The Ultimate Guide to Beer Tours in Europe

The Ultimate Guide to Beer Tours in Europe: From Belgium to Germany

Embarking on a beer tour in Europe is more than just a travel experience; it’s a journey into the heart of centuries-old brewing traditions, vibrant local cultures, and, of course, some of the finest beers in the world. 

The Ultimate Guide to Beer Tours in Europe

Whether you’re a seasoned beer enthusiast or a curious newcomer, this guide will help you explore the best beer tours from Belgium to Germany. 

Get ready to savor unique brews, visit historic breweries, and immerse yourself in the rich beer culture of these iconic countries.

Europe’s beer scene is as diverse as it is historic. 

From the monastic tranquility of Belgian Trappist breweries to the lively beer halls of Germany, there’s something for every taste. 

In this ultimate guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to plan an unforgettable beer tour. 

We’ll delve into the best times to visit, how to get around, must-visit breweries, unique beer styles, and even some personal stories and tips to enhance your adventure.

So grab your favorite pint, settle in, and let’s start planning your ultimate beer tour in Europe.

Why Europe for Beer Tours?

Overview of Europe’s Beer Culture and History

Europe’s beer culture is a rich tapestry woven with centuries of tradition, innovation, and regional diversity. 

It’s a continent where beer isn’t just a drink; it’s a part of the cultural fabric. 

From the medieval monasteries of Belgium to the beer gardens of Bavaria, the brewing traditions in Europe are deeply rooted in history.

Unique Brewing Traditions in Belgium and Germany

Belgium is known for its eclectic beer styles, many of which have been brewed for centuries. 

Europe's beer culture

The country is famous for its Trappist ales, which are brewed by monks in monasteries. These beers are often complex and strong, with flavors ranging from fruity and spicy to dark and rich. 

Belgian breweries also produce unique styles like lambics, which are spontaneously fermented and often aged for years.

Germany, on the other hand, is synonymous with lager beers

The country’s Reinheitsgebot, or Beer Purity Law, which dates back to 1516, mandated that beer could only be made from water, barley, and hops (later yeast was added to the list). 

This law influenced the brewing of clean, crisp beers like pilsners and lagers. Germany is also home to iconic beer festivals such as Oktoberfest, where you can experience traditional Bavarian beer culture in all its glory.

Brief Comparison of Beer Styles in Different European Countries

While Belgium and Germany are standout beer destinations, other European countries also boast rich beer traditions:

  • Czech Republic: Known for its pilsners, especially Pilsner Urquell, which set the standard for the style.
  • United Kingdom: Famous for its ales, including bitters, stouts, and porters. The pub culture is an integral part of the British beer experience.
  • Netherlands: Home to Heineken and a burgeoning craft beer scene with innovative brews.
  • Ireland: Renowned for its stouts, particularly Guinness, which is celebrated worldwide.

Understanding these regional differences helps you appreciate the diversity and depth of Europe’s beer offerings, making your tour more enriching and enjoyable.

Planning Your Beer Tour

When to Go

Choosing the right time for your beer tour is crucial to maximizing your experience. Here are some considerations to help you decide when to embark on your beer adventure:

Best Seasons for Beer Tours

  • Spring (April to June): The weather is mild, and the tourist crowds are smaller. Many breweries start their tour seasons, and the countryside blooms with flowers, making it a picturesque time to visit.
  • Summer (July to September): This is peak tourist season with warmer weather and numerous beer festivals. In Belgium, the Ghent Festival in July and the Brussels Summer Festival are highlights. Germany’s beer gardens are in full swing, offering a lively atmosphere.
  • Fall (October to November): A prime time to visit Germany for Oktoberfest in Munich, which runs from late September to the first weekend in October. The weather cools down, and autumn colors add to the charm of the countryside.
  • Winter (December to February): The colder months offer a different experience with cozy indoor beer tastings. Christmas markets in Germany, featuring seasonal beers and festive treats, provide a unique winter wonderland experience.

Highlight of Key Festivals

  • Oktoberfest (Munich, Germany): The world’s largest beer festival, attracting millions of visitors. It’s an essential stop for beer lovers, featuring traditional Bavarian beers, food, and music.
  • Belgian Beer Weekend (Brussels, Belgium): Held in September, this festival celebrates Belgian beer with a wide variety of brews from different regions, set against the backdrop of the historic Grand Place.
  • Carnival of Binche (Binche, Belgium): In February, this UNESCO-listed event features traditional beers and lively parades, offering a taste of Belgian culture and history.

