A European vacation should mean plenty of opportunities to relax with a drink. This could be a pint of a deep ale in an English pub, a dram of whiskey in the heart of Ireland or Scotland or something unusual in a trendy continental bar. Those that consider themselves connoisseurs of beer and ale will also enjoy the chance to visit a brewery. The following five European brewery tours are some of the lesser known options. Each country has its famous sites and tourist traps, but the following offer something a little different. Often this means a less crowded tour, more time to enjoy a tasting session and a cheaper cost. Take a look at these lesser-known options for an alternative trip this year.
5 Lesser Known European Brewery Tours
Rostocker – Germany
There are plenty of reasons to take a cultural trip to Germany. Some are drawn to the art and architecture of the major cities. Others come for the world-class dining experience and authentic cuisine. Beer plays a large part in that. Rostock lies on the coast of Germany to the far north and is home to one of the more popular brands of German beer. They have made Rostocker beer here since 1878 and the town is proud of this heritage. The brewery tours are a great chance to learn more about the process and the history of the ale. There are also tasters to enjoy on site. The 90-minute tour is in German, but that shouldn’t stop international visitors from enjoying the interactive experience. It is also surprisingly affordable at just 8 euros.
Budvar – Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is among the top countries that we think of when discussing European beer. But, the Budvar brewery is a great experience for beer-lovers on Eastern European brewery tours. České Budějovice is home to the Budweiser Budvar Brewery and provides something quite different. This tour is a great chance to learn more about this drink and its history. Visitors can enjoy the multimedia tour then settle to a great traditional Czech meal in the Beerhouse.
Smithwick’s Experience – Ireland
The most well-known brewery in Ireland is probably the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. There are lots of Irish beers and The Smithwick brewery tours are a great choice, if you visit Kilkenny. Smithwick lies within the ancient city of Kilkenny, along its “Medieval Mile”. The tours are fairly short, at just an hour, but this is just the right amount of time to learn about the process and sample a complimentary pint of ale before visiting other Kilkenny attractions. This also makes it a great addition to a larger historical tour of the area. Start at one end of the Medieval Mile and reward yourself with a refreshing drink at the end.
Fuller’s – the UK
The UK is pretty good at celebrating local beers and new breweries. Food markets are full of interesting start-ups with a twist on a pale ale. However, sometimes you just can’t beat a classic like a pint of Fuller’s beer. The Fuller’s experience is ideal for international tourists because it draws on its British history and is easily accessible in the heart of London. The Griffon Brewery lies right beside the River Thames and provides a full tour and tasting session for just £20. There is also the opportunity to sample a pint and some hearty pub-grub in the nearby Mason Arms. This is a great afternoon’s excursion for those that want a true taste of London.
Leffe – Belgium
Finally, there is Leffe in Belgium. Again, there are other names that come to mind first when thinking about Belgian beer – Stella Artois for example. But, the Stella brewery tours can’t match the unique experience of Leffe. Maison Leffe isn’t like your typical European brewery tours with its industrial storehouses and barrels. Instead, visitors get to sample beer and learn about the brewing process within the grand rooms of an ancient monastery. This trip is as much about the location, with its stunning views of the Dinant river, as it is the beer itself. Guests can explore at their own pace, via interactive exhibits, and even learn a little about food pairing.