By Mrs. B

11 breweries you’ve got to see when you’re stationed in Europe

Europe is a brewery wonderland for beer enthusiasts. Beers range from light to dark, and European beers can pack a punch as most are much stronger than American beers. Visiting a brewery allows you to learn about the beers, ask questions, and–of course–sample the finished products! Many breweries are family-friendly as well! Most will offer a non-alcoholic drink for the kids or anyone else who doesn’t prefer to sample. Some even have fun, interactive entertainment for all ages.

If you’re stationed in Europe, or traveling that way, here is a list of breweries to check out:

Bitburger Brewery– Bitburg, Germany

Take an hour guided tour to visit this brewery where Bitburger beer is made. This is the beer of Germany and you’ll find it all over. The admission price includes two alcohol-free beverages. Note that getting a tour in English can be a bit tough here. It’s best to call in advance to see if they are offering them or find out how to set one up. This brewery is about 20 minutes from the Spangdahlem area.

Bofferding Brewery – Bascharage, Luxembourg

This brewery established in 1764 brews the renowned Luxembourg beers. Here you’ll get a 2-hour tour packed with history and brewing information. At the end, you’ll sample the beers. Price is per person and no information is posted about children, so contact them prior to your visit if you are planning a family trip.

De Halve Maan Brewery – Bruges, Belgium

Enjoy a 45-minute guided tour of the brewery with a free drink at the end. Children ages 6 and up receive a free drink as well. The tour gives information about the history of brewing their beer as well as how they have incorporated modern techniques. Lunch and dinner reservations are available also.

Guinness Storehouse – Dublin, Ireland

While you cannot visit the working brewery, you can get all the info you need at the Storefront via a self-guided tour, which is expected to take around 1.5 hours. Purchasing tickets ahead of time online is recommended and offers a 10% discount. Kids are able to visit as well; they even offer a family pass for two adults and up to four kids under the age of 18. Purchasing tickets online also lets you skip the queue. Entry includes a complimentary pint and a complimentary soft drink for those under 18. As you make your way through the exhibits you’ll learn the Guinness story and about the brewing process.

Heineken Experience – Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Heineken Experience is very family friendly and includes seeing the horses as well as lots of interactive fun for all ages. We visited this one and our family had a great time; you can read about our experience here. If you purchase online or at a shop locally before arriving, you can get discounted tickets and skip the queue. It’s a self-guided tour, expected to last around 1.5 hours, and you’ll meet various staff at certain locations. At the first station they explain about the hops and barley and you even get a chance to taste them. At the bar, you can earn an extra free drink for answering questions correctly. Entry price includes two beers or soft drinks for adults and soft drinks for kids as well.

La Chouffe – Houffalize, Belgium

This brewery offers a 1.5-hour tour and tasting experience that is family friendly. It’s best to make reservations online. Kids ages 12 and up will receive a drink with their admission fee. The tour includes a film, tour of the brewery, and learning the La Chouffe story. There are also two restaurants so you can grab a bite to eat while you’re there.

Meantime Brewing Company – London, UK

The brewery was started in 1999 and features a London beer brewed with only a 6-week brewing process. You can take a 2-hour guided tour here and enjoy up to three pints of beer.

Monsteiner Bier – Monstein, Switzerland

What better way to explore the Swiss Alps than a visit to a brewery and enjoy some Swiss beer? You can do something as simple as the free tour and tasting on Fridays or one of their other charming experiences that range from enjoying beer on sunset tours, old-time bus rides, train rides, multi-day events, chocolate and beer, and more.

Stiegl-Brauwelt – Salzburg, Austria

Tours are done daily with an English tour at 3 PM. Admission includes a beer-tasting or soft drink for children. Visit the in-house brewing facility and learn its fascinating history. You can also view the film in the 270-degree cinema and check out the famous beer tower!

U Medvidku – Prague, Czech Republic

Not only is it the smallest brewery in Prague, it also brews the strongest beer in the world. You can stay in the hotel here and receive a complimentary welcome drink from the brewery. They also offer a tasting menu which includes beer cheese and beer ice cream! You’ll also get to sample what U Medvidku calls the strongest beer in the world. For those looking for a personal experience, you can even try your hand at brewing your own beer.

Westlveteren Brewery AKA In de Vrede – Westlveteren, Belgium

The Westlveteren Trappist beer is highly sought out, so while this is not a traditional brewery experience, it’s a unique one you may want to consider. This beer is considered to be “the best beer in the world” and so highly coveted that you have to call in advance to order a maximum of two cases. You can also go visit and check out the visitors center and enjoy some at the cafe. The shop often sells a sample pack of six as well, although they can run out so go early if possible. You can also try the cheese and other local specialties while you’re there. Visit the Claustrum to learn the history of the abby and details about the brewing process.