Podge’s Belgian Beer Tours

Tour 102 / Operation Belgian Beer: WW2 & Beer in Antwerp Province

Friday 18 September – Wednesday 23 September 2020

Tis a brand new unique Beer & Battlefields Tour exploring beer and the bridgeheads of Antwerp province in September 1944. This is a five night, six day tour staying at the Hotel Corbie in the centre of the town of Geel - the eye of the storm which was the Battle of Geel fought in and around this Flemish town between 8-23rd September 1944 and was one of the largest and bloodiest battles during the Liberation of Belgium during the Second World War.

Geel, centre of the Battle of Geel September 1944 and our base at Hotel Corbie

Geel, centre of the Battle of Geel September 1944 and our base at Hotel Corbie.

Your tour guide, Siobhan McGinn, is a specialist in Belgium and beer in the First World War but she has been inspired to design this Tour by one of Podge Tours regular travellers whose father was in the 15th (Scottish) Division in the Second World War and who took part in the Battle of Geel. He was wounded in September 1944 and returned to England. With access to published Battalion war diaries we can follow his actions. We also have unique access to photos, his dog-tags and personal army papers and family reminiscences which we can use to follow what happened to him, and other allied forces who were here in September 1944.

Second World War Bailey Bridge at Mol

Second World War Bailey Bridge at Mol.

There are plenty of Second World War sites to visit in this area peculiarly situated next to canals and bridgeheads which formed the focus of the fighting around Geel.

De Dool, Houthalen-Helchteren where we'll stop for a Ter Dolen beer...or two

De Dool, Houthalen-Helchteren where we'll stop for a Ter Dolen beer...or two.


A Sherman Firefly Tank Memorial, Antwerp Province.

We will visit Second World War extant Bailey Bridges at Mol and we'll have a look at the 15th (Scottish) Division Memorial in Tenaard. We'll find out what a 1970s Spartan combat vehicle is doing in this part of Belgium and what it has to do with WW2 liberation. We shall have a look at the US forces contribution to the fighting in this area, including visiting the site and memorial of a downed Waco CG-4A Glider and a Sherman Firefy Tank parked up next to a waterway which saw action in September 1944. Well have a look at some of the touching memorials to downed allied planes in these parts and in particular Avro Lancasters and Handley Page Halifax bombers. We'll take a look at some of the 'Stumbling Stones' in this area and their link with the German occupation in the War. We will spend a day in the beautiful city of Antwerp and not only visit a brewery there but take a tour of a concrete Second World War ship built to supply German U-Boats and now parked up in Antwerp docks. There will be a visit to a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery where the men who fought to liberate this part of Belgium in the Second World War rest, specifically those men who lost their lives in the fighting for the bridgeheads around Geel. 1944 Liberation Memorial, Meerhout - Spartan which we will visit

The 1944 Liberation Memorial, Meerhout, which we will visit.

Did you think we'd forgotten the beer? Certainly not. This is a beer tour after all. We aim to visit some of the best breweries, beer cafes and beer restaurants in Antwerp Province including the Westmalle Trappist Monastery brewery Tap in Malle (Cafe Trappisten) where we can slake our thirsts with THE world's best Dubbel and Tripel anywhere, period. There are some great breweries in Antwerp Province and we are aiming to arrange a brewery tour and beer tasting at some, if not all of the following:

Nest Brewery in Turnhout

De Vlier Brewery in Holsbeek

Hof ten Dormaal in Haacht

De Dool Breery in the castle at Houthalen-Helchteren

Remise 56 Brewery in Kooersel, a new venture and good things are said of it and its beers.

Westmalle Dubbel & Triple at Cafe Trappisten, Malle - we'll pop in for a sherbet or two

Westmalle Dubbel & Triple at Cafe Trappisten, Malle - we'll pop in for a sherbet or two.

We are based in Chelmsford, Essex and we usually use Eurotunnel at Folkestone to get to and from Belgium by coach. Most of our Travellers join us at our main pick up point outside The Woolpack, 23 Mildmay Road, Chelmsford. Many of our Travellers come from other parts of UK and abroad and stay the night before a Tour (and often the night of our return) at Chelmsford Travelodge only a few minutes walk from The Woolpack or Premier Inn near the Station, about a 10 minute walk to the pick up point at The Woolpack. We all usually pop in to The Woolpack the night before departure for a meet, greet and a few beers with Siobhan who is your Tour Manager, Tour Guide and drinking pal for the duration.

Our Galloways luxury coach (49 seater coach with toilet) starts from Suffolk and on the way to Chelmsford picks up at the following if required:

Ipswich, Crown Street, IP1 3HS (opp. NCP Car Park).

Colchester, Southway, CO2 7BA (pull in adj to Chapel St South)

Chelmsford, The Woolpack, 23 Mildmay Road, CM2 0DN.

Dartford, BP Garage (formerly Esso), 474 Princes Road, DA1 1YT (we drop off on the return leg at Dartford Rail Station DA1 1DR).

Swanley, Unit 4, Moreton Industrial Estate, London Road, BR8 8DE

Maidstone Services J8, M20 Kent, ME17 1SS.

Premier Inn, Eureka Leisure Park, Rutherford Rd, Ashford TN25 4BN.

Stop 24 Services, J11, M20, Kent, CT21 4BL.

De Verloren Gernoare, Stationsplein 3, Adinkerke, Belgium. Brewery Tap Remise 56, Beringen - we'll go for a brewery tour and tasting

Brewery Tap Remise 56, Beringen - we'll go for a brewery tour and tasting.

This Tour is still being built so keep an eye on this web page or our newsletters for updates. If you want to join us on this Tour please send Siobhan an email or call her on +44 (0)1245 354677 for details on how to be added to the interested list (no obligation) or if you have any questions about this Tour. Brewery Tap Remise 56, Beringen

Brewery Tap Remise 56, Beringen - we'll go for a brewery tour and tasting.

Hof Ten Dormaal Brewery, Haacht where we will have a beer tasting and tour

Hof Ten Dormaal Brewery, Haacht where we will have a beer tasting and tour.

The Tour price will be announced later in 2019

When Brexit and the Euro have done what they are going to do! The price is per person sharing a twin or double room. We regret that we need to charge a single supplement for travellers who would like their own room. This is because increasingly there is no such thing as a single room price in hotels and room prices for a single person or two person occupancy are either the same or with very little difference. If you are travelling alone and want to share a room with another traveller please contact Siobhan as we are regularly able to pair up travellers in twin rooms to avoid the need for payment of the Single Supplement.

Included in the cost of this Tour are:

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 items marked with an asterisk above and on the individual detailed tour itinerary when issued;

Copies of Podge’s City Bar Guides and Maps for the town where we stay or spend some time;

Still and sparkling water on the coach;

Pick up from Ipswich (at bus shelter outside Crown House, Crown Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 3HS (opposite NCP Car Park), 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.

Travellers are responsible for the costs of all food and drink apart from items marked with an asterisk on the detailed itinerary plus all passport and insurance costs.

All itinerary times are local and approximate.

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 have any questions or would like to join us please send Siobhan an email or call on +44 (0)1245 354677.

All Tours are subject to our Terms and Conditions.

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