Planning and enjoying a trip with friends that centers around finding new and interesting beers and new and interesting places can be great fun. Whether in the Unites State or worldwide, with the proper planning, you can enjoy your friends, the beers and the new unique places that you find along the way.
Get some friends. Kidding aside, make sure that the individuals that you travel with are of a like spirit. It's no fun going on a beer drinking adventure with someone that prefers wine (and let's you know).
Decide on a destination and plan ahead. If this trip is to somewhere somewhat local to you (another state if you are in the US or a bordering country in say Europe), try to give yourself at least a couple of months to work out the details. Trips can be done at the spur of the moment, but a chance of disaster or an unmemorable trip may be the result. If the trip is international, try and give yourself at least four months. Between arranging flight, hotels, brewery tours and incidentals, you will be quite busy and the extra couple of months give you flexibility. A few trip suggestions (these are made up names, but you get the idea):
- The Belgian Experience
- Bavarian Highlight
- American Hop Tour
Plan a trip of five to seven days. Fewer and you may spend more time traveling than drinking and enjoying. Longer and you will probably have had enough by day seven and enjoyment goes down from there.
If you would rather not worry about details other than who to send the money too, there are a number of tour operators that cater to beer drinkers. Seek them out, compare what they offer and decide if you want to be led around or would rather do this on your own.
Once a destination or destinations have been decided on, its time to make arrangements. A few suggestions:
- Unless you can get a fantastic rate from a upscale hotel chain, look for something moderately priced that has breakfast included. Remember, you will only be sleeping there, the rest of the time exploring the wide world of beer
- If you plan a brewery tour, make sure you check with the brewery just prior to your trip. Many breweries will shut down tours to do maintenance or such, but won't announce it openly.
- Research any other transport needs at your destination. Whether it's taxicabs, buses or subways, make sure you are aware of their hours (run times) and their customs (how taxi's charge in different location for example). If you are traveling to your destination in your own vehicle, check on road closings, tolls, parking and such.
Build in some non beer time. Make sure you have some down time in your schedule for non beer related events. Get to know the areas that you are visiting (it creates a more lasting memory) and try to bring a little of that home (via photos or souvenirs).
Spend some time apart from your friends. Always moving in a group can get tedious when not all of the group wants to move. Make sure you plan some days with time to do whatever anyone wants with a meet-up for say lunch or dinner. A day apart ending with a dinner at a restaurant that specializes in beer cooked foods is a great way to refresh. It also provides for lively conversation as to what the others did that day.
Always take the time to partake in the specialty (beer or otherwise) of the area in which you are traveling. A few examples, but you get the idea:
- Belgium - Trappist beer, Lambic beer, chocolate, waffles and beer infused dining
- United States - Hopped up beers, Barleywines, bar-b-que, hot wings, regional food favorites
- Germany - Wheat beers, Bock beers, wursts, pork.
Research, research, research. By knowing as much about your destination as possible, it will make your trip easier and more memorable.
An example of a beer trip to remember: Belgium & Amsterdam