Over the Pond: Belgium Bound with Ninkasi Brewing
Lodging: Hotel Bloom
Activities: We’ll meet in the afternoon for a city tour of beautiful Brussels. We will visit The Grand Place, taste world class Belgian chocolate and sample a great selection of craft beers from the area. This evening we’ll enjoy Belgium’s typical food specialties and beer cuisine at Restobières.
Lodging: Hotel Cosy
Activities: Today we travel to southwestern Belgium, a special region known as Wallonia. After lunch we’ll tour the impressive Abbaye and taste Orval from the tap at Orval L’ange gardien. From Orval we will travel to the historic town of Boullion and our accommodation on the bluff overlooking town.
Lodging: Hotel La Merveilleuse
Activities: The morning is yours to explore the town. After lunch we’ll travel to Brasserie Caracole for a tour and tasting. Next is the scenic river town of Dinant. You will have some free time to explore this village and the towering Citadelle de Dinant before returning to the convent for a tour of the Leffe Beer Museum and a special food & beer pairing.
Lodging: Het Anker
Activities: We start our day by visiting the Oud Beersel brewery where we learn all about lambic (fruit style) beers. We’ll then head to the small city of Mechelen to explore its historic streets and waterways.
Lodging: Hotel Harmony
Activities: Today we visit the village of Buggenhout, where we’ll visit Bosteels Deus Landtsheer Malheur, known for their traditional Champagne style beers. Then it is on to the historic city of Gent One of the best ways to taste the wide variety of beers available in Belgium is the Beer Cafes (bars) and there are several outstanding beer cafes for us to explore in Gent either before or after dinner, including the historic Herberg De Dullie Griet just off one of the oldest squares in the city.
Lodging: Hotel Prinsenhof
Activities: Today we will explore Watou, known as the Hoppeland region. We will visit the hops museum in Poperinge and the St. Sixtus Abbey where we will taste the world famous Westvletren Belgian style beers. After lunch, we travel to Roeselare to visit and taste at the impressive Rodenbach Brewery before traveling to Brugge (Bruges) and checking into our wonderful accommodation in the center of the old city. Dinner this evening is at Den Dijver, an absolute must when in Bruges.
Location: Departure Day
Activities: On our final morning we’ll take a historical walk of the city of Bruges. You are then free to continue on your travels - take a return train to Brussels, stay in Brugge for another day, or perhaps take the high-speed train to Paris, London or even Amsterdam!
Dates: September 16 - September 22, 2014
Trip Length: 7 Days & 6 Nights
Activities: Beer and Cultural Activities
“Payday came and with it beer.” – Rudyard Kipling
Since the first crusades the church allowed abbeys to brew and distribute beer as a fund raising method. Trappist monks carry on those deep traditions now with their dark, sweet, complex ales while Belgian craft brewers create their own rich brewing history and traditions by experimenting with other beer flavors.
About This Private Tour
Ninkasi Brewing and Zephyr Adventures have teamed up to offer a first-rate beer-lover’s trip to Belgium this September for friends, family, and fans of Ninkasi Brewing. Founding Brewer/Owner Jamie Floyd will join the group as your host on this weeklong beer adventure. Discover Belgium alongside Jamie as we tour Belgium together with Zephyr Adventure guides Sarah & Sacha, exploring six different Belgian cities and villages, and through over a dozen breweries, abbeys, and beer museums.
We will learn about the history, the people, and, of course, the beers that make Belgium a beer-lover’s paradise. With so many different styles old and new, the beer scene in Belgium is diverse. We will taste Red Ales, Brown Ales, Wheat Beers, Pilsners, double-fermented Lambics, Trappist beers still brewed by monks to this day, and everything in between. And we will travel from Brussels to the region of Wallonia, back up to the area known as Flanders, and then onto the city of Brugges.
