Hands Holding Beer Steins

Introducing the AmaWaterways Beer Themed Cruise

River cruise operators have provided many wine-themed cruises in the past; each proving very popular.

But now, AmaWaterways have introduced a beer themed river cruise, travelling through Belgium and the Netherlands on a journey which will include unlimited beer on board as well as tulips, chocolate and cheese.

Sounds like the perfect indulgence cruise?

In addition to enjoying a selection of beers, you will also be accompanied on board by beer connoisseur and author, Don Russell.

Don has won various journalism awards for travelling the world in search of the great beers and has previously written a weekly column for the Philadelphia Daily News for the last 15 years.

He will guide you through an itinerary which includes brewery tours, onboard discussions and tastings as well as a chance to try regional delicacies.

We take a closer look at what the unique experiences you can expect from the AmaWaterways Beer Themed Tulip Time Cruise which is set to debut in 2015.

Beer

Netherlands

Your river cruise will start and finish in the Netherlands, setting off from Amsterdam after the welcome dinner before reaching Volendam and later Nijmegen.

The Netherlands is renowned for its pale lagers which include Heineken and Grolsch, with approximately 50% of production being exported around the world.

Heineken Experience

The first taste of beer will come from the Heineken Experience Tour excursion where you will be able to explore an old brewery; learning about the brewing process and history behind the world-famous beer as well as a few hands-on elements.

Here, you will be able to wander on a self-guided tour, visiting sites such as the old horse stables and you'll even get the unique experience of becoming a beer: being shaken around, having water sprayed at you and then subjected to heat in an attempt to fully understand the beer making process.

Alternatively, there is also a walking tour around Volendam and nearby Edam where you can learn about the fishing fleet and visit one of the most beautiful churches in the Netherlands: Grote Kerk (Grand Church).

Brewery de Hemel

Your next stop is Nijmegen where you will be given the opportunity to visit the Brewery de Hemel, a relatively modern brewery having only opened in 1983, where beers range in alcoholic strength from 5% to 12%.

White Raaf (White Raven) is perhaps the most popular beer to have been produced here - quickly establishing itself as the country's best-selling wheat beer.

The Brewery de Hemel does not specialise in just beer, however, they also make a unique selection of beer-based products including vinegar and mustard.

For those wanting something a bit different or just a short break from the beer, there is a tour around the beautiful royal residence of Het Loo Palace and the chance for some free time in Nijmegen.

Belgium

After setting off from Nijmegen, you will venture on the second half of the beer tour which will take you to Antwerp, Gent and potentially Bruges and Brussels.

There are approximately 180 breweries in Belgium and the beers brewed include amber, blonde, brown, flemish red, lambic, pale and a variety of fruit ales.

The range of beers available in Belgium is extensive and steeped in history; with several beers made by monks inside monasteries and quite often each beer will have a specific glass thought to enhance flavour.

Cantillon Brewery

On an optional excursion to Brussels, you will be able to visit the Cantillon brewery, a family run brewery which has been specialising in lambic, gueuze, faro and kriek beers since 1900.

You will see the copper containers and barrels from 100 years ago, which are still used today. In fact, the only change to be made to the brewery is the shift to more organic ingredients.

There is so much to see and do whether you decide to stay in Antwerp, where you can go on a Rubens themed walking tour, or take the trip to Brussels and visit the magnificent Grand Place square.

Gruut Brewery

Gruut is an old-fashioned mix of herbs and spices used to flavour beer and was widely used, particularly in Gent, as an alternative to hops. The brewery tour will provide unique insight into the brewing process as well as the chance to try some local culinary delights.

The brewery is located on the left bank of the river Leie - which was once ruled by the French who introduced the alternative of gruut to the beer making process - whilst breweries on the right bank continued to use traditional hops.

De Halve Maan Brewery

Dutch Windmills

If you decide to travel to Bruges you will be able to visit the De Halve Maan brewery, which is one of the last remaining breweries in the centre of Bruges.

The brewery produces Brugse Zot, a pale blond ale which is only available in Bruges, and ingredients such as water and coriander seeds are heavily relied upon in the brewing process - with each pint of beer produced requiring 300 pints of water to make it.

There is so much more to see on this cruise entitled 'Tulip Time' - and not just beer!

You will be able to explore culture and heritage of all the visited cities and go on excursions to the Kinderdijk windmills and witness the tulips which make up the Keukenhof Gardens.

If you fancy trying something different on your holiday in 2015 and want the AmaWaterways guaranteed luxury; then this Beer Themed Cruise is the perfect option for you. The trip departs from Amsterdam on the 31st March 2015 and prices start from £1543pp

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