' was exactly what US singer, Marvin Gaye, took one chilly February morning in 1981. Part refuge, part exile, those months in Ostend proved to be a fresh start for the silky-smooth voice of classics like 'Mercy, Mercy Me.' Ostend set him back on the road to success. But in a way, also on a sad slip back into his bad old ways – and then to an untimely death. So did Ostend save Marvin Gaye, or just press pause on his ultimate decline?"
After the walking tour, we’ll return by train to Bruges.
This tour offers the perfect mix of structured-time and free time. Tonight, we'll have our welcome dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, then the evening is free to explore Bruges many beer cafés. (Dinner #1)
Day Two • Bruges This morning, we board our coach to travel to two WWI historic sites: Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 and Tyne Cot Cemetery & Visitor Center. Afterward, we visit nearby Westvleteren, home of Trappist Westvleteren beers and the Abbey of St. Sixtus, and its brewery tap, “In de Vrede" (In the Peace), for lunch and to indulge in their famous, exquisite and rare beers. The abbey and brewery are not open to the general public, however, we will be able to see the exterior and if we are lucky, buy some beer to go in their gift shop. Afterward, we’ll return to romantic Bruges, where you’ll have the afternoon to explore the cobblestoned streets of Bruges. You are on your own for dinner. Later this evening we meet for an informal tour of some of the most interesting beer cafés in the city. (Breakfast & lunch #1)
Day Three • Bruges Morning is free. At 10:30 a.m., we meet in the lobby and take a short walking tour. Then, at 11 a.m. we tour the Halve Maan Brewery & Museum. They are the brewers of Zot and Straffe Hendrik. For lunch we will have a traditional Flemish Buffet, full of all kinds of interesting and tasty food, including beef tartare (try it, you’ll be surprised). After lunch, we’ll take a canal boat ride and learn more about the history of Bruges. This afternoon and evening, you’ll have some more free time to take in the many sites of Bruges. Rent a bike, take a carriage ride, visit museums, or just people watch, while savoring a Belgian beer in a sidewalk café. Dinner is on your own in one of Bruges many romantic and rustic restaurants. (Breakfast & lunch #2)
Day Four • Mont Today we depart for the Ardennes Mountains and the charming farm village of Mont, where we’ll stay at a charming, rustic stonehouse inn. On the way there, we’ll visit to Trappist Chimay for a tour of the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Scourmont grounds and the cemetery, followed by a beer tasting with Chimay cheese and a company lunch just around the corner at the Chimay brewery taproom Auberge de Poteaupre, featuring, of course, the entire lineup of Chimay ales. There is the Espace Chimay visitors center there, which you may visit on your own. We’ll enjoy a home-cooked company dinner and beers tonight at our inn. (Lunch #3 & Dinner #2)
Day Five • Leuven This morning we tour the Bastogne WWII Museum, where we’ll learn more about the Battle of the Bulge, known in Belgium as the Battle of the Ardennes. Lunch is on your own in Bastogne. This afternoon on our way to Leuven we visit Brasserie Caracole, the last wood-fired brewery in Belgium, to taste their very satisfying beers. Evening and dinner are on your own in Leuven, our home for the next two nights. (Breakfast)
Day Six • Leuven Today is a free day in the historic university town of Leuven. In the morning, we take an optional walking tour to give you some history and the lay of the land. Leuven is a large, but very quaint city, where you can easily walk to most everything. There are lots of beer cafés and much nightlife. Leuven boasts the “Longest Bar in Europe” with its Oud Markt (Old Market square) that has at least 34 bars around its perimeter. Check out the “meter” of beer you can order there and try one if you dare. Or perhaps try the new Capital beer cafe, boasting the largest selection of beers in the world with more than 2,000! This evening, we gather for our farewell dinner, where we’ll enjoy the company of our new friends and recall our favorite memories of the tour. (Breakfast & Dinner #3)
Day Seven • Leuven: Breakfast concludes this most memorable and satisfying tour of Belgium. It’s a quick 15 minute train ride from Leuven to the Brussels airport. (Breakfast)
* Itinerary subject to change.
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