Podge’s Belgian Beer Tours

Tour 70 / Leuven & Antwerp

Saturday 26 April – Wednesday 30 April 2014

This fabulous beer connoisseurs Tour takes in two of Belgium’s finest cities, the twin Flemish jewels of Leuven and Antwerp – both long famed for their culture and beer. We will spend the first two nights in the luxury Hotel Novotel Leuven Centrum followed by a two night stay at the revamped, centrally based Hotel Ibis Antwerpen Centrum. We will have an opportunity to explore these great cities, each with a different flavour. Leuven, historical University City and Antwerp the ancient port and artistic centre but both share a lively beer culture and great nightlife.

Leuven

Antwerp

This tour will visit Leuven at the time of the annual national Zythos Beer Festival and we will include at least one visit to this premier beer festival in Europe at which you can choose from hundreds of Belgium’s finest beers. We look forward to taking the Tour for our first visit to this new venue in Leuven. This Tour itinerary offers the amazing opportunity to visit a huge ten breweries or brewery taps along with a host of hand-picked cafes and restaurants in West Flanders, Flemish Brabant and Antwerp provinces. The itinerary looks something like this:

Day One sees an early start with coach pick-ups at Ipswich, Colchester, Chelmsford and as agreed in Kent ,after which we make our way to Folkestone for the 09.20hr Eurotunnel Train. We make our way into Belgium and first stop is at the fantastic beer village of Oostvleteren where we have a meal at the picturesque ’t Witte Paard Restaurant. The White Horse was voted the friendliest café in West Flanders and was used in the filming of Belgian mini-series The Forests of Flanders. Following lunch we take a walk round the corner to the mighty Struise Brouwers for a quick visit and a chance to buy some of their rarer bottles. We then proceed over the road to the working windmill and the brilliant Molenhof Café where we can have a go at their beer menu of 123 beers. We then board the coach heading for Leuven with a special café stop on the way. Following check-in at the comfy Novotel we can either explore the great nightlife of this student city armed with Podge’s Leuven Bar Guide or catch the free shuttle bus from the nearby station out to the festival with all it has to offer (we will also get an opportunity to go to the festival on Sunday too).

Molenhof Oostvleteren

‘t Molenhof Oost-Vleteren.

After the great Hotel breakfast on Sunday we start by calling in at the innovative Hof ten Dormaal brewery for a quick tour and tasting* on our way to ABS Drinks warehouse in Winksele. Our visit coincides with their annual beer festival, so those not choosing their beers to take home can sit back and relax with a beer. Lunch will be at the friendly Herberg in de Ster in Wezemaal before going on to the new municipal Aarschotse Stadsbrouwerij which has recreated the traditional local style of brown ale and we will get a taste*. We then make our way back to Leuven via a drop at the Zythos Beer Festival on the way back to the hotel, for an evening’s relaxation. On Monday we make our way to our second city base, and for many Belgium’s best beer city, Antwerp. We travel north via two new brewery taps, where we can sample their offerings* at the Kroon Brewery in Neerijse and the brand new Campenhout Brewery at their Café Labo. Lunch will be taken in the historic religious Belgian city of Mechelen, with some free time in the city centre.

Kroon Brewery, Podge with Freddy Delvaux.

Tuesday, Day Four, takes us north to the excellent Dochter van de Korenaar Brewery in the enclave of Baarle-Hertog for a look at the brewery and a taste* of their superb beers (especially the dark, smooth Embrasse). We then pop over the border into Holland for a visit to Breda and Café Restaurant and Brewery De Beyerd for a meal and a taste of their brews. We travel back to Antwerp taking Cafe Den Hoek in Zundert near to the world's newest Trappist Brewery, Trappistenbrouwerij de Kievit. We will have the opportunity to taste the newest beer along with plenty of others from the cafe's fantastic beer menu. We will drop in downtown Antwerp at Pakhuis Huisbrouwerij for those still peckish, or those who fancy a café crawl of this part of town, near the River Schelde.

De Rotse Zundert

Cafe De Rotse, Zundert.

On our final day of the tour we make our way back to the Eurotunnel Train at Calais via a final beer tasting* at Paenhuys Brewery in Nieuwkerken-Waas near Sint-Niklaas for a beer sampling of three from their range of Schapenkop Tripel, Puitenkop Bitter Amber and Zwarte Zjef Stout. We will call in for a beer or two at De Rotse in Dikkelvenne, the brewery tap for family brewer Contreras. We’ll also fit in somewhere nice to eat with a decent beer list, and a last stop near the border for a farewell beer prior to catching the train at 19.50hr from Calais. The itinerary for this Tour is still being built so come back for regular updates. Contact Podge for more details, or to book this Tour now.

Tour Price: £480 per person based on sharing in a twin or double room

Single Supplement: £150

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.