Podge’s Belgian Beer Tours

Westmalle glass

forthcoming tours

Podge’s Belgian Beer Tours was founded by Podge, aka Chris Pollard back in 1994 and is now run full-time by his wife, co-beer-writer and co-traveller for thirty years, Siobhan McGinn. Podge was famous for his encyclopaedic knowledge of Belgian beers, breweries and culture but Siobhan is not far behind him. On a recent Tour Siobhan overheard one traveller say to a fellow traveller ‘Siobhan – she knows her stuff’. She and Podge travelled in Belgium for over twenty years both with Tours and alone on ‘research’ tours and visited hundreds of Belgian breweries and probably thousands of cafes.

Podge & Siobhan at Leuven Innovation Festival 2016

Podge & Siobhan at Leuven Innovation Festival 2016.

As well as a Belgian beer expert, Siobhan is a historian and an expert on beer in the First World War in Flanders. She has a Master’s degree from Birmingham University in First World War Studies, and her dissertation was on Alcohol, Moral and Discipline in the British Army in the Great War in the area around Poperinge. This expertise is why some Tours are focussed on the Great War (and beer). Siobhan personally conducts each Tour and loves to tell travellers on the coach microphone about Belgian culture, cow breeds, dog carts and the meaning of obscure Flemish road signs. Given that Siobhan also has a degree in English Law, and another two Masters degrees in Victorian Studies and English Literature, is an Egyptologist and an expert in Victorian taxidermy, she is rarely short of subjects to talk about. You need a vacation. You need a beer. You need a beercation. Come and join Siobhan on one of the following great tours:

Tour 97 / The Waterloo Tour - Brabant's Breweries, Beer & Battlefields

Thursday 8 August 2019 - Tuesday 13 August 2019

This new six day Tour encompasses an exploration of beer and battlefields in Belgium in the province of Brabant which covers the field of the Battle of Waterloo. We'll be visiting loads of the excellent smaller breweries packed into this area and staying at the beautiful Pentahotel in Leuven, in Flemish Brabant. Siobhan (Mrs Podge) is your guide to all things historical and knows her way round a Belgian beer - she has clocked up well over a hundred breweries on Podge's Tours over the last twenty years or so and would be delighted to have you along! Read more.

Tour 98 / The In Flanders (Hop) Fields Tour

Friday 27 September – Tuesday 1 October 2019

This brand new Tour is a four-night Tour staying at the pretty Oude Abdij Hotel in Lo at a beautiful time of year. It will explore the beers and hops of West Flanders at the end of the hop picking season, but will also include a unique chance to find out what was going on with beer 100 years ago in this area. More particularly, what British soldiers were drinking in Flanders which caused so many courts martials for drunkenness to take place, making it one of the top ‘crimes’ in the British Army. Siobhan will give a couple of evening lectures revealing new information coming to light in her researches into alcohol and the British army in the Great War from findings at The National Archives in Kew. Let me know if you want to go on the interested list for this one- price to be set later in 2019! Read more.

Tour 99 / Christmas in Antwerp 2019

Sunday 22 December 2019 – Friday 27 December 2019

We love Belgium (and winter beers) at Christmas and we love taking a coach full of like-minded people. If you want something different to the usual Christmas routine, why not come away with us and get driven around Flanders (and the Netherlands) in a coach to eat and drink in warm cosy surroundings and sample the finest offerings of Belgian beer culture. Read more.

Tour 100 / The Black Beer Tour 2020

Thursday 21 May 2020 – Tuesday 26 May 2020

This exciting new tour focuses on the black beers of Belgium. This Tour was inspired by Kaffee Bazaar in Ypres, the only café we know which has a separate, huge black beer menu and also by our travellers insatiable desire for Struise Brouwers Black Albert beer - a mighty 13%abv Royal Belgian Stout. We are staying for five nights at Novotel in central Mechelen, the historical home of Belgium's dark beers and a good base from which to explore those breweries who make great dark beers and cafes with a tendency that way. A visit to the inimitable De Struise Brouwers will form part of the Tour. This Tour will sell out so if you want to join us better reserve a place with your deposit soon. Read more.

Tour 101 / Beer on The Waterfront Tour 2020

Thursday 6 August – Tuesday 11 August 2020

This six day Tour explores beer on waterfront locations such as the coast, lakes, canals, rivers and moats. Our base is Ghent Novotel and we'll be visiting loads of excellent breweries and cafes in Flanders and beyond. Read more. Belle-Vue sign

Tour archive

Browse past tours here. You can also browse previous tours on our old website here.