I hope you are all well. This year’s Tours are filling up but we do have places left on all Tours except Tour 73. We can now announce the price of Tour 74 Christmas in Bruges (see below) and also exclusive news on our tour programme for Spring 2015.
TOUR 70 LEUVEN & ANTWERP – Saturday 26 April – Wednesday 30 April 2014
This fabulous beer connoisseurs Tour takes in two of Belgium’s finest cities, the twin Flemish jewels of Leuven and Antwerp – both long famed for their culture and beer. We will spend the first two nights of the Tour in the luxury Hotel Novotel Leuven Centrum followed by a two night stay at the revamped, centrally based Hotel Ibis Antwerpen Centrum. We will have an opportunity to explore these great cities, each with a different flavour. Leuven, the historical University City and Antwerp the ancient port and artistic centre, both sharing a lively beer culture and great nightlife. This tour will visit Leuven at the time of the annual national Zythos Beer Festival and we will include at least one visit to this premier beer festival in Europe at which you can choose from hundreds of Belgium’s finest beers. This Tour itinerary offers the amazing opportunity to visit a huge ten breweries or brewery taps along with a host of hand-picked cafes and restaurants in West Flanders, Flemish Brabant and Antwerp provinces. The itinerary looks something like this:
Day One sees an early start with coach pick-ups at Ipswich, Colchester, Chelmsford and as agreed in Kent, after which we make our way to Folkestone for the 09.20hr Eurotunnel Train. We then move on onto Belgium and the first stop at the fantastic beer village of Oostvleteren where we have a meal at the picturesque ’t Witte Paard Restaurant. The White Horse was voted the friendliest café in West Flanders and was used in the filming of Belgian mini-series The Forests of Flanders. Following lunch we take a walk round the corner to the mighty Struise Brouwers for a quick visit and a chance to buy some of their rarer bottles. We then proceed over the road to the working windmill and the brilliant Molenhof Café where we can choose a beer or two from their excellent menu of 123 beer menu. We then board the coach heading for Leuven with a special café stop at Bloemenlust in Wetteren on the way. Following check-in at the comfy Novotel we can either explore the great nightlife of this student city armed with Podge’s Leuven Bar Guide or catch the free shuttle bus from the nearby station out to the festival with all it has to offer (we will also get an opportunity to go to the festival on Sunday too).
After the great Hotel breakfast on Sunday we start by calling in at the innovative Hof ten Dormaal brewery for a quick tour and tasting* on our way to ABS Drinks warehouse in Winksele. Our visit coincides with their annual beer festival, so those not choosing their beers to take home can sit back and relax with a beer. Lunch will be at the friendly Herberg in de Ster in Wezemaal before going on to the new municipal Aarschotse Stadsbrouwerij which has recreated the traditional local style of brown ale and we will get a taste*. We then make our way back to Leuven via a drop at the Zythos Beer Festival on the way back to the city, for an evening’s relaxation. On Monday we make our way to our second city base, and for many Belgium’s best beer city, Antwerp. We travel north via two new brewery taps, where we can sample their offerings at the Kroon Brewery in Neerijse and the brand new Campenhout Brewery at their Café Labo. Lunch will be taken in the historic religious Belgian city of Mechelen, with some free time in the city centre. Tuesday, Day Four, takes us north to the excellent Dochter van de Korenaar Brewery in the enclave of Baarle-Hertog for a look at the brewery and a taste* of their superb beers (especially the dark, smooth Embrasse). We then pop over the border into Holland for a visit to Breda and Café Restaurant and Brewery De Beyerd for a meal and a taste of their brews. We travel back to Antwerp via the Den Hoek café the nearest café to the new brewing monastery at Zundert, where you can sample the new Trappist beer or choose other from their exhaustive list. We will drop at Pakhuis Huisbrouwerij in Antwerp for those still peckish, or those who fancy a café crawl of this part of town, near the River Schelde. On our final day of the tour we make our way back to the Eurotunnel Train at Calais via a final beer tasting* at Paenhuys Brewery in Nieuwkerken-Waas near Sint-Niklaas for a beer sampling of three from their range of Schapenkop Tripel, Puitenkop Bitter Amber and Zwarte Zjef Stout.
