Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => Beer Travel => Topic started by: skee1080 on August 17, 2010, 09:16:02 am

Title: Trip to Belgium in February
Post by: skee1080 on August 17, 2010, 09:16:02 am
I'm planning a trip to Belgium with a friend in February (yes, I know it'll be cold, but it's the only time we can both go, and I imagine flights might be cheaper too).  We don't have any plans as of yet; we're looking to spend about 7-9 days there.  I'm looking for suggestions on how to organize our trip, places we should/shouldn't go, etc.  If anyone has an itinerary that they used that worked well, that would be great as well.  I know this is pretty open-ended...I'm just looking for whatever information I can get!  The trip will certainly be beer focused, but we do want to see other non-beer related things as well.  Suggestions?  Thanks!
Title: Re: Trip to Belgium in February
Post by: gordonstrong on August 17, 2010, 09:34:35 am
This thread http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=2651.0 (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=2651.0) has a lot of Belgium recommendations.  Read that first, and ask more.

Basically, your question is too open-ended to be answered directly. Can you narrow down your interests, where you'll be flying to, how you intend to get around, whether you want to see breweries or just drink, what kinds of Belgian beers you like, etc.?
Title: Re: Trip to Belgium in February
Post by: skee1080 on August 17, 2010, 09:46:59 am
We plan on flying in and out of Brussels...not sure how we plan on getting around (I was hoping for suggestions on that as well).  I'm definitely looking to visit breweries and doing some tours (as opposed to just drinking)--I'm realy interested in brewing history and would love to see some historic sites.  In terms of types of Belgian beers I like, I like them all, but I'm partial to Dubbels, Saisons, and Lambics.  From talking with other people, I'd think I'd like to definitely explore Brussels, Bruges, and Ghent (and stuff along the way).
Title: Re: Trip to Belgium in February
Post by: flapjack on August 17, 2010, 10:11:19 am
I was in Brussels about 5 years ago. I would suggest starting in Grande Place, have dinner & beers in the square, visit the row of chocolate shops and then branch out from there. Don't forget to stop and check out Manneken Pis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manneken_Pis

I did not visit the following but heard good things:

Delirium Cafe

LA MORT SUBITE (The Sudden Death): (Warmoesberg/Montagne Aux Herbes Potagères)

The Brewery Museum (Grote Markt 10, Grand'Place, 1000 Brussels) (mixed reviews)
Title: Re: Trip to Belgium in February
Post by: theoman on August 17, 2010, 01:37:16 pm
Yep, read through the forum a bit. There's another good thread here:

Title: Re: Trip to Belgium in February
Post by: MDixon on August 17, 2010, 03:26:01 pm
If all you really care about is Brussels, Brugges, Ghent and perhaps Antwerpen then use the train. One key is to go 1st class when you have bags and skip it when you don't. It is nearly impossible to get your bags stowed properly anywhere other than 1st IME. Once I return home I can provide some train info for those cities. I got quite good at reading the schedules and knowing when to change trains. A key would be to try and stay within close proximity of the stations everywhere but Brugges. It's easy to do that in Brussels, Ghent and Antwerpen.
Title: Re: Trip to Belgium in February
Post by: belgiumking on August 17, 2010, 06:47:28 pm
I'm a yearly traveler to Belgium and might be able to give you some pointers. Visit belgiumking.com and reply to the link there after reviewing the site. It covers each province and tells about cultural sites as well as the beer culture. Due to a problem with my server, the site is about a year outdated, but still valid. I can help with specific questions as well. Personally, I think taking the train stinks. It's hell to pass pay great little towns and not be able to stop. As long as you don't over do it, driving offers so many more possibilities.
Title: Re: Trip to Belgium in February
Post by: MDixon on August 18, 2010, 06:09:11 am
Jim does have a point if you want to explore the countryside. At his suggestion we went to an open house at both Rodenbach and at Palm. Rodenbach was a piece of cake, less than 5 min walk from the station. Palm was over 3 miles of walking and it was hot. However it all depends on what you are after. IMO if all you want is the major cities and bars then take the train.
Title: Re: Trip to Belgium in February
Post by: marty on August 18, 2010, 07:38:14 am
flights will be cheaper, the 'cold' depends on where you live, the weather in Europe isn't that bad compared to a lot of the US

I'm from New England, and having traveled through Europe (Germany, Netherlands, England, Switzerland) in November and December, it's downright balmy over there, so if you're from a New England or worse climate you won't even notice it
Title: Re: Trip to Belgium in February
Post by: phillamb168 on August 18, 2010, 08:56:31 am

I live just south of Paris (it's so lonely for a homebrewer here!) and can tell you that although the weather is not as "numerically" cold as it is in the states, it's the humidity that will get you. 25 degrees F with a LOT of humiidity means no matter how many layers you put on, the cold gets you to the bone.

That being said, you will be drinking beer most of the time, so you'll be fine.

Pro tip: If offered a chance to visit Léon de Bruxelles for Moules Frites, politely decline. Make sure to try to visit La Bécasse and Chez Moeder Lambic. Let me know if you plan to drop by Paris, I'll show you around the (few) brewpubs we've got here.
Title: Re: Trip to Belgium in February
Post by: Dan on August 18, 2010, 12:41:38 pm
Since you're flying in and out of Brussels, I'd book all your lodging in Brussels and just take day trips via the trains to the other cities that your looking to travel to. For locations that have poor or no train service, rent a car for the day. We ended up renting a car for the week but ended up taking the train because getting around the major cities was slow and a tad stressful. If you are going to drive, I'd suggest picking up a good street map and taking a pause to plan your route before driving. Roads change names frequently and they're listed in both French and Flemmish.