Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Curmudgeon will be coming out of retirement: Group beer hunting trips are planned for 2008.

For a Gravity Head lineupdate (20 March): Gravity Head lineupdate.

On numerous occasions I’ve confided to friends and pub patrons that coming up with a sequel to the legendary 2004 German-Czech beer tourism group trip has proven to be a chore. That’s because the 2004 trip was probably as close to perfection as any of us are likely to experience, and in addition, the years since have been filled with other challenges and commitments that have conspired to make a group trip difficult to schedule.

After much deliberation about the future of such endeavors, I’m pleased to announce that my mind’s made up. I’m planning two very different group beer trips for 2008, and you’re invited to attend.

The 2008 spring group excursion to the Pacific Northwest likely will include Seattle, Portland and Rogue Nation in Newport, Oregon. All I can say for sure is that it will take place in May, probably after the Kentucky Derby, which runs on May 3, 2008. The trip will last around 10 days. It is likely that the bulk of the group will be flying from Louisville, although participants are free to make their own arrangements subject to my being in the loop.

Once in Portland or Seattle, a chartered motorcoach will be waiting, and we’ll go from there. Of course, as many beer-related events and tours as possible will be scheduled, and there’ll be ample free time in the cities we visit for non-yeast-culture activities.

In September, 2008, the usual suspects from the beercycling gang will be organizing a bicycle-oriented beer hunting trip to Belgium and Netherlands. The core group will either take bikes or rent them in Amsterdam, which we’ll in all likelihood be using as arrival and departure point. The group will travel by train to the vicinity of the Poperinge hop festival (probably Ieper), and attend the parade on September 21, 2008. After a program in the area, we’ll ride over a period of eight or so days back to Haarlem, Netherlands (minutes from Amsterdam), where the trip will conclude.

We have precise biking maps of the entire area to be covered, and this beercycling trip will be completely planned and micromanaged to ensure that a pre-determined, specific distance is covered each day, with conclusion in a pre-booked hotel.

It is our aim to rent a vehicle to serve as sag wagon, and to carry luggage aboard the sag wagon, not in panniers has been the case on previous trips. Subject to interest and the size of the vehicle, there will be limited seating in the sag wagon for non-cycling participants – perhaps as many as three or four. In addition, given the proximity by rail of most of the sites we’ll be visiting, there is the possibility of meeting rail travelers at pre-arranged rendezvous points. I will assist interested parties in arranging their affairs, but will not actively supervise them.

As of this time, I’m interested in knowing who may be “in” for either of these planned excursions in 2008. There are no financial obligations. Write to the e-mail address in my blog profile, or leave word at the pub. Also, suggestions are appreciated.

It’s early, but preparations are starting. If you're new to this, know that my objective after organizing and arranging these trips is to pay my own way with a percentage of the proceeds, which is all above board and conducted through my side venture, Potable Curmudgeon, Inc. References from past travelers are available upon request.

I hope to see many readers next year.

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