We hope you are all well and enjoying the last of the summer. We have been busy with the beer festival season, but here are some updates on future Tours.
TOUR 67 – TOTALLY TRAPPIST
Tuesday 1 October – Sunday 6 October 2013
This Tour is now sold out, and we will be emailing all Travellers separately with further news on the detailed itinerary, which are also on our webpage ‘Totally Trappist’. The balance for this Tour is now due so if you are joining us please contact Podge now as to settling up.
TOUR 68 – CHRISTMAS IN BRUGES
Monday 23 December – Friday 27 December 2013
Once again we are enjoying Christmas in Belgium with our Christmas Tour to Bruges and around West Flanders. This Tour has proved increasingly popular and the 2012 tour sold out fast, so if you want to join us then book now. We will again be based at the four star Hotel Academie, near Minnewater in the centre of Bruges. The tour is still taking shape but the itinerary will be something like this:
Make our way to Bruges via a meal at possibly the best bar on the coast den Toogoloog in Middelkerke and brewery visits* and tastings* at the innovative De Leite Brouwerij andBruges’s spanking new Fort Lapin Brewery.
A morning visit to the go ahead new family brewery Vicaris near Dendermonde. Most of the day will spent in downtown Gent armed with a Podge’s Gent Bar Guide.
After a late start we head off for a buffet, beer tasting and tour at the excellent Emelisse Brewery just over the Dutch border. We break our journey back to Bruges at a couple of stops including the superb café De Roeland in Sint Laureins with its great beer list, a new stop for our Tours.
A rural West Flanders winter café crawl, with our coach to a number of excellent country bars away from the tourist rail, but who have in common a warm Flemish welcome and a great choice of beer. Watch this space!
We make our way back home via the startling new one-man constructed Brewery Toye at Marke near Kortrijk for a look at his incredible installation and tasting room and a taster of his new beer* before we call in at Vanuxeem beer warehouse to fill our boots with beer to take home. There will be a last stop for a meal and a beer on our journey home. This itinerary will change as we get closer to the Tour itself but I hope this outline sets the scene.
The price of this five-day tour is £445 per person based on sharing a twin or double room with a single supplement of £128 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 regularly able to pair up travellers in twin rooms to avoid the need for payment of a single supplement. If you would like to secure a place, please send £100 per person deposit to Podge now.
TOUR 69 – BRUGES BEER FESTIVAL & BEYOND
Saturday 1 February – Wednesday 5 February 2014
This Tour takes in the annual Bruges Beer Festival as well as getting us out and about further afield in Flanders. It has recently been announced by BAB, the Festival organisers, that the festival has been so successful that they needed a bigger venue and have found one, still in the town centre, being the Beurshalle just off ‘t Zand Square. For this Tour we will be staying in the comfortable four star Hotel Academie near Minnewater and only a short stroll from Bruges Beertje. Our stay in Bruges will give us time to visit all the sights, the bars of Bruges and the Beer Festival itself and we will also have the opportunity to experience some visits to breweries and cafes outside Bruges in our coach and are planning some unique beer events in the city and elsewhere.
We are now announcing the price of this five-day Tour as £445 per person based on sharing a twin or double room with a single supplement of £128 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 regularly able to pair up travellers in twin rooms to avoid the need for payment of a single supplement. If you would like to secure a place, please send £100 per person deposit to Podge now.
TOUR 70 LEUVEN & ANTWERP
Saturday 26 April – Wednesday 30 April 2014
The Annual Zythos Beer Festival is now well established in its great new venue in Leuven and this tour coincides with that greatest of all Belgian Beer Festivals. We will spend two nights in the excellent Hotel Novotel Leuven Centrum followed by a two night stay in the majestic city of Antwerp, so we get a chance to sample the great beer and nightlife of these two famed Flemish cities. Our base for two nights in Antwerp is the newly revamped Hotel Ibis Antwerpen Centrum. More details of visits on this Tour and the Tour price will be issued later in the year.
TOUR 71 BEER & BATTLEFIELDS 2014
Thursday 22 May – Monday 26 May 2014
This will be our fifth Beer & Battlefields Tour. Once again our guide Siobhan McGinn will be taking us to some well known and some less well known sites to explain their significance in the Great War and also behind the lines to share the latest on her research subject, Beer on the Western Front. We are again based at the Oude Abdij Hotel in Lo-Reninge and will visit some local breweries and some brand new sites which we will have access to for the first time. We are at present working on an Yser river cruise on the Yserstar Boat which has a bar onboard and which will be stocking some special beers just for us. The boat sails from Nieuwpoort to Diksmuide along the 1914-1918 Belgian- German frontline, passing many crucial historic sites along this important river which halted the German advance in this area of the Western Front. This Tour will also incorporate some visits in the centre of the Salient, with a Ypres Ramparts walk which includes a visit to the new brewery and café in the Casemates and we will hear about the famous trench magazine The Wipers Times, which was printed in Ypres Casemates when the officers from the Sherwood Foresters were stationed there. More details of visits on this Tour and the Tour price will be issued later in the year.
TOUR 72 HOPS & POPS
Thursday 18 September – Monday 22 September 2014
This five day tour is based around Poperinge (‘Pops’ to First World War British soldiers) which is famous for its hops. We will focus on the hop plant and explore its relationship with beer in the Westhoek hop-growing country, 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 might even manage a beer or two as well as fitting in a visit to a couple of hop farms and a number of breweries. More details of visits on this Tour and the Tour price will be issued later in the year.
TOUR 73 BEER & BATTLEFIELDS CENTENARY
Thursday 23 October – Wednesday 28 October 2014
We are currently planning this very special centenary tour and have chosen October since the front line in the Great War in October 1914 had moved north to settle around the Ypres Salient in Belgium. We will be visiting some of the most historic sites exactly one hundred years on and will take in places connected with the first engagement of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) with the German Army, the First Battle of Ypres (19 October – 22 November 1914), the one hundredth anniversary on 29 October 2014 of the opening of the locks and sluice gates at the Ganzepoot in Nieuwpoort by Hendrik Geeraert, local skipper, which flooded part of the Westhoek and stopped the German advance in this tiny corner of Belgium. The commemorative events coincide with the opening in October 2014 of a 10 million Euro visitors centre at the Goosefoot complex itself in Nieuwpoort. We are planning plenty of other visits and events, including a visit to Mons and the sites connected with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) retreat from Mons and stand at Le Cateau. This Tour will be guided by Siobhan McGinn who should have just handed in her dissertation for her Masters Degree in British First World War Studies by this date! For this special six day Tour we will be based in the heart of the immortal Salient in Ypres at the luxury Novotel Ieper Centrum Flanders Fields. We will also call in at the excellent Poperinge Beer Festival which coincides with this Tour and take in some of the Great War sites in this town so special to the BEF. Because of the nature of this Tour, its Centenary timing and its length, the Tour will be more expensive than our other Tours, but is a unique opportunity to visit and join in the commemoration of this special event in world history. More details of visits and the Tour price will be issued later in the year.
For those who need to plan their Christmas leave well in advance our five day Christmas 2014 Tour is likely to start on Monday 22 December 2014.
Included in the cost of our Tours are:
- Hotel accommodation and breakfasts.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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