Beer isn’t all that we are tasting on this trip: Belgium is also heralded as a country of spectacular food and we will enjoy many beer and food pairings at the evening dinner table as well as specialty Belgian chocolates and craft cheeses during the day. We also will leave you with a bit of free time each day enjoy some exploring on your own, generally at either lunch time or before dinner.
- Spending quality beer time in Belgium with Ninkasi Founding Brewer/Owner Jamie Floyd: touring, tasting, and getting to know Ninkasi Brewing while in another country!
- Touring and tasting with local guide, Sacha Seggai, who knows his homeland’s history, culture, languages, food and beers and thoroughly shares it all.
- Exploring and enjoying unique experiences in cities and villages across Belgium like Brussels, Boullion, Mechelen, Ghent, Bougenhaut, Watou and Bruges and not having to drive to each or figure out the train schedule.
- Tasting and learning about so many different styles of beers including Lambic, Gruit, Champagne and Abbaye style, as well as experiencing the incredible food in Belgium including the cheese and chocolate.
- Staying in unique accommodations that include a convent overlooking the city of Dinant, a brewery that started in the 15th century, and smaller family owned and operated treasures elsewhere.
Night 1: Hotel Bloom - This beautiful four-star hotel in the heart of the city is only a 10-minute walk from the train station and we can easily walk to everywhere else we need to go in Brussels. Each room has a unique fresco painted by a different European artist.
Night 2: Hotel Cosy - The hotel sits high on a bluff above the city of Boullion. The owner is also a trained chef who will prepare our four-course beer dinner.
Night 3: Hotel La Merveilleusse - The impressive old convent offers a panoramic view over the center of Dinant like no other. The hotel also hosts the Maison Leffe Beer Museum and boasts an impressive dining room where we will enjoy a fine beer and food pairing dinner.
Night 4: Het Anker - Het Anker is one of the oldest breweries in Belgium (1471). Preserving the authenticity of far-off days, the inner courtyard is complete with cobblestones, a tympanum in grey stone from 1625, and three copper kettles in the brew room dating from right after World War II.
Night 5: Hotel Harmony - A family hotel that sits in the oldest neighborhood in Ghent with a garden and a view of the city and canals.
Night 6: Hotel Prinsenhof - Located in the center of the old city of Bruges and is the perfect location for staying in and exploring this wonderful place.
About Ninkasi Brewing
Based in Eugene, Oregon, Ninkasi Brewing was founded by Jamie Floyd and Nikos Ridge on the principle to make products for their customers and run operations for their employees that contribute to a higher quality of life for all and including the communities and individuals in the areas where they do business.
Ninkasi Brewing gives homage to the ancient Sumerian Goddess, Ninkasi, who is known as the Goddess of Beer and Brewing. Praising her for the miracle of fermentation, these ancient peoples who migrated to Mesopotamia, the long strip of fertile land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in present-day Iraq, understood the value of beer in their communities and relied on the brewery as a pillar and hub of social connectivity.
It’s no wonder that Ninkasi Brewing Founding Brewer/Owner, Jamie Floyd, is traveling over the pond to visit the beer-centric country of Belgium with friends and family of Ninkasi this September; the Ninkasi principles are similar to the foundations of beer in Begium. This country’s brewing tradition goes back to the First Crusades when the church allowed abbeys to brew and distribute beer as a fund raising method. Also a sanitary alternative to drinking the local water available during this time, these church products became a benefit to the culture and community.
Jamie Floyd was a brewer’s assistant AND kitchen manager at the Steelhead Brewery in Eugene prior to starting Ninkasi Brewing with his partner. He perpetuates better living in the true entrepreneurial spirit at the Ninkasi Brewing location in the Whiteaker neighborhood in Eugene. The brewery is currently undergoing a large expansion in their production line and is considered a beacon of the Eugene community and spirit. In 2013, Ninkasi was ranked as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon” and “100 Best Green Companies in Oregon” by Oregon Business Magazine.