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Jim Dykstra's picture

Editor's Pick: European Beer Tour Companies

european beer tour companies

Mesopotamia and China are renowned progenitors of brewing, but in terms of modern beer history, just about all roads can be traced back to Europe, where beer and its consumption were truly elevated to an artform.

England provides perfect pub culture with bitters and stouts to be quaffed by the mouthful, Belgium and France add lauded lambics, subtle saisons, farmhouse ales and Trappist tipples, and Germany’s contributions just about go without saying… gose and pils. Czech please.

Every beer drinker deserves to take a trip to Europe to imbibe its rich history and stunning array of brews, old and new. We’ve compiled a list of European Beer Tour Companies to help you get there.

Brewtopia Beer Excursions
Brewtopia Beer Excursions
You’d be hard pressed to find a more knowledgeable, passionate guide for your beer adventure than the mastermind behind Brewtopia, Owen Ogletree, a craft beer expert, world beer traveler, beer columnist and National-ranked BJCP Beer Judge. Through his guidance, you will come to see Europe for the utopian beer-drinking locale that it is. With over 30 years of beer travel behind him, Ogletree is totally tapped into how to maximize your trip while minimizing your expense.

Expect amazing deals on nice hotels and "backstage passes" to the best breweries, pubs and beer-centric restaurants, with fun and learning always on the forefront. As stated on its website, beer lovers who come along on these themed journeys tend to be like-minded, get along extremely well and enjoy getting to know each other over beer.

Trip prices include hotel room, charter bus and professional driver, other group ground transportation, a detailed schedule, at least one big group meal with beer each day, brewery tours, beer tastings, guided walks, free time to explore, and beer information from host Owen Ogletree. All you’ve got to do is book the plane ticket. Trips average around $1500 for destinations such as Oktoberfest and Bamberg, or this year’s sold-out Belgian Beer Blowout, which provides a thorough and thoroughly delicious slice of Belgian beer living.

Brewtopia only does about two or three group beer trips a year - this provides time for Ogletree to plan each one in great detail, and each trip requires a minimum of 15 participants, so early registration is encouraged.

Phone: (706) 254-BREW

European Beer Tours
European Beer Tours
Owned and operated by St. Louis beer lover David Burstein, European Beer Tours offers both regionally based beer tours for groups of 10-12 such as the upcoming Prague, Bamberg and Munich trip, as well as custom, private tours for groups of any size.

European Beer Tours trips are usually in the $2000-$3000 dollar range for an average of eight or nine days, but they include all accommodations in 3-to-4 star hotels, three meals a day, and all transportation and event ticketing. All tour guides are certified Cicerones and many are also BJCP judges, and unlike most tour services, you are provided a complimentary smart phone to use during tours, to help circumvent costly overseas prices from your carrier.

European Beer Tours operates around two to three of its public trips a year.

Phone: (314) 774-2337

Eat and Drink Like a European!
Eat and Drink Like a European!
Helmed by Craig Bresett from British Columbia, Canada, Eat and Drink Like a European! prides itself on minimal fine print and maximal value for each of its trips. The Ultimate Beer Tour, which is its most popular, covers Belgium, Germany and the Czech Republic over 11 nights for about $3200.

Tours include all hotels, almost all meals, all admissions and local tours as well as the company’s own charter bus, simplifying many typical travel-related concerns. Throughout the tour, Bresett peppers in history and anecdotes that enliven the experience, with a fine mix of museum and attractions between a hearty amount of beer imbibition and exploration.

Other trips are more location-specific, including The Very Best of Ireland, The Sacred Heart of Italy, and Hopscotch: Whiskey and Craft Beer Tour of Scotland.

Phone:  604-287-LIFE (5433)

Bon Beer Voyage
Bon Beer Voyage
Based in Florida, Bon Beer Voyage is owned and operated by travel professional team Ruth Berman and Mike Arra, both accredited travel agents with a host of other certifications ranging from Cicerone to Certified Tour Director.