We have added visits to the following on this Tour itinerary:
· newly renovated and reopened De Koninck Brewery Tap on the outskirts of Antwerp, De Pelgrim. Here, you can savour your first Bolleke in the city accompanied by a shot of the brewery yeast in a separate glass, uniquely available here.
· Den Hoek café which is the nearest café to the new brewing monastery Trappistenbrouwerij de Kievit at Zundert, where you can sample the new Trappist beer or choose others from their exhaustive list.
· Café De Rotse in Dikkelvenne which acts as brewery tap for family brewers Contreras down the road. You will have an opportunity of sampling the beers in the brewery’s portfolio.
· De Zandvlooi café in Kruishoutem for our pre-ordered three course lunch. This café also stocks the not easily found local micro brewery Sint Canarus beers.
The price of this five-day Tour is £480 per person based on sharing a twin or double room with a single supplement of £150 if you want a room of your own. If you are travelling alone and want to share a room with another traveller, please contact Podge as we are often able to pair up travellers in a twin room to avoid the need to pay the single supplement. If you would like to secure a place please now send a deposit of £100 per person deposit to Podge.
TOUR 71 BEER & BATTLEFIELDS 2014 – Thursday 22 May – Monday 26 May 2014
The full itinerary for this great 100-year anniversary Beer & Battlefields tour is now on our website and can be viewed here. Highlights of the tour are:
An Ijzer River Cruise with a local Ijzerfront battlefield guide and a bar onboard
Walking tour of the Ganzepoot Complex, Nieuwpoort
Guided visit to Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) CWGC Military Cemetery
Visit to St Bernardus Kazematten Café, Ypres
Tour of the new Kazematten (Casemates) Brewery, Ypres
Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate, Ypres
Visit inside Talbot House, ‘Toc H’, Poperinge
A guided south salient tour of the Battle of Messines (7–14 June 1917)
visit to a rare WW1 brewery (Six-Colpaert) in Reningelst
three evenings free in each of Ypres, Poperinge and Veurne
As usual we have the services of Siobhan McGinn who is nearing the end of her Birmingham University MA British First World War Studies, and will be our guide to the battlefields and in her specialist subject, beer in the First World War.
TOUR 72 HOPS & POPS – Thursday 18 September – Monday 22 September 2014
This five day tour is based around the Poperinge area (‘Pops’ to First World War British soldiers). This region is justly famous for its hops. We will focus on the hop plant and explore its relationship with beer in the Westhoek, staying at the friendly Oude Abdij Hotel in Lo-Reninge. This Tour coincides with the famous Poperinge Bier- en Hoppefeesten which runs from 19-21 September 2014 and for the first time Podge’s Belgian Beer Tours will be taking in this festival of all things hoppy. We have arranged visits to several different hop farms. We are including the Hoppecruyt Hop Farm in Proven, where we will have a guided tour of the farm and harvesting and a unique opportunity to taste five different beers each brewed using a different hop variety grown on this farm. We will have a tour of the organic hop farm Plukker and a taste of the beer made with their hops at the farm brewery. We hope to call in at the artisanal chocolate makers Zokola in Proven to have a taste and opportunity to buy their Hop Chocolates “Hommeknopjes” made with local Van Eecke Tripel Watou beer and hops. We plan a tour and beer tasting at the Van Eecke Brewery in Watou and also in this brewers village will have a beer cuisine meal at the world famous Restaurant Hommelhof. Plans are afoot for a brewery tour of St Bernardus also in Watou for a look at their brewery and new hop field, which includes a beer tasting and a substantial beer gift to take home. There will be some free time in Poperinge for the festival and hop parade and we may even fit in a game of boltra. Visits are also planned to the spectacular Poperinge Hop Museum for an expert guided tour followed by a glass of Hommelbier.
