When Matthew Peetz, director of Regis University’s Certificate in Applied Craft Brewing, dreamed up a group trip to Belgium to visit some of the world’s most historic breweries, he knew the journey could be beneficial to a variety of people. However, as a beer fanatic, he’s the first to admit that some self-interest was at the heart of the voyage.
“I wanted to go see all these places, so this trip gave me a way to do that,” Peetz said.
In May, Peetz led 45 people on a 10-day experiential tour through one of the world’s most esteemed nations for brewing.
Describing it as “a beer drinker’s dream trip,” Peetz guided the journey alongside Ryan Evans and Charlie Gottenkieny, co-owners of Denver-based Bruz Beers. Attendees included eight former students from the University’s craft brewing program and a group who joined via Bruz Beers.
The group secured tours at high-profile sites for brewing, including famous Trappist monastery breweries, such as Orval Abbey, Espace Chimay and the Abbey of Westvleteren. Many of the breweries ordinarily are closed to the public.
“We were able to go see these monasteries that have been brewing beer for centuries, and see how intimate the relationship between beer and Catholicism has been that whole time,” Peetz said.
The group also visited other well-known spots such as the Brussels Belgian Beer Museum, Brasserie Cantillon in Anderlecht and the Brouwerij De Halve Maan in Bruges. One of Peetz’s favorite moments was visiting southwest Belgium’s Brasserie de Blaugies, where a brewer provided a tour of the facility, poured beers and answered questions.
“It was a really intimate experience,” Peetz said. “We went to places you would never be able to see otherwise.”
The journey not only gave Regis alumni an opportunity to reunite, it allowed the group’s serious brewers to make some valuable connections.
“I think a trip like this definitely broadens your network,” Peetz said. “It’s important to have contacts, friends and relationships that span more than just our local community.”
Peetz plans to offer a similarly structured trip through Germany and Austria in spring 2021.