Guests pedal a 15-passenger bike on a brew tour of Sacramento, Calif. with Sac Brew Bike. // © 2015 Sac Brew Bike
Feature image (above): Travelers will stop by a popular beer bar in Bruges on their biking tour of Belgium. // © 2015 Experience Plus
What better way to fight a beer gut than by pedaling away the pounds in between breweries?
While locations such as Belgium and Germany may first come to mind when thinking of booze and bicycle tours, travelers can actually find a wide array of excursions offering beers, gears and sights all over the world. From casks to kegs, from lagers to ales, these beercycling trips are a great way to see and taste the best a destination has to offer.
From the Pajottenland region’s lambic beers to Bruges’s famous Trappist ales, this eight-day tour from Experience Plus takes bicyclists to some of Belgium’s best beers.
The tour starts in Waterloo, which history buffs may recognize as the site of Napoleon’s defeat and foodies will appreciate for its abundant Belgian waffles and moules frites (mussels served with French fries). On day two, travelers will visit De Cam Brewery in Flanders for a taste of beer made with natural yeasts and then pedal onwards to Oudenaarde, a town once known for its tapestries.
Guests will have the chance to visit Flemish art museums and tour the canals of Bruges on their own before joining the rest of the group for happy hour in one of the area’s popular beer bars. The tour wraps up in Tournai, the oldest city in Belgium, where cyclists can gaze at Romanesque and Gothic churches and private houses that are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Prices start at $4,025, based on double occupancy.
Cape Town, South Africa
Get to know the tipsy side of Cape Town by taking advantage of the Bike and Booze Day Tour from iRide Africa. The easy mountain bike ride includes visits to South African breweries, a pit stop at Rhodes Memorial restaurant and tea garden for lunch and, of course, beer tasting. Bike rentals and lunch are included in the price, which amounts to around $113.
Bikers who want to explore a variety of breweries — from tiny family-owned spots to massive ale-brewing headquarters — will enjoy the 10-day Flanders Adventure Tour from Beercycling.
During a private tour of Liefmans Brewery, guests will learn about the “Oud Bruin” (also known as Flanders Brown) — the long-brewed sour ale. They’ll also get to tour the Brouwerij De Ryck for samples of the European Beer Star gold medal-winning Arend Tripel beer. On day four, guests can choose to participate in an optional bottle share by bringing a beer from their hometown to swap with the group.
A rest day in Bruges allows bikers to stretch their legs and create their own itinerary. Options include horseback riding, visiting Frietmuseum, which is a museum dedicated to the art of the French fry, and touring a local brewery. The trip ends on a sour (beer) note, with a self-guided tour of Brasserie Cantillon where travelers can sample unique lambic and gueuze brews. Guests will be cycling 20 to 40 miles a day on mostly flat terrain during this beginner to intermediate level ride. Prices start at $2,600 per person.
Cyclists on Hooked on Cycling’s Bavarian Beer Tour, a six-day self-guided ride in Aisch Valley, are kept busy. After all, the region is one of the most beer-concentrated areas in the world — averaging one brewery per kilometer.
Starting in the medieval city Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the ride continues past a castle in Colmberg and through Ansbach, leading to Bamberg, the “beer capital of Germany,” which boasts nine breweries and one brewpub. Beer connoisseurs will want to sample the region’s world-famous Rauchbier, a smoked type of brew flavored by malted barley that’s dried over an open flame. On their final full day, cyclists will tour Bad Windsheim, a small historic city, as well as visit the Franconian Museum and sample the home-brewed beer at the museum’s guesthouse.
Accommodations, breakfast, maps, luggage transfers and five vouchers for 500 milliliters of beer to use in Bamberg are among the included offerings. Travelers who want to take a break from the open road can shorten their routes via optional train rides. The price starts at around $929 per person, based on double occupancy.
Explore the best sights and sips of Tokyo, Kyoto, Kobe and Hiroshima on the 10-day Japan City Hopping tour.
It all begins with a ride through some of Tokyo’s most gorgeous parks and a rest stop at a local brewery. A bullet train to Mount Fuji will give bikers a chance to rest their quads before riding past the temples of the ancient city of Kamakura. Tsukiji Market, the world’s largest fish market, will satisfy gourmands with a sushi breakfast while the bamboo forests of the Arashiyama district provide verdant zen for guests looking to relax.
Travelers will also hike to the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine and sample local offerings of food and sake in Kyoto’s smaller neighborhoods. In Kobe, guests can try the famous Kobe beef and whiskey. Prices start at $6,000 per person.
Beer buffs will want to check out the three-day Bend Bike & Brew Weekend Tour with Cog Wild. On the tour, guests will ride the guide’s favorite local trails and spend an evening at Deschutes Brewery. At the on-site pub, bikers can try local favorites such as the Black Butte Porter or get a pint of the night’s special cask conditioned brew.
Guests will also traverse the trail network of Wanoga Complex where they’ll zoom past snowy mountains to the Crux Fermentation Project, one of Bend’s many microbreweries. The final day starts at the Cascade Mountains and ends back at Cog Wild where riders can cool down with a few more local beers.
The trip will cover 66 to 90 miles, and there are lots of trails to choose from, so guides can split groups and accommodate both advanced beginners and expert riders. Prices start at $745 per person, based on double occupancy and encompass meals; beer tastings; accommodations; a shuttle to and from the airport; and guides. Mountain bike rentals aren’t included in the price.
Taste the best of California’s capital on this tour from Sac Brew Bike. The standard tour includes three 30-minute stops during which guests can sample local offerings in the way of food and brews, with select discounts at each stop.
Tour guides customize each trip based on what the guests are looking for, but common brew stops include LowBrau, Tank House, Der Biergarten, The Golden Bear, Rubicon Brewing Company, Kupros Craft House, Alley Katz and University of Beer. Guests will take preemptive measures against beer bellies by pedaling a 15-passenger bike, which cruises at a breezy 5 miles per hour. The standard two-hour Brew and Pub Tour costs $20, operating Sunday to Thursday, but increases to $25 on Fridays and Saturdays.