Last updated: 03:16 PM ET, Sat August 15 2015

Discover Europe's Beer Culture From Its Rivers

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Avalon Waterways | Kristina Rundquist | August 12, 2015

Discover Europe's Beer Culture From Its Rivers

It wasn't that long ago that beer was considered a bit down-market, at least when compared to many fine wines gracing the tables of most Americans. Since then, beer has come a long way (baby) and today, woe to anyone who dares to disparage craft beer or anything of its ilk.

Oenophiles have always had a multitude of travel offerings that allowed them to further indulge their love of fine wine, from tastings to winery tours and more elaborate itineraries. Today, beer lovers have that same opportunity to explore what's what in the world of hops, thanks to Avalon Waterways' beer-tasting special interest European river cruises.

Austrian Highlights & Bavaria River Cruise: Guests spend nine leisurely days exploring some of Europe's best-known breweries while traveling from Vienna to Munich. Among the highlights of the trip are stops at the Kuchlbauer World of Beer in Abensberg (with a visit the popular Kuchlbauer tower), the Hop Museum in Wolnzach for a guided tour and beer tasting, and various historic breweries along the way. Onboard activities may encompass tastings, as well as lectures on a variety of related topics, including European brewing techniques.

Danube Dreams River Cruise (Eastbound). It's hard to know what tops the list of this exciting 10-day cruise for beer-loving travelers--stops in some of Central Europe’s most beautiful capitals or learning from the region’s beer expert (known as the Beer Pope), who comes on board to share his knowledge of all things hops and malt in a beer workshop.

Other themed highlights include a visit to the Ottakringer brewery, and onboard food and beer pairing dinner. As you make your way from Prague to Budapest, you'll take in not only Europe's finest cities, but the quaint towns that dot the countryside, including the resort town of Grein, Weissenkirchen in Austria's Wachau Valley and Passau, which sits at the confluence of three rivers.

Essential Holland & Belgium River Cruise (Southbound). This eight-day cruise from Amsterdam to Vivoorde leaves no stone unturned when it comes to sightseeing and beer-themed activities. From visits to such quaint towns as Willemstad and Middelburg to guided sightseeing tours of Ghent and Antwerp to exploring such iconic venues as the Delta Works, the gardens of Keukenhof and a windmill in Kinderdijk, you’ll get a true sense of the region and its brewing history. An onboard beer lecture, a food and beer pairing dinner, a visit to the Heineken Beer Brewery and a lecture from the Beer Pope rounds out this spectacular cruise.

The Blue Danube Discovery River Cruise. Setting sail in Budapest, this 13-day cruise takes passengers along the famed Danube River. The journey begins with two overnights in Budapest, where passengers will have the chance to explore the famous Central Market Hall, among other popular sightseeing venues. Once onboard, you'll sail westward, with stops to explore Vienna, Passau and medieval Regensburg, where you'll have the chance to indulge in a beer tasting. The final three overnights take place in Prague, with plenty of free time to explore the "Golden City's" many sights.

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