Belgium and France Beer Vacation Day by Day Itinerary
Please note that due to the fact that since this trip is often scheduled far in advance, some of our breweries and vendors are not able to confirm our visit so far out, so the itinerary is subject to change to accommodate their schedules. We will do our best to ensure that the final itinerary is as close to as what we have listed as possible… or better!
Saturday: Bruges, D
Today we start our beer tour by “drinking local” with the very entertaining tour and tasting at De Halve Maan Brewery. The view of Bruges from the rooftop here is pretty spectacular. Afterwards, you will have some free time to explore Europe’s most perfectly preserved medieval city before our welcome aboard dinner. After dinner, those of you ready for some beer hunting are invited to join Mike, your beer guide, in exploring some of the historic local pubs that Bruges is known for among the beer cognoscenti!
Sunday: Bruges – Deinze, B D
Relax and enjoy a morning sail before our coach picks us up and takes us to visit with Daniel Thiriez at Brasserie Thiriez in France. Daniel makes some fabulous Saison style beers and we are often treated to his latest creations long before they are available stateside. His tasting room will make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time to a place where you will want to stay awhile. If we are lucky, his wife Marielle, an artist who is as talented at painting as Daniel is at brewing, will show you her work in her atelier in the brewery.
This afternoon we will head out to Ypres where we will visit the fabulous interactive Flanders Fields Museum and have a guided walking tour through this historic town, which was of great importance during World War I.
After our moving visit to the Flanders Fields museum, we obviously will need a beer; so we’re off to visit one of Belgium’s smallest breweries –St. Canarus. “Dr. Canarus” is quite the character and his beers reflect that- from his tasty Tripel to the “Virgin of Gottem”-a blonde beer which has a single hopflower added to each bottle by hand!
Interesting side note: Brian Strumke of Stillwater Artisanal Ales, from here in the USA, has done collaboration beers with both of the brewers we visit today.
Dr. Canarus also has a beer called Pere Canard. Canard means duck in French, but is also a term used to mean drunk. No worries if you are feeling a bit ducky though, you are on beercation! After our visit to St. Canarus our coach will bring us back to the barge for dinner.
Monday: Deinze – Kortrijk, B L D
This morning we can relax and soak in the scenery as we sail with the barge through lunchtime. Then it’s off to drive through farmland and hop fields to St. Bernardus brewery for a tour and tasting of their world class beers!
More outstanding beer will follow after our trek through the hundreds of huge foeder barrels during our tour at Brouwerij Rodenbach in Roeselare. We will then be treated to a truly special event-a Candlelight Dinner in Between the Foeders – paired with Rodenbach, of course!
Tuesday: Kortrijk – Lille, Fr B D
This morning, you are in for a real treat as we tour the fascinating and historic working distillery, Wambrechies. Here they make genievre, (also spelled genever or jenever) which is a gin based liquor. They are also one of only 3 whiskey distillers in France. In addition, the company makes a beer which is made with genievre! (brewed in Belgium).
After our tour and -of course, tasting- we will explore Lille with a local guide. From the regal buildings in the Grande Place to historic Vieux Lille (the old city) you will be enchanted by the city often referred to as a “Little Paris”.
The rest of the afternoon is yours to enjoy lunch and explore; visit museums; or shop for everything from artwork to artisanal beer! (Yes, of course, we’ll give you a heads up on where to find the beer!) We’ll meet up later on to head back to the barge for dinner on board. This evening explore the nightlife in Lille on your own or join Mike to see what’s on tap at Lille’s #1 beer bar-La Capsule!
Wednesday: Lille, Fr– Douai, Fr BD
Today we spend the 1st half of the day in Belgium and then finish back in France.
In the morning we will have a privately guided visit of Poperinge’s Hops Museum. Afterwards, we’ll enjoy a taste of the local hommelbier and then have some time to wander through the main square in town before hopping(no pun intended) back onto our bus so we can head off to Beer Lover’s Mecca- Westvleteren! Here, at the In de Vrede Café, we will be able to sample some Westies. There is also a small gift shop where they sometimes have 6 packs available for purchase. If we are lucky, we’ll be taking home some nice souvenirs!
Last, but certainly not least, we will head to Brasserie St Germain in Aix-Noulette, France to see our friend Stephane Bogaert, who owns the brewery with his brother Vincent Bogaert and Herve Descamps. Their award winning beers go under the name Page 24, the story behind which you will hear when we visit. After touring their surprisingly modern brewery we’ll have a chance to taste their delicious beer in their tasting room, which is actually part-tasting room, part-museum, quite an interesting and fun to visit space!
Tonight we enjoy another delicious dinner onboard.
Thursday: Douai, Fr – Valenciennes, Fr B L D
Get ready for one truly amazing day! We’re off to Chimay, where they have been brewing their awesome Trappist beers for over 150 years! Today we will be treated like beer royalty as we have the opportunity to visit the brewery, abbey grounds & the Espace Chimay museum as well as taste some beers that you can only taste in Chimay! And, don’t forget the cheese tasting- Chimay makes some incredible cheeses as well…and since all of this touring works up an appetite, there will be a gourmet lunch as well!
After our all day visit at Chimay we’ll meet up with our barge in Valenciennes, France where we will enjoy dinner onboard.
Optional after dinner walk to downtown with beer guide, Mike.
Friday: Valenciennes – Doornik,Be (Tournai) B L D
This morning we visit some more of our French and Belgian brewing friends to tour their breweries and taste their offerings. And even if you don’t speak French, we’re sure you’re going to agree that their beers are magnifique!
Today we begin our day in French speaking Belgium with a visit to Brasserie de l’Abbaye Des Rocs. At Abbaye Des Rocs they have been brewing top rated beers since 1979. After a tour of this family run brewery and a tasting of their delicious beers in their charming tasting room, we will take a very short drive across the border into France. Here we will visit our friends Xavier and Alain Bailleux, a father and son team who make their award winning beers at Brasserie Au Baron. We’ll start with lunch at the restaurant Au Baron, located streamside in the quaint town of Gussignies, France. The restaurant is owned by (and attached to) Brasserie Au Baron (Bailleux). The food and beer you will experience at this family owned establishment is simply outstanding. The restaurant’s grill is even constructed from an old brewkettle! Of course, we’ll tour the brewery as well. At the time of our last visit, they were in the middle of expanding to keep up with the demand for their incredibly delicious beer, so we’re looking forward to seeing the new space!
After our adieus here, we will head back to our barge in France, for our Farewell dinner!
After dinner, anyone finished with their packing and in need of just “one more for the road” is welcome to join Mike for a walk into town for some final beer hunting!
Saturday: Doornik (Tournai) B
All good things must come to an end, so we bid you adieu after breakfast and say “A la prochain!” which loosely translates in French for “Until next time!”
Fla. Seller of Travel Ref. No. ST37640
Please Note: We’re continually looking for ways to improve our tours and we sometimes come across a special new pub or brewery since the itinerary was published that we’d like to share with you. Since our beer tours are planned far in advance, we may occasionally adjust the itinerary as necessary to accommodate our brewers ‘ schedules and provide you with the best trip possible! Since a minimum number of passengers are required in order to run each trip, we suggest you refrain from non-refundable air purchases until 2 months prior to your departure date or confirmation of sailing