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Trip to Ireland and other European countries (with notable breweries)

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Jan 6th, 2012, 09:03 PM
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Trip to Ireland and other European countries (with notable breweries)

My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to Europe this summer. (We are teachers so that's our best travel time.) We know for sure that we'd like to visit Ireland and I'd like to hit at least one other country, preferrably with a notable brewery situation going on. When I've traveled to Europe before I've always stayed in one country the whole time, so the best/most cost effective travel methods between countries are new to me. I would love any recommendations on travel between Ireland and somewhere else...even a recommendation on the somewhere else! Kind of a broad question I know, but I always get such good responses on this forum I thought I'd throw it out there.
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Jan 6th, 2012, 10:09 PM
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Belgium immediately springs to mind if it's beer you want, but that's just for starters. Germany and Czech Republic are also worth considering. Where you choose depends on what else you want to see and do along with the brewery visits. If you could let us know what you're looking for in terms of those criteria that would help with suggestions. After than, I'm sure the ideas for exact breweries/sites to visit will flood in!
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Jan 6th, 2012, 11:04 PM
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The U.K. has a good brewery traditions, plus there area lot of micro breweries starting up these days. Travel between Eire and the U.K. is cheap and quick.
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Jan 7th, 2012, 02:44 PM
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Not quite sure what a notable brewery situation is but just a word on the Guinness Storehouse which is probably on your "must-do" list for Dublin. It is not an actual tour of the brewery itself; more a building where you are given the lowdown on how the beer is created - with the free sample waiting for you on the fifth floor. If you are looking for an actual tour of a brewery, this is not available.

Dublin is well connected with all European destinations, Ryanair being the principal low-fare airline but Aer Lingus is not far behind. The Czech Republic would be a good beer destination but Belgium is better served with air connections to Charleroi (Ryanair) and Brussels (Aer Lingus).
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Jan 7th, 2012, 06:18 PM
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Belgium, Germany and Czech Republic are known for excellent beers. We have toured breweries in Amsterdam (Heineken) and Copenhagen (Carlsberg) - and they were very similar - fairly short tours with limited free samples at the end. I'm not a beer drinker - so a little is enough for me - but in both places we ran into young men - who obviously came from somewhere beer wasn;t available to them -- who managed to get reeling ( and very obnoxiously) drunk on just 2 or 3 beers.
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Jan 8th, 2012, 03:17 AM
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Be Aware that European Health and Safety laws have had a serious effect on Brewery "tours" and what you get to see ranges from a short film to a restricted tour. The Brewhouse in Dublin is a disappointment to many as it is simply an excellent exhibition and historic display rather than a walk round a beer producing factory. The Jamesons tours in Dublin and Middleton Cork are good as is Bushmills distillery in the north but the only real brewery tour would be the Abbey brewery in Kilkenny.
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Jan 8th, 2012, 04:27 PM
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Thanks everyone! Ive decided that in addition to our original plan of starting in Ireland, Belgium is a must and possibly Germany or the Czech Republic. Is that too much for two weeks? I think three countries in a two week trip might be the max since in each location I'd like to do more than just drink beer and "tour" the factory depending on what that entails. So to answer your question madamtrashheap, I like to visit historical places of interest and just explore to get a sense of what life in that city is like. I haven't done a whole lot of research yet since I've still been narrowing down locations, so I pose the question to you fodorite experts--between Germany and the Czech Republic which might have more places of interest for a 30 year old couple of teachers with no kids, like to drink and dance (not in a crazy out of control way) and see some history?
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Jan 8th, 2012, 06:53 PM
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I'd suggest Prague might suit you better based on your answer to my question. You could do a week in Ireland (Dublin, Kilkenny and perhaps Galway) then fly to Prague and spend time there as well as a day trip to Plzen (Pilzen) for the home of Pilsener and either an overnight or long day trip to Cesky Krumlov, or a day trip to Kutna Hora. There are plenty of places to try the different Czech beers in Prague as well as some micro-breweries to be found. You'll get your fill of history and nightlife as well.
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Jan 8th, 2012, 06:57 PM
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Or, you could do a week in Ireland, fly to Brussels and do a bit of touring as well as beer tasting (Brugges, Ghent). But I don't think you'll be able to fit Ireland, Belgium and one other place in to 2 weeks without a whole lot of travelling around. Of course, if that's OK with you, then perhaps 4 nights Dublin, 1-2 nights Kilkenny, fly to Brussels for 3 nights, fly to Prague for the rest of the time. There won't be as much time to explore other cities outsite Brussels and Prague, but you'll get a good overview of those cities at least.
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