Podge’s Belgian Beer Tours

Podge Belgian Imperial Stout

A brief history of Podge Belgian Imperial Stout:

Podge Imperial Belgian Stout

August 2003

Podge contacts Alvinne about them creating a special beer for him.

May 2004

Tour 20 visits the excellent De Graal Brewery in Brakel for a tasting of their beers plus a new beer from Alvinne.

November 2004

Podge lays down a specification for a 10% abv Stout to be brewed for a sampling on Podge’s Belgian Beer Tour 23.

March 2005

Four different samples of the new beer tasted at Zythos Beer Festival each brewed with a different yeast. Tour 23 tastes the four beers at Alvinne’s first shed brewery in Ingelmunster brewery and the best is chosen.

July 2005

The beer is brewed and released to the public to great acclaim under the name Podge Belgian Imperial Stout.

January 2007

Ratebeer award a gold medal to Picobrouwerij Alvinne for their Alvinne Podge Belgian Imperial Stout in the category Best Beers of Belgium.

March 2007

Virgin French Oak barrel delivered to Alvinne courtesy of Felstar Brewery in Essex, UK.

September 2007

The first Alvinne Podge Oak Aged Stout is released.

October 2008

Podge Belgian Imperial Stout aged on Bourgogne oak barrel is released as Alvinne Podge Bourgogne Barrel Oak Aged. Since then various wood-aged beers have been created including Alvinne Podge Calvados Barrel Oak Aged and Alvinne Podge Glenrothes Barrel Oak Aged.

February 2009

Podge Belgian Imperial Stout goes down a storm on draught at Chelmsford Winter Beer Festival.

March 2009

Podge Stout (aged on Bourgogne oak) released as BBBurgundian Reserva at the Pre ZBF Babblebelt Festival at the new Alvinne Brewery in Heule.


Alvinne moves to a larger Brewery in Moen and to date continues to brew Podge Belgian Imperial Stout for the US market.

About Podge’s Belgian Beer 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. Belgium suited Podge, both being beerish and idiosyncratic. Life outside the mainstream appealed, which is why Podge & Siobhan spent so much time in a small country known to the few who share its secret delights and this need to taste, experience and know all about Belgian beer drove what would become Podge’s Belgian Beer Tours. Podge liked to tell people that he arranged the first tour so he could take a coach to Belgium and bring back beer for domestic use by the crateload. But that was only partly true. He couldn’t wait to share with his friends what he had discovered and enjoyed. Early tours were fun, exploratory and charmingly chaotic. In the days before Sat Nav to find breweries Podge relied on a ridiculously small-scale Michelin map on which breweries were unmarked and roads unnamed. One of the first breweries visited was De Bie Brewery supposedly in the village of Watou. Podge knew it was located on a street called Stoppelweg, but had no house number. How difficult could it be to find a working brewery down a small street? Podge got the coach to drive slowly down Stoppelweg until we were well out of the village and into the Flanders countryside. He made the coach stop outside the door of every house, got out and knocked at each door and enquired if they had a brewery out back. He found it. It was tiny and we had a brilliant time. This was the first of many small, out-of-the-way breweries run by mad enthusiasts which Podge would seek out, visit and support. This spirit of Podge’s Tours remains vested in Siobhan since his passing in 2018 and she is happy and proud to carry on Podge’s Belgian Beer Tours.

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