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3 European tours de force

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Booking a European beer trip and schlepping all the way across the pond is headache enough; then once you’re there, you spend more time trying to locate that historic tavern on an unnamed cobblestone street than you do actually drinking there. But a few beer-smart travel companies take all the guesswork out of drinking your way through the Old Country and happily exploit their insider connections to ensure you sip beyond your hotel bar. In Britain, Beer Tours U.K. arranges custom treks through England and North Wales that begin in Chester and make stops at traditional beer makers like Robinson’s Unicorn Brewery, craft outfits like Thornbridge Brewery, historic sites and the countryside’s quaintest pubs. GrapeHops takes lovers of all things fermented to Italy and Spain on custom and group trips; in September, a tour of Italy’s Piedmont region includes pairing lunches at local breweries; outings to wineries, an olive oil maker and a cheesemaker; and a truffle hunt. This October, Bon Beer Voyage leads two weeklong beer treks to Europe: a cruise through the canals of Belgium and France that hits breweries like Chimay, Westvleteren and Rodenbach, and an Amsterdam-to-Bruges canal tour that stops at La Trappe. A beer chef aboard the boat handles the daily meals and beer pairings.


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