The price of this five-day Tour is £470 per person based on sharing a twin or double room with a single supplement of £140 if you want a room of your own. If you are travelling alone and want to share a room with another traveller, please contact Podge as we are often able to pair up travellers in a twin room to avoid the need to pay the single supplement. If you are interested in this Tour please contact me now as this tour is also in high demand and will sell out quickly. You can secure a place by sending a £100 deposit.
TOUR 73 BEER & BATTLEFIELDS CENTENARY – Thursday 23 October – Tuesday 28 October 2014
SOLD OUT! See website Beer & Battlefields Centenary Tour for further details. More details will be issued soon.
TOUR 74 – CHRISTMAS IN BRUGES – Monday 22 December – Friday 26 December 2014
If you are up for getting away over the Christmas period this year put these dates in your newly acquired diary or better still contact us so you can be the first in the queue to register for this Tour. This five day tour will be based at the four star Hotel Academie near Minnewater in the centre of Bruges. For the third year running we will be enjoying Emelisse Brewery on Christmas Day, as well as lots of new beery experiences.
The price of this five-day Tour is £475 per person based on sharing a twin or double room with a single supplement of £140 if you want a room of your own. If you are travelling alone and want to share a room with another traveller, please contact Podge as we are often able to pair up travellers in a twin room to avoid the need to pay the single supplement. If you would like to secure a place please now send a deposit of £100 per person deposit to Podge.
TOUR 75 – THE ELEVENTH COMMANDMENT TOUR (Eat, Drink & Be Merry) – Thursday 2 April – Monday 6 April 2015
We are pleased to announce this tour which draws on the best of the Belgian Burgundian lifestyle with a divine twist. The tour will be based at the luxurious four star Hotel Park in the centre of Kortrijk, the West Flanders city which is fast becoming a major pilgrimage for connoisseurs of fine beer. This tour will take in both the sacred and profane of the beer world including some Trappists, Abbeys, and Monasteries plus a sprinkling of Nuns, Confessionals and a few heavenly beers along the way. Saints and sinners welcome. Tour price will be issued later in 2014.
TOUR 76 – LAMBICLAND & TOER DE GEUZE – Friday 1 May – Tuesday 5 May 2015
This Tour is designed for those who love Belgium’s Lambic beers and takes in the superb bi-annual lambic day, the Toer de Geuze on the Sunday. Over the five days of the Tour we aim to visit all of Belgium’s lambic brewers and blenders and the best of the specialised lambic cafes of LambicLand. By popular demand this Tour is based at the newly refurbished four star Hotel Keizershof in the centre of Aalst. We will also visit the Lambic Visitors Centre De Lambiek in Beersel (Alsemberg). There will be meals at the superb de Heeren van Liederkercke and Café-Restaurant 3 Fonteinen in Beersel, plus calling in at specialist lambic cafe In de Verzekering tegen de Grote Dorst. Tour price will be issued later in 2014.
Included in the cost of our Tours are:
Hotel accommodation and breakfasts.
All local tourist taxes
Luxury coach travel on a 49+ seater coach with toilet.
Pick up from Ipswich (Crown Street Layby), Colchester (Southway Chapel St South Layby) or Chelmsford (The Woolpack, Mildmay Road).
Arrangements can be made for different joining points on the way to Folkestone or even on the other side of the channel.
All Brewery visits, tours and brewery beer tastings.
Entrance fees to all group attractions, museums and historical sites.
All items marked with an asterisk on individual detailed tour itinerary.
Copies of Podge’s City Bar Guide & Map for the town or city where we stay or spend some time on Tour.
Free still and sparkling water on the coach.
Personal insurance is not included but is strongly advised, as is carrying the European Health Insurance Card available online, by phone or via the Post Office. If you would like to join us on any of the above tours or if you need more information please contact Podge on 01245 354677 or email email@example.com. Places are limited to the number of rooms booked, so book early to avoid disappointment.
Podge’s Belgian Beer Tours
Driving people to drink since 1994