How to Travel

Getting around efficiently can make or break your beer tour. Here are some tips on transportation and budgeting:

Tips on Transportation

  • Public Transit: Europe’s public transportation is excellent. Trains and buses can get you almost anywhere, and many cities have robust metro systems. Consider purchasing a Eurail Pass if you plan to travel extensively by train.
  • Car Rentals: Renting a car offers flexibility, especially when visiting remote breweries. Be sure to check local driving regulations and parking options. Remember that in some countries, cars drive on the left side of the road.
  • Bike Rentals: In cities like Amsterdam and Bruges, biking is a popular and convenient way to get around. Many breweries are accessible by bike paths.
  • Walking Tours: For city breweries, walking tours can be a fantastic way to explore local culture and history along the way.

Budgeting for Your Beer Tour

  • Accommodation: Look for deals on hotels, hostels, or Airbnb. Staying slightly outside city centers can save money.
  • Meals: Sampling local food is part of the experience. Budget for meals in local taverns and beer gardens. Don’t forget to try regional specialties.
  • Brewery Tours and Tastings: Many brewery tours charge an entrance fee that includes tastings. Some offer packages that combine multiple breweries.
  • Miscellaneous: Factor in costs for transportation, souvenirs, and unexpected expenses. It’s wise to have a buffer for spontaneous activities.

Top Beer Destinations in Belgium

Belgium is a beer lover’s paradise, renowned for its diversity of beer styles and historic brewing traditions.

Here are some of the top destinations and breweries you should include in your Belgian beer tour.


Brasserie Cantillon

Location: Brussels
Specialty: Lambic and Gueuze beers

Brasserie Cantillon is a must-visit for anyone interested in traditional Belgian brewing methods. 

Founded in 1900, this family-owned brewery specializes in lambic beers, which are spontaneously fermented using wild yeast. 

The tour offers a fascinating glimpse into the time-honored processes of brewing, aging, and blending lambic beers. 

Be sure to sample their Gueuze, a blend of young and old lambics, known for its complex, sour profile.

Delirium Café

Location: Brussels
Specialty: Extensive beer selection

Located in the heart of Brussels, Delirium Café is famous for its extensive beer list, boasting over 2,000 different beers from around the world. 

The café’s vibrant atmosphere makes it a perfect spot to sample a variety of Belgian beers, including the iconic Delirium Tremens, known for its strong, golden ale with fruity and spicy notes.


De Halve Maan Brewery

Location: Bruges
Specialty: Brugse Zot and Straffe Hendrik beers

De Halve Maan is one of the most picturesque breweries in Belgium, located in the medieval city of Bruges. 

The brewery tour includes a walk through the brewing process and a stunning view of Bruges from the rooftop. 

Their flagship beers, Brugse Zot and Straffe Hendrik, are essential tastings. 

The former is a blond ale with a slightly bitter finish, while the latter is a strong triple ale with rich, malty flavors.

Local Beer Spots and Recommendations

While in Bruges, don’t miss out on other local beer spots such as Café Rose Red, which offers a cozy ambiance and a great selection of Belgian beers, and ‘t Brugs Beertje, a charming pub with a wide range of local brews.

West Flanders

Westvleteren Brewery

Location: Westvleteren
Specialty: Trappist beers

Westvleteren Brewery, run by the monks of the St. Sixtus Abbey, produces some of the most sought-after beers in the world. 

The Westvleteren 12, a dark, strong ale, is often regarded as one of the best beers globally. 

Visits to the brewery are limited and must be booked in advance, but the effort is well worth it for a chance to taste these exceptional beers.

Visiting Trappist Breweries: What to Expect

Trappist breweries are unique in that they are operated by monks, and the proceeds support the monastic community and local charities. 

The atmosphere at these breweries is often serene and contemplative, offering a unique experience compared to more commercial breweries. 

Besides Westvleteren, consider visiting other Trappist breweries like Westmalle and Chimay, each offering distinct and flavorful beers.

Top Beer Destinations in Germany

Germany is synonymous with beer, thanks to its long-standing brewing traditions and renowned beer purity laws. 

From the bustling beer halls of Munich to the historic breweries of Freising, Germany offers an unparalleled beer touring experience. 

Here are the top destinations and breweries you should include in your German beer tour.



Location: Munich
Specialty: Traditional Bavarian beers

Hofbräuhaus is one of the most famous beer halls in the world. 

Founded in 1589, it offers a lively atmosphere where you can enjoy traditional Bavarian beers such as Hofbräu Original and Hofbräu Dunkel. 

The beer hall’s grand interior and outdoor beer garden provide the perfect setting for sampling their brews alongside classic German dishes like pretzels and sausages.

Local Beer Gardens and Breweries

  • Augustiner Bräustuben: Munich’s oldest privately-owned brewery, known for its rich and smooth lagers.
  • Paulaner Bräuhaus: Offers a range of traditional and seasonal beers, with a cozy beer garden perfect for relaxing on a sunny day.


