It’s unfortunate that I’m a creature of habit because I am carving out an almost exact repeat of last year’s trip for my holiday in Europe. As I visit Belgium for probably the 5th or 6th time (lost count), this trip will be the best one yet because instead of hopping around at various bars and drinking whatever is on tap, I’m actually going to pay visit to my favorite breweries and attend a few beer-centric events. While my time in Copenhagen last year was fun but not worth revisiting, I am in fact going back to Denmark again this year. I thought of visiting Sweden, Ireland, Scotland or Greece but the timing of Copenhagen Beer Celebration (CBC) has me revisiting this great country.

This is also my first international travel without the purpose of work but that isn’t keeping me from working 3 days in our Ghent Belgium office while traveling. There are teams I need to meet up with and I enjoy taking a break from trying new beers to actually get some work done.

This was last year’s schedule:

  • February 22nd: BOS – Brussels
  • February 23rd & 24th: Brussels (Touring Cantillon & 3 Fonteinen and drinking with fellow RateBeer Users)
  • February 26th: (Day trip to Amsterdam for work meetings)
  • February 25th – 28th: Gent (Work, a Gueuze tasting on Monday and another Gueuze tasting on Thursday)
  • March 1st: Antwerp (Drinks with Kurt from Belgium in a box along with other RateBeer users, visiting Kulminator again)
  • March 2nd: (Day-Trip with Kurt, Private Tour @ Tilquin, De Molen, De Dolle, Fantome? Lots of ideas and getting in touch with brewers now. Also packing up my beer with Kurt to send back to USA)
  • March 3rd: Fly to Copenhagen via Brussels
  • March 3rd – 6th: Copenhagen with a potential day-trip to Stockholm (Mikkeller bar, RateBeer meet ups, tastings, some in person trades and sightseeing)
  • March 6th: Fly back to Boston

This year’s trip is very similar with events and stops kind of like last year:

  • April 24th: BOS – Brussels via Montreal
  • April 25th: Visit Cantillon and Drie Fonteinen and hopefully De Cam or Tilquin and a hopeful trip to Fantome if Dany accepts (I have a rental car this time)
  • April 25th: Night of the Great Thirst Lambic / Gueuze event which happens every 2 years
  • April 26th: Zythos Beer Festival
  • April 27th: More exploration of the Flanders region of Belgium…hoping to also visit St. Sixtus Abbey
  • April 27th: De Heeren Lambic Cafe for early dinner
  • April 28th – 30th: Work at Ghent office
  • April 28th: Visit to Glengarry that monday evening
  • April 29th: Beer Tasting with Mathieu from RateBeer
  • April 30th: Beer tasting with Tim, Eugene and maybe Dylan from RateBeer
  • May 1st: Visit to Cantillon for their 2014 Quintessence
  • May 1st: Visit to Antwerp to meet Kurt from Belgium in a Box for our annual Beer drop off / drinks at Kulminator! Kurt is a great guy and fun to hang out with.
  • May 1st: Arrive at midnight in Copenhagen after a 90 minute flight
  • May 2nd: 10AM Session at Copenhagen Beer Celebration
  • May 2nd – 4th: Beers around Copenhagen with new and old friends, various CBC Events
  • May 4th: Flight home to Boston that evening and resting on Monday the 5th at home

This is a total of 11 full days of activities. Primarily for this trip, I want to explore breweries more and share drinks with the friends and traders I’ve met via RateBeer and there are quite a few of them. The cost of this trip will be quite affordable at around $2,000 and that includes the festivals and daily drinking with strangers.

As usual, if any of the readers of this blog want to meet up just send me a note and we’ll do so. The goal on this trip isn’t to collect a lot of new beer ratings but to drink quality stuff that I enjoy with some new rates thrown in. If a bar has Cantillon Kriek on cask, I’m ordering that. Also meeting up with breweries that I haven’t visited before and seeing the new Mikkeller bar in Copenhagen. These will be a lot of fun.