The Ale Trail

With pubs being closed for months and beer festivals across Europe cancelled for 2020, if like us you are hankering after some great craft beers then why not plan a blow out in 2021. During lockdown we’ve taken part in a number of great virtual beer events, but its just not the same as being amongst like minded people enjoying a pint.

We’ve found some great tours for 2021 which are sure to wet the appetite of any beer enthusiast.

BREW NEW ENGLAND – 13 NIGHT NEW ENGLAND BREWERIES TOUR

Quench your thirst and your appetite on this tastings tour of New England’s micro breweries and venues featuring favourite local fare!

You will visit Boston, the coastal villages of Bar Harbor and Cape Cod as well as the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont, have the chance to visit Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream factory and the Cider Mill at Cold Hollow.

Explore Jamaica Plain to tour and taste the finest beer in America, Samuel Adams. Samuel Adams Boston Lager® is an excellent example of the fundamentals of a great beer, offering a full, rich flavour that is both balanced and complex. While visiting the brewery, you may get the chance to taste some of Samuel Adams Specialty and hard to find beers such as Imperial Pilsner, Triple Bock, Millenium, and Utopias.

Tour the Redhook Ale Brewing Company. The first Redhook Ale was modelled after spicy Belgian ales and was affectionately referred to as “banana beer” because of its banana-like flavour. Eventually, Redhook starting making the beer that would become its flagship: ESB, styled after the “extra special bitters” familiar to British beer drinkers.

Try a Smuttynose Brew also brewed in Portsmouth. You might want to try its’ Old Brown Dog, cited as a classic example of the “American Brown Ale” style of beer. Or try Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale, their homage to the craft and heritage of America’s brewers.

There are many highlights to experience in Vermont, amongst which the Rock Art Brewery, and Magic Hat Brewing Co. At Rock Art Brewery, they’ll suggest the perfect food accompaniments for all the beers, from their Whitetail Ale to the Double Smoked Porter and Midnight Madness. Take a tour of the Magic Hat “Artifactory” and taste some of their ever changing beers on tap, many to suit the season.

Visit Cisco Brewers, not just a brewery boasting craft brews, it’s also the Triple Eight Distillery, serving up Triple Eight Vodkas, Hurricane Rum, Gale Force Gin and Notch (“not scotch” single malt whiskey) and it’s Nantucket Vineyards which offers a number of varietals.

Credit: Frontier America

MUNICH BEER NOT FESTIVAL

If the thought of being amongst thousands of revellers at the annual beer festival isn’t your cup of beer then why not take a long weekend outside the beer festival season.

Fly out to Munich for a 3 night stay and combine it with an exceptional brewery tour and evening at a traditional brauhaus.

Join a behind-the-scenes excursion to a Munich Brewery. Indulge in some of the finest amber ales known to man and learn how they are made in the city that claims to be the beer capital of the world!

With a rich heritage of breweries, beer gardens and beer festivals – are you spotting a theme yet? – Munich is known as the ‘city of beer’.

And what better way of getting to grips with this local passion than by exploring one of the local breweries? Go behind the scenes to see the fascinating production process in action.

Then listen closely as experienced master brewers provide you with fascinating information about the beer which is still brewed according to the original Bavarian ‘Order of Purity’, Europe‘s oldest food law.

After the guided tour, you are invited to enjoy a little snack and, of course, a beer sampler.

Pass by Munich’s beautifully illuminated monuments, fountains, and buildings on the way to the famous Hofbräuhaus where you will be treated to a Bavarian style evening with music, show and dinner.

This atmospheric tavern, situated in the heart of the city, is a must-visit for all visitors and the itinerary includes a mouth-watering meal of classic Germanic fare.

Appetites sated, you will be driven through the former artists’ quarter-Schwabing and on to the Olympic Grounds where you can ascend the Olympic Tower to enjoy the marvellous view of the city by night.

BEER & BATTLEFIELDS

If you are interested in history as well as Beer, why not combine a visit to battlefield sites from both WW1 and WW2 with visits to a selection of the best breweries, many of which were affected by the conflicts and whose beers were drunk by the troops.

This coach tour takes you to Ypres by coach and during the journey the tour guide will discuss beer recommendations.

Take a look at life behind the front and discuss the famous estaminets where soldiers got to drink the local beer themselves during the war. In Poperinghe you will visit Talbot House and their Behind the Lines museum. You will also look at the subject of those ‘Shot at Dawn’ and visit the Death Cells. Lunchtime in Poperinghe is followed by a visit to the Hop Museum to look at the whole history of this in the Flanders region, and enjoy a tasting of a Hommelbier. You then move on to see the St. Bernardus Brewery at Watou near Poperinghe, a village where soldiers were billeted in WW1.

Start at the Bierkasteel Van Honsebrouck at Kortrijk, then travel up to Diksmuide to see where the Belgium Army was fighting during the Great War and see the fascinating Trenches of Death which snaked along the Yser Canal: a place where two armies opposed each other over a short stretch of water. After lunch at Hooge Crater Café, with time to explore the museum, you then go into Ypres and visit the Kasematten Brewery in the ramparts close to where the Wipers Times was published in 1916.

No trip to the Belgian battlefields would be complete without visting the site of the Battle of Flanders in 1940 and the Retreat to Dunkirk following the fortunes of the British Expeditionary Force, including the Wormhoudt Massacre site. After lunch at St. Omer you visit the Brasserie Thiriez in Esquelbecq, a French brewery frequented in the ‘phoney war’ by British Troops.

Credit: Leger

If you are interested in any of these ideas then get in touch and we can make it happen.

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