Podge’s Belgian Beer Tours

Tour 57 / Bruges Hop Over 2012

Saturday 4 February – Monday 6 February 2012

This three day, two night Tour takes in the Fifth Bruges Beer Festival and is based in Bruges. We also add in an optional Sunday jaunt in East Flanders to the great Bosteels brewery and a lunch stop in Flanders flower-growing district.

Kettle at Bosteels brewery

Bosteels brewery.

Saturday 4 February

05.15 Coach pick up at Crown Street layby, Ipswich.

05.45 Coach pick up Southway Layby, Colchester.

06.15 Coach pick up The Woolpack Mildmay Road, Chelmsford.

09.20 Eurotunnel Train Crossing from Folkestone.

11.00 Arrive Calais.

12.00 The first stop will be at ‘t Potje Pate in Alveringem for a superb West Flanders lunch and our first Belgian beer chosen from their excellent beer menu. This is the café outlet for the famous and highly regarded De Veurn’Ambachtse pâté and charcuterie makers. Owner Jan Missiaen is the fifth generation of fine butchers in this area and is famed for his high quality, handmade pates, Rillette, Potjesvlees, pressed meats and terrines.

14.30 Leave on coach for Bruges and the newest hotel in Bruges, a short walk from the centre of Bruges.

15.15 Arrive at Bruges Etap Hotel and check in. Copies of Podge’s Top Ten Bruges Bar Guide* and a City Map* will be provided. Afternoon and evening free to explore Bruges Beer Festival which takes place in the Halletoren in the Markt Square and maybe a café or two.

Kettle at Bosteels brewery

Tour of Bosteels brewery, Buggenhout.

Sunday 5 February

10.00 Leave Hotel Etap after breakfast and head off by coach for a special brewery tour.

11.00 Arrive at Buggenhout and the fantastic Bosteels Brewery, creators of the iconic Kwak, Karmeliet Tripel and Deus beers. We will have a brewery tour* and a beer tasting* in their comfy tasting room.

13.30 Call in at the lovely café restaurant Bloemenlust in Wetteren for lunch and a few beers from their superb menu of around 100 beers.

16.30 Arrive back in Bruges in plenty of time to enjoy the Bruges Beer Festival which closes at 21.00 today and/or a wander round the great bars and cafes of Bruges.

Kettle at Bosteels brewery

Brewer Luc at De Leite brewery, Ruddervoorde

Monday 6 February

10.00 Leave Hotel Etap after breakfast.

10.30 Call in at Drankencentrale Rotsaert one of Belgium’s top speciality beer warehouses for an opportunity to buy some specialist beers to take home at great prices.

12.00 On the way back to the coast we take in a visit to the bijou De Leite Brewery in Ruddervoorde. Here we have a brief brewery tour* and a beer tasting* which hopefully will include their new beer Ma Mère Spéciale.

14.00 Arrive at the friendly Bistro Nieuwege in Varsenare opposite the canal for a cracking pre-ordered Flemish lunch and some great quality beers. Their food is excellent and includes Flemish Beef Stew made with Westmalle Dubbel, Ham Knuckle in Mustard Cream Sauce and the ever delicious Spare Ribs. They also have a great beer list of more than 150, with always something special on draught.

16.45 Finally on this tour we are delighted to be calling in at an excellent brand new beer café just outside Veurne at Steenkerke. The Kunstemaecker has around 50 beers, all superb quality, no fillers, including eight from Struise Brewers, three De Ranke beers, four Het Anker beers and a good range of lambic beers. They also have two unique beer selling points in West Flanders which is to offer Girardin Lambic on draught which they collect from Girardin themselves and also Valeir Blond on draught.

18.00 Leave Kunstemaecker for Eurotunnel, Calais.

19.50 Leave Calais on Eurotunnel Train.

09.30 Arrive Folkestone.

21.15 Arrive Chelmsford, drop off at Mildmay Road.

22.00 Arrive Colchester, drop off.

22.30 Arrive Ipswich, drop off.

All above times are local and approximate. Food, drink, passport and insurance costs are your responsibility. The items marked* are inclusive of the tour price. This tour fits in nicely with Chelmsford Winter Beer Festival which starts on Wednesday 1st February 2012. Our map of Central Chelmsford shows the location of the Winter Beer Festival, the Travelodge and The Woolpack, our Chelmsford stop on our Tour joining points. For those of you coming from out of town there are special deals to be had at the Chemlsford Travelodge if you are staying overnight.