Weihenstephan Brewery

Location: Freising
Specialty: Weissbier (wheat beer) and lagers

Weihenstephan Brewery, recognized as the world’s oldest brewery, dates back to 1040. 

The brewery’s rich history and dedication to quality make it a must-visit. 

Their flagship beer, Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, is a perfect example of a traditional Bavarian wheat beer, with notes of banana and clove. 

The brewery tour includes a detailed history of their brewing processes and a tasting session.

Brewery Tour Details and Must-Try Beers

  • Weihenstephaner Vitus: A strong wheat beer with fruity and spicy notes.
  • Weihenstephaner Original Helles: A light, refreshing lager with a mild hop bitterness.


Kölner Brauhaus

Location: Cologne
Specialty: Kölsch beer

Cologne is famous for its Kölsch, a light, crisp, and slightly fruity beer that is traditionally served in small, tall glasses known as stanges. 

Kölner Brauhaus offers an authentic experience with its local brews. 

Be sure to visit traditional Kölsch bars like Früh am Dom and Gaffel am Dom to taste this unique beer style.

Exploring Cologne’s Beer Culture

Cologne’s beer culture is deeply intertwined with its local identity. 

The city’s beer halls and pubs often feature rustic wooden interiors and lively atmospheres. 

The Kölsch convention dictates that this beer should be served fresh and cold, continuously brought to your table until you signal to stop.

Tips for a Successful Beer Tour

Embarking on a beer tour in Europe is an exciting adventure, but it requires careful planning to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. 

Here are some practical tips to help you make the most of your beer tour, from preparation to post-tour activities.


Research and Book in Advance

  • Research Breweries: Look up breweries you want to visit and check their tour schedules and availability.
  • Book Accommodation: Secure accommodations early, especially during peak tourist seasons and festivals.
  • Plan Transportation: Determine the best mode of transportation for your tour, whether it’s by train, car, or bike.

Packing Essentials

  • Comfortable Shoes: You’ll be doing a lot of walking, so pack comfortable shoes for brewery tours and exploring cities.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: Stay hydrated between beer tastings by carrying a refillable water bottle.
  • Beer Journal: Keep track of your favorite beers, breweries, and tasting notes in a beer journal.

During the Tour

Staying Hydrated and Pacing Yourself

  • Drink Water: Alternate between beer tastings with sips of water to stay hydrated and refreshed.
  • Know Your Limits: Pace yourself and avoid overindulging. Quality over quantity is key to enjoying the experience.

Enjoying Local Food

  • Sample Regional Cuisine: Pair your beer tastings with local dishes and specialties to enhance the flavors and experience.
  • Ask for Recommendations: Don’t hesitate to ask brewery staff or locals for food pairing suggestions—they’ll often have insider tips.

After the Tour

Bringing Back Beer Souvenirs

  • Purchase Beer to Take Home: Many breweries offer bottles or cans of their beers for purchase. Stock up on your favorites to enjoy later or share with friends.
  • Beer Merchandise: Consider buying brewery merchandise like glasses, coasters, or shirts as souvenirs of your beer tour experience.

Sharing Your Experiences

  • Social Media: Share photos and stories from your beer tour on social media to inspire others and document your journey.
  • Write Reviews: Leave reviews and recommendations for breweries you visited on platforms like Google Maps or Yelp to help other beer enthusiasts.


A beer tour in Europe is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich history, culture, and flavors of the continent’s brewing traditions. 

By following these tips, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on a memorable and rewarding beer adventure. Cheers to unforgettable experiences and delicious brews!


What countries and cities are typically included on a European beer tour?

The Ultimate Beer Tour visits the top beer destinations in Europe, including Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic, and more. Specific cities toured include Bruges, Cologne, Heidelberg, Bamberg, Prague, and Munich.

What types of brewery tours and beer tastings are included?

The Ultimate Beer Tour includes tours of large and small breweries, some run by monks and some by craft brewers. You’ll sample unique and delicious beers at each stop. The tour also includes a Belgian beer lesson with tasting.

Is food included on the tour?

Yes, the Ultimate Beer Tour includes all breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 5 dinners. You’ll enjoy mouthwatering local cuisine paired with the beers you sample.

What other activities and sights are included besides beer?

In addition to brewery tours, the Ultimate Beer Tour includes plenty of art, architecture, history, and culture. You’ll visit sites like the Bruges Belfort, Cologne Cathedral, Heidelberg Castle, Prague Castle, and more.

What is the group size like?

The Ultimate Beer Tour has a small group size, with an average of 12 travelers. This allows for a more intimate and personalized experience.