Podge’s Belgian Beer Tours

Tour 68 / Christmas in Bruges 2013

Monday 23 December – Friday 27 December

Once again we are running our Christmas Tour to Bruges and beyond. This has proved increasingly popular and we sold out on the 2012 Christmas Tour, so if you want to join us then book early. We will be based at the four star Hotel Academie once again, near Minnewater in the centre of Bruges. The tour will include days out with our coach including a Christmas Day buffet, beer tasting and tour at the excellent Emelisse Brewery just over the Dutch border.

Bruges in the snow

Here is the detailed itinerary:

Monday 23 December 2013

05.15 Coach pick up Crown Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 3HS (opposite NCP Car Park)

05.45 Coach pick up Chapel St South Layby Southway, Colchester CO2 7BA

06.15 Coach pick up The Woolpack, Mildmay Road, Chelmsford CM2 0DN

07.00 Coach pick up 7 Mays Siding, London Rd, Swanley, Kent BR8 8EE

07.20 Coach pick up Maidstone Services, J8, M20, Kent ME17 1SS

09.20 Eurotunnel from Folkestone

11.00 Arrive Calais

12.00 The first stop will be at the fantastic and friendly beer café Toogoloog in Middelkerke, run by Karin and Dirk, for our pre-booked beer cuisine lunch which will be served with appropriate beers. You will also have an opportunity to choose from their brilliantly picked beer list of 125 beers.

15.00 Arrive at De Leite Brewery in Ruddervoorde on the outskirts of Bruges run by Luc and Carine. This is an unusual brewery is housed within Luc’s shop fitting metalwork factory, Helbig. We will have a tour* round this small, modern brewery and a taste of their brilliant beers*.

17.00 Call in at our second brewery of the day Fort Lapin on the Bruges ring road. We will have a tour of this new brewery* and sample their Fort Lapin 8 and the new Quadrupel beer Fort Lapin 10.*

18.30 Arrive at four star Hotel Acadamie. Maps of Bruges* and copies of Podge’s Bruges Top 10 Bar Guide* will be distributed. For those who would like a full Bruges bar experience we will have copied available for sale of our 2013 third edition book Around Bruges in 80 Beers. Evening free to explore Bruges. No doubt many will make their way to Brugs Beertje (Daisy’s), which closes on the 24 and 25 December for Christmas.

Tuesday 24 December 2013

10.00 Head off by coach from Hotel Academie.

11.00 Call in at the new all-singing, all-dancing Dilewyns Brewery in Dendermonde who brew Vicaris range of beers, run by the lovely Dilewyns Family, in particular two sisters, one of which is the brewer. We will have a tour* of their new brewery and have a taste of some of their beers*, hopefully including their new Winter beer.

13.00 Arrive in the beautiful Flemish city of Ghent for a free afternoon where you can find some lunch and a few beers armed with Podge’s Downtown Ghent Bar Guide. Ghent Christmas Market is open today until 18.00hrs and is situated around the Cathedral at Sint-Baafsplein. They have live jazz, folk and rock performances, as well as Christmas carols and a skating rink. There should also be a Winter Dream with Ice Skating Rink at the recently refurbished St Pietersplein. Expect a giant Ferris wheel, winter fun fair, food and drink stalls. As it is Christmas Eve not all bars and cafes will be open, but there are plenty in this area, and there should be enough for us!

18.00 Leave Ghent for the drive back to Bruges.

19.00 Drop at Hotel Academie in Bruges for an evening at leisure in the city.

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Christmas Morning at leisure in Bruges. You may want to take in the fabulous Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival in marquees on the square in front of the railway station – bring your gloves!

12.00 Leave hotel in Bruges and make our way under the River Schelde by tunnel into Holland.

13.45 Arrive at Emelisse Brewery on the island of Kamperland. Emelisse are taking the Dutch beer scene by storm. Expect to be astounded by their beer range. We will have a welcome drink*, followed by a brewery tour* and tasting* of three of their marvellous beers. We will then partake of a luxury Christmas buffet lunch.

