Orval 2010 @ Kulminator

I returned from Europe 4 weeks ago and I’ll be going back in 4 weeks. This is the fastest turnaround between Euro-Trips ever. Earlier this year, I was at this cross-roads between attending the Alvinne Craft Beer Festival or Tour de Gueuze. Why not both?

It took some planning and a very strong US Dollar along with some travel points I’ve been saving up to make this trip work oh and shout-out to my very flexible boss who allowed two holidays 2 months apart. Here’s the plan for this trip:

  • May 1st, Depart Boston in the afternoon
  • May 2nd, 8:35 Arrive in Brussels, Rental Car, Hotel and then start my Saturday beer buying day
    • Cantillon
    • 3 Fonteinen
    • Bierhalle Deconinck
    • Lunch @ DHVL
    • Head to Tilquin Guezerie for their English Beer Festival.
      • The Kernel Brewery, Thornbridge Brewery, Burning Sky Brewery. Siren Craft Brew, Magic Rock Brewing, Brew By Numbers, Partizan Brewing, Brasserie Du Mont Salève (FR), Brasserie Artisanale de Rulles (B)
    • Back to Brussels, hit Moeder Lambic Fontaines and then get a good evening of rest.
  • May 3rd: Big day!
    • Hit Cafe Grote Dorst @ 9:30 AM to be there at opening (a Sunday Belgian tradition my last 2 years)
    • Tour de Geuze!  (Order below but likely to change since I have a car)
      • De Troch
      • Timmermans
      • 3 Fonteinen (May Skip if time doesn’t allow)
      • Oud Beersel
      • Hanssens
      • Boon
    • Dinner somewhere, no plans yet for that evening
  • May 4th: Travel to Champagne, France. Visiting 2-3 Wineries with Cellar/Cave Tours, Tastings
  • May 5th: More Wine Tours, lots of buying and tasting many Champagnes from some of my favorite vinters
  • May 6th: Drop off Beer & Champagne with Kurt from Belgium in a box, Fly to Stockholm (7:20PM Arrival). Enjoy the sights and hit some bars
  • May 7th: Full day in Stockholm, Akkurat and other breweries, taste beers, eat Nordic food, enjoy life.
  • May 8th: 8AM flight to Helsinki, hit two bars which have some special beers only available there, have a big dinner of more Nordic Cuisine
  • May 9th: Arrive in Copenhagen at 5:30PM
    • Relae Restaurant for the 3rd year in a row (I’ve eaten here twice each of the last 2 years and can’t wait to go again.
    • Mikkeller Bar (Original + & Friends)
    • Bourbon Bar (which I will not name because I don’t want people finding out about it)
  • May 10th: 10AM, leave Copenhagen to Frankfurt then back home in Boston by 3PM local time.
It’s going to be an insane trip. 7 Flights, 10 days, 6 different countries and a lot of beer-rating. If there’s ever been a trip that exemplifies the insanity I have for this hobby, the trip outlined above would be it. There’s a lot of aspects of this trip I’ve done before like May 2nd and May 9th are repeats of many past trips. The time in Champagne, Helsinki, Stockholm and Tour de Gueuze will all be firsts for me. I regretted not going to the last event in 2013 and after Night of the Great Thirst in 2014, HORALs does a great job of getting everyone together. I’m also happy that I visited De Cam Lambic Blender in March because they are not participating in the tour this year.
The great thing about this trip, is it will be another surprisingly cheap trip. 7 different flights end up being a combined $1050 USD. Hotel, food and Champagne tours are another $1000 USD. Then there’s whatever I spend on beer. I already have Euro and SEK currency for the trip so basically, it’s all paid for except for the car rental in BE/FR.
As always, I’m up for saying hello to people that read this blog and might be around during these travels. Let’s meet and have a beer!