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Old 02-06-2012, 07:25 PM   #1
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Default Bringing beer to Belgium? Question for HBTers who've traveled to the holy land.

I am planning a trip to Belgium this May with the SWMBO. Really looking forward to it!

A friend of a friend who travels to Belgium regularly said he always brings a suitcase full of Avery along with him when he goes. Apparently, they go nuts for it, and it is a great way to break the ice with the locals and to get some beery perks in return.

Has anyone heard of such a thing? It seems crazy, but I'd definitely try it if it seems worthwhile.

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Old 02-06-2012, 07:50 PM   #2
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I am planning a trip to Belgium this May with the SWMBO. Really looking forward to it!

A friend of a friend who travels to Belgium regularly said he always brings a suitcase full of Avery along with him when he goes. Apparently, they go nuts for it, and it is a great way to break the ice with the locals and to get some beery perks in return.

Has anyone heard of such a thing? It seems crazy, but I'd definitely try it if it seems worthwhile.
Wow, I would never think to even try to take a suitcase full of beer on an international trip. Good for him if he can pull it off. Who knew Avery was big in Belgium?
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:25 PM   #3
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Default A couple of map-inches off, to the left

Don't know much about international beer cartage, but I noticed a small, yet galling, geographical error in your thread title. They brew Altbier and Marzen in the Holy Land of beer, not Kriek and Gueze. So it is written, so shall it be brewed.

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Old 02-06-2012, 11:19 PM   #4
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I can't say that unless I were on business, or already had casual acquaintances in Belgium, that I could see any advantage to toting heavy and easily damaged beer to Belgium. Maybe it's my personality, but for the most part, I can't imagine walking up to someone and saying, "Hey, I have some Avery beer. Want to come back to my hotel and party?" I did meet some ex-pats and some travelers from England, Germany, and Holland, but they were there for the beer also!

Belgium is a fairly modern and affluent country, although the small towns still retain a rural quality. Recognize that you will be a tourist, so many locals will already view you with a mild disdain. That said, try to hang out in small, non tourist type places and strike up a conversation with some locals. In the north, English is common, if not spoken perfectly. French is the lingua franca of Wallonia- Belgians are mostly multi-lingual, but less so in the south, so use some French phrases. "Bon jour! Merci. Au Revoir. L'addition, s'il vous plait. Parlez vous Anglais?"

If you do plan well and take beer along, at least you will likely have a means for bringing some beer the right direction- HOME.

How nuts for Avery do you think people will really be? There seem to be two major groups of beer drinkers- Jupiler drinkers, and those who love Belgian beers. What beery perks do you have in mind?

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Old 02-07-2012, 02:40 AM   #5
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Default Jupiler? Wtf is that?

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I can't say that unless I were on business, or already had casual acquaintances in Belgium, that I could see any advantage to toting heavy and easily damaged beer to Belgium. Maybe it's my personality, but for the most part, I can't imagine walking up to someone and saying, "Hey, I have some Avery beer. Want to come back to my hotel and party?" I did meet some ex-pats and some travelers from England, Germany, and Holland, but they were there for the beer also!

Belgium is a fairly modern and affluent country, although the small towns still retain a rural quality. Recognize that you will be a tourist, so many locals will already view you with a mild disdain. That said, try to hang out in small, non tourist type places and strike up a conversation with some locals. In the north, English is common, if not spoken perfectly. French is the lingua franca of Wallonia- Belgians are mostly multi-lingual, but less so in the south, so use some French phrases. "Bon jour! Merci. Au Revoir. L'addition, s'il vous plait. Parlez vous Anglais?"

If you do plan well and take beer along, at least you will likely have a means for bringing some beer the right direction- HOME.

How nuts for Avery do you think people will really be? There seem to be two major groups of beer drinkers- Jupiler drinkers, and those who love Belgian beers. What beery perks do you have in mind?
I guess I must be one. I'm sure Belgium is a fine country, but I can't stomach the stuff they call beer.
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Old 02-07-2012, 03:04 AM   #6
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Is it specifically beer from Avery, or do Belgians have a hard time getting good American craft beer there?

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Old 02-08-2012, 03:53 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the feedback! Cervezerara, you make some good points. I was thinking less about meeting randoms and asking for a party or some hookups, but rather having them along as a conversation piece for the locals I do meet. I've heard great stories from friends who have been invited to tour "closed to public" breweries and the like after making these connections (though those stories have more often then not been from people who did not bring beer from home!).

The story I'd heard about someone bringing beer to Belgium happened to be about Avery, but I'm sure any interesting American brew would do fine. If I'm not mistaken, Avery distributes in a few European countries, but Belgium is not one of them, so that may lend to the concept. In general, I know they get decent American brews over there as I've seen them on the list of the big beer bars.

In general, it sounds like it might be a much bigger pain than it is worth, but thought it worth asking! I do speak french, so will do alright with that in Wallonia, but know nothing of Flemish, so will have to rely on my English there.

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Old 02-08-2012, 08:58 PM   #8
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I recently got back from Berlin. They have a department store called Ka Da We, it's the largest in Europe. The only American brew they had in that whole place was Anchor Steam. I was meeting up with my brother, a foreign exchange student in Berlin, so I brought a 4 pack of old Rasputin. The two Europeans we split it with we're amazed that Americans actually drink extremely complex beer, and few of them had had beer with high abv. I imagine some Belgians would like to try some American style brew. I think a suitcase of beer is overkill, grab some 22s. Also, be ready for them to not like American beer. Some of the Europeans who sipped the Rasputin found it to be way to bold and there was to much flavor.

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