This award-winning travel company specializes in small trips, both weekend and week-long, around the world. Unlike many beer travel companies, Bon Beer Voyage offers international experiences by boat, such as its Amsterdam to Bruges Beer Vacation, where you will disembark to either walk or ride by chartered vehicle to myriad beer havens including Westvleteren, La Trappe, De Mollen, De Dolle and De Struise, among many others.

Trips like this one average in the low to mid $3000s, with a maximum number of 25 guests, and include private tours and tastings, all accommodations and transportation aboard the barge and by automobile, museum and tour ticketing, along with some gourmet meals and cheese tastings, but not all.

Phone: 1-888-U-Go-Beer (888-846-2337)

Belgian Beer Me!
Belgian Beer Me!
As you might be able to guess, BBM, run by beer and Belgium expert Stu Stuart, specializes in tours of Belgium. Tours usually average 14 guests and run at a comfortable pace, which emphasizes quality of experience over quantity, with a dose of humor for good measure. Custom tours from this Michigan-based company are also available for groups of six or more.

The special focus on Belgium allows BBM to gain access to certain breweries and experiences that other tours may not be able to provide, and all tours will be relatively specific, lasting around a week on average. Examples include the eight day “Best Damn Farmhouse Ale” tour for $2,295, or the 10-day Lonely Monks Trappist for $2,995.

These prices will get you pretty much everything you need: three meals a day, accommodations, tickets for any event or travel during the trip. Professional brewers may qualify for a discount, and you will even get your own BBM swag!

Stu and his team of two other beer experts make it their mission to share the joy of Belgian beer and travel, making this a great choice for anyone who loves beer, Belgium or both.

Phone: 231-215-0173
Founded in 1998 by Mike Saxton, offers a more laissez-faire approach to guided travel. In their own words: “we believe that travel is akin to freedom, so our trips feature relaxed itineraries that allow plenty of time for exploration on your own. If you are going to travel across an ocean, the last thing you want is to be shuffled about trying to keep up with a packed itinerary.”

So, while their team of guides is comprised of knowledgeable brewmasters, beer writers and homebrewers, you’ll have a little more time to do your own thing. When not doing your own thing, your group of 8-15 will explore one or two regions or themes. Recent trips included Farmhouse Ales of Belgium and France or Real England and the Great British Beer Festival, both which hover in the mid-$3000 price range.

This price will cover travel, accommodation in 2 to 4 star hotels, all breakfasts and about half of your lunches and dinners, and all other ticketing and guided elements. Of course, it will also guarantee a new batch of beer-loving friends and brewery connections, an element of the experience this group emphasizes.

Phone: 406-531-9109

When deciding which European beer tour will best suit you, consider your needs from both a travel and beer drinker’s perspective. Are you looking to deeply experience a specific region or more broadly cover the continent? How large of a group are you comfortable traveling with, and what sort of budget have you allocated for your travels? Even the time you spend walking compared to driving can define your trip.

The best things you can do are to research, plan and prepare as much as possible so you know what to expect. The only thing worse than packing too little is packing way too much. That being said, the very nature of travel is to experience new and different things, many of which you might not have known to exist. You can never fully prepare in advance for these experiences, nor should you. Remaining flexible, relaxed and open to whatever life places in front of you will guarantee that no matter what, you have an enjoyable trip.

Remember, with any of these tour guides by your side, you’ve got someone in your corner who is knowledgeable, well-connected and focused on maximizing each element of your experience. Bon voyage!

Images Courtesy respective beer tour company


Toadman's picture
Check out the Thirsty Historians.
krakopedia's picture
... You forgot Poland... Walkative will provide you a good taste of tge beer revolution we are having in Poland.
Editorial Dept.'s picture
Hi Toadman and krakopedia, Thanks for the suggestions! There are many options for European Beer Tours, but we had to cut it down.

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