Monday, 11 January 2016

DFDS Seaways: Beers of Europe



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​BEERS OF EUROPE

Europeans certainly know their beers. With world-class breweries in Holland, Germany and Belgium, beer connoisseurs with a passion for exciting tipples or those just looking to try something new can enjoy tastings, tours and festivals with enough variety to keep you coming back for more.

BELGIUM

It is said that beer is to Belgium what wine is to France​, and with their own patron saint of beer casting a watchful eye over the country's 150 breweries, it's safe to say that beer is as ingrained into Belgian culture as chocolate or chips. In fact, many of Belgium's 650 different beer varieties have their own specifically-designed glasses which enhance the flavour of their contents.​

Breweries

If you want to know the difference between the making of a Kriek and Lambic, many breweries give an insight into the process with tastings and tours. Take a trip to Timmermanns brewery just outside of Brussels or the Brasserie d'Achouffe in the heart of the Ardennes. The Duvel Moortgat brewery, halfway between Antwerpand Brussels, offers degustation sessions with a beer sommelier as well as lessons on how to pour the perfect beer. The brewery has recently opened the unique Duvelorium Grand Beer Café in Bruges' historic Grote Markt, where visitors can sample the best beers Belgium has to offer including Vedett, Liefmans and De Koninck. ​

​Trappist monasteries
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Belgium is well known for breweries steeped in rich tradition stemming from the Middle Ages. Practice one of Belgium's divine rites of passage by sampling beers brewed within the country's six authentic Trappist monasteries. Although the brewing monks work in peace so do not accept visitors, you can watch the Achel brewers at work from the on-site tavern whilst sipping the freshly-poured fruits of their labour, or visit Orval's brewery museum and walking trail. ​​

​​Festivals

The country is renowned for its all-year-round beer festivals: from Antwerp's Modeste Bierfestival to the prestigious Belgian Beer Weekend held every September in the Grand Marché in Brussels. Just like Belgium itself, their beer is surprising, exciting and anything but bland.

GERMANY​​​

You can say "auf wiedersehen" to boring beer when visiting Europe's biggest brewer. The Germans have one of the world's highest per-capita consumption rates in the world and are renowned for their friendly and sociable drinking culture.​

Brewing tradition


Germany's brewing tradition means that it is home to some of the oldest bars and breweries in the world. The Weihenstephan Brewery can lay claim to the title of the world's oldest brewery, and is still open to visitors to this day. Germany also has 2 of the oldest bars on the continent, Hofbrauhaus and Brauhaus Sion, which both produce eponymous beers.

​Festivals


Each year, Germany plays host to the world-renowned Oktoberfest in the Bavarian beer capital of Munich, attended by millions of stein-swigging punters from far and wide. The Hanover event is the second largest Oktoberfest in Germany, with official 'Oktoberfestbier' brewed traditionally with the notoriously strong alcohol content. If you fancied a slightly more off-the-beaten-track festival experience, why not head to one of the stops of the travelling Bierbörse festival, where you'll have your pick of over 500 tipples in city centre venues such as Cologne​, Bonn, and Düsseldorf.​​

Cologne and Dusseldorf

Beers from German breweries guarantee quality, thanks to brewers taking years to perfect their art: take the delicate and refreshing Kölsch beer - protected by law so that only beers brewed in and around the Cologne can bear the name. There is also plenty of brewing heritage to soak up in nearby Düsseldorf. Take a guided tour around the traditional Uerige brewery or opt for the Zum Schlüssel experience - both of which include, of course, a sample of their beer.​

HOLLAND

While it may not enjoy the same reputation for quality beer as its immediate neighbours, Belgium and Germany, Holland is still home to a number of famous breweries and bars. The city also maintains a relaxed, easy-going drinking culture, with canal-side cafes and classically-Dutch pubs galore. 

Breweries


Holland's most famous export is, of course, Heineken. The Heineken Experience in Amsterdam is one of the Dutch capital's biggest tourist attractions but is by no means the only brewery worth visiting in Holland. Visit Brouwerij 't IJ – also in Amsterdam – and enjoy sampling beer before sitting down to a drink and a meal at the outdoor restaurant. The Limburg region of Amsterdam was once home to 512 breweries, but today only a few remain. The most famous of these is the Alfa brewery, still family-owned and with a serious dedication to quality. Visit the brewery for a museum tour, tasting session and film.

Festivals


The PINT Bokkbier Festival is the biggest and arguably the best beer festival in the Netherlands. Taking place in late October each year, the festival hosts over 50 types of beer to sample. 2015 also sees the first ever Craft Beer Festival taking place in Enschede, with a number of locally-brewed craft beers available to buy, sample and generally enjoy.​​​

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