17.00 Leave Emelisse.

18.15 Arrive at Café Roeland in Sint Laureins, just back over the Belgian border, which offers a beer menu of over 100, including a good selection of Trappist beers, so we should all find something we like.

Arrival back at Hotel Academie in Bruges for an evening at leisure in the city.

Thursday 26 December 2013

10.00 Head off by coach from Hotel Academie.

10.00hr Head off by coach from Hotel Academie.

10.30hr Arrive at Strubbe Brewery in nearby Ichtegem which can trace its heritage back to 1830. We will have a tour* and beer tasting* guided by sixth generation master brewer Marc Strubbe. Hopefully we will hear about some of their new projects including aging beer in oak.

12.30hr Call in at the imposing Café Rembrandt at Zedelgem with its choice of over 100 beers to keep you happy. The house speciality is Wallonian La Chouffe on draught and the delicious hot Chouffe Coffee, perfect for Boxing Day.

14.00hr Arrive at De Buuzestove at Eernegem for our pre-ordered meal and a beer or two from their extensive beer menu.

16.30hr Pay a visit to Klien Risico at Snellegem for a beer or two before returning at this newish brown café with a smart beer list and democratic prices, as the Belgians say.

Arrival back at Hotel Academie in Bruges for an evening at leisure in the city.

Friday 27 December 2013

10.00 Set off from our hotel for the journey home.

10.45 We pay a visit to the brand new Toye Brewery at Marke just outside Kortrijk. This was hand built and is run by brewer Geert Toye and it took him three years to complete the brewery using bits of old breweries he had collected over the years. His one beer at present is Goedendag (Good Day) which is an 8%abv blond beer and we will have a tour* of this small brewery followed by a tasting of Geert’s beer.

12.15 Leave Toye Brewery

12.45 Call in at beer warehouse Vanuxeem in Ploegsteert, the biggest beer warehouse in this part of the world, for an opportunity to buy beer to take home.

14.00 Arrive at friendly family run Café A La Basse Ville in the village of Wulvergem. Here we will have a pre-arranged lunch and a beer or two.

16.00 Leave A La Basse Ville.

16.25 Coach drop off two travellers in Poperinge.

16.30 Call in for our last stop to a typical Flemish café Au Nouveau Saint Eloi just south of the village of Watou. Here we will being the area known as “aan de schreve”, or on the border. This café is on a small road down the middle of which runs the Belgian French border, but this café is in Belgium! Here we will have an opportunity for a last beer in Belgium with a choice of over 110 beers on their menu which includes a great selection of Lambics from Cantillon, Boon, Girardin, 3 Fonteinen, and Mort Subite.

18.00 Leave for Eurotunnel.

19.50 Leave Calais on Eurotunnel.

19.30 Arrive Folkestone.

20.10 Coach drop off Maidstone Services, J8, M20, Kent ME17 1SS

20.40 Coach drop off 7 Mays Siding, London Rd, Swanley, Kent BR8 8EE

21.20 Coach drop off 102 Mildmay Road, Chelmsford CM2 0EA

22.15 Coach drop off Chapel St South Layby Southway, Colchester CO2 7BA

22.45 Coach drop off Crown Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 3HS (opposite NCP Car Park)

Tour Price: £445 per person

Based on sharing in a twin or double room. Single Supplement: £128. 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 payments of Single Supplements.

All detailed itinerary times are local and approximate. All food and drink (apart from those marked with an asterisk* on the detailed itinerary) and all passport and insurance costs are each traveller’s responsibility. Personal insurance is not included in the Tour price, 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 or have any questions please call Podge on +44 (0)1245 354677 or send Podge an email. Please also contact Podge to get details of how to send a deposit of £100 per person for this Tour. Full balance payable five weeks before departure.

Included in the cost of this Tour: Hotel accommodation and breakfasts; Hotel city taxes; Luxury coach travel on a 49 seater coach with toilet; All Brewery visits, tours and brewery beer tastings; Entrance fees to attractions, museums and historical sites; All other items marked with an asterisk on the individual detailed tour itinerary; Copies of Podge’s City Bar guide and Map for the town or city where we stay or spend some time on Tour; Free still and sparkling water on the coach; 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. Tour terms and condition here.