Podge’s Belgian Beer Tours

Tour 76 / LambicLand & Toer de Geuze 2015

Friday 1 May – Tuesday 5 May 2015

This five day Tour is designed for those who love Belgium’s Lambic beers and takes in the superb bi-annual lambic brewer and blender open day, the Toer de Geuze. Over the five days of the Tour we will endeavour to visit Belgium’s lambic brewers and blenders: We also aim to visit the best of the specialised lambic cafes of LambicLand. By popular demand this Tour is based at the newly refurbished four star Hotel Keizershof in the centre of Aalst. We will also call in at the visitors Centre De Lambiek in Beersel (Alsemberg). There will be meals at the superb de Heeren van Liedekerke and Café-Restaurant 3 Fonteinen in Beersel, plus a trip to specialist lambic cafe In de Verzekering tegen de Grote Dorst.

STOP PRESS: Great news from Pierre Tilquin. He has put together a fantastic-looking festival on Toer de Geuze eve, the Tilquin English Beer Festival 2015 + Open doors - see you there!

Barrels of Boon lambic beer.

Here is the detailed itinerary:

Friday 1 May 2015

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

07.10hr Coach pick up Esso Dartford Service Station, 474 Princes Rd, Dartford DA1 1YT.

07.40hr Coach pick up Maidstone Service Station, Junction 8, M20 Motorway, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, Kent ME17 1SS.

08.15hr Pick up at Stop24 J11 M20 near Folkestone Kent CT21 4BL.

10.15hr Ferry from Dover.

13.00hr Arrive Calais.

13.40hr Pick up one traveller at Verloren Gernoare, Stationsplein 3, Adinkerke 8660/De Panne

14.15hr Arrive at our first stop at Bistro Nieuwege in Varsenare for our pre-arranged lunch. Didier and his family run a superb canalside café restaurant with a superbly picked beer menu extending to 150+ excellent beers including usually some Struise Brouwers Beers on draught. Didier has said he will get a draught lambic beer in especially for our visit.

16.00hr Leave Bistro Nieuwege for the journey into LambicLand.

17.00hr Arrive at the Witte Paard in cobbled village of Kobbegem, the brewery tap of the Brouwerij Mort Subite for a taste of their excellent Oude Geuze.

18.30hr Arrive at the centrally located luxury four star Hotel Keizershof for a four night stay.

19.00hr After a brief check-in we set off on a locally-hired coach for Boon Brewery in Lembeek to join the first day of their three day festival in the brewery where you can see the new brewery which Frank and his son have built, taste the beers, grab something to eat and listen to the live bands.

Late return to Hotel Keizershof, Aalst.

Saturday 2 May 2015

10.00hr After a leisurely breakfast*, leave hotel by coach for:

10.45hr A special visit to a café that is opening just for us, the famed In de Verzekering Tegen de Grote Dorst (The Insurance Against Thirst) in Eizeringem run by the expert Paneels family who re-opened this café in recent times and have an unrivalled selection of lambics, Geuzes and Krieks.

12.30hr Arrive at the village of Beersel, the beating heart of LambicLand for a visit to the excellent Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen and a tour* and lambic tasting* by the master-brewer and great bloke, Armand deBelder.

14.00hr Lunch at the world famous 3Fonteinen Restaurant in the traditional heartland lambic town, Beersel. Here we will have our pre-booked beer cuisine lunch and a chance to sample some of the beers of 3Fonteinen brewery uniquely on draught here.

16.30hr After a short coach ride to the other end of the town we have a guided tour* and tasting* at the ancient Oud Beersel Geuzestekerij (geuze blenders), the creators of Oude Lambiek, Oude Geuze and Oude Kriek.

18.30hr Arrive at the most southerly and newest member of the Lambic blenders and brewers, Tilquin in Bierghes (Rebecq). Pierre Tilquin is holding a special Beer Festival at his blendery the day before the Toer de Gueze, the Festival de Bières Anglaises, English Beer Festival and he has invited over seven of the most innovative British breweries, being Kernel, Thornbridge, Burning Sky, Siren Craft Brew, Magic Rock, Brew By Numbers and Partizan. He has also invited French brewer Brasserie Du Mont Salève and wonderful Wallonian brewer Brasserie Artisanale de Rulles. We will of course be able to try Pierre’s fabulous Geuze, Kriek and other blended lambics, look out for his Alsatian Purple Plums.

21.00hrish Return to friendly city Aalst for a crack at its cafes, bars and estaminets, armed with Podge’s Aalst Bar Guide and Map*.

Sunday 3 May 2015

10.00hr After a leisurely breakfast*, leave hotel on the coach for the biannual Toer de Geuze. Over the years the Toer de Geuze has attracted more and more people and each venue gets quite crowded with those enjoying these open days and beers. We hope to have about an hour and a half at each venue and will announce exact times to be back on the bus on the day. At most of the venues you can buy a snack to eat on the hoof. All of the members of HORAL contribute towards a special Oude Gueuze beer brewed for the occasion and you should see bottles for sale at each of the venues of HORAL Mega Blend 2015 which is the third time it has been produced for this tenth Toer de Geuze. Here is the order we will go for:-

10.30hr Timmermans - Itterbeek This is the oldest lambic brewery dating from 1702 and again there are opportunities to sample their many lambic based beers.

Lindemans - Vlezenbeek Now being run by the 7th generation of Lindeman’s they started as a barley farm which made lambic on the side during the winters to employ workers year-round starting in 1809. By the 1930’s, brewing was so successful, they gave up farming. Good choice. Go for the Oude Gueuze Cuvée René and Oude Kriek Cuvée René if you want the real deal.

Hanssens - Dworp There will be a chance to try rare beers from this blenders including Hanssens Lambic Cassis, Hanssens Lambic Raspberry and Hanssens Kriek Lambic Schaerbeek (in limited quantities) for tastings and purchases.

De Oude Cam - Gooik. Although De Cam is not officially part of the Toer de Gueuze, Karel should be open for some time in the afternoon.

De Troch- Wambeek Hopefully we will have time to visit this attractive brewery, if we keep to time.

18.30hr Call in at the lovely rural Grill Restaurant De Lindenhoeve (Lime Tree Farm) in Hamme. We will have an opportunity to eat here, and they have said that they are happy for us to choose from the menu when we arrive.

21.00hr Arrive back at Hotel Keizershof in Aalst.

Monday 4 May 2015

10.00hr After a leisurely breakfast* coach leaves for a visit to:

10.30hr The Lambic Visitors Centre, the Bezoekerscentrum "De Lambiek"* in the centre of Alsemberg village. There will be a 10 minute film about lambic brewing and blending, plus exhibits, a beer shop and a bar where we can sample one of their draught lambic beers*.

12.30hr Arrive at Belgoo Brewery in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw newly opened in late 2014 by Jo van Aert . Here we can have a brewery tour and a taste of Jo’s beers*.

14.30hr Call in at world-famous beer cuisine restaurant and über-lambic bar Heeren van Liedekercke in Denderleeuw. We will have a pre-booked meal and a chance to choose some great brews from their amazing beer list, heavy on lambics if you are not already lambiced-out! After lunch we will make our way back to Aalst and we have arranged for great new beer café, shop and tasting cafe Ambarosa to open for us specially this evening so that we can come and try some new beers of the region which they sell. You can also buy bottles to takeway.

Evening at leisure in Aalst.

Tuesday 5 May 2015

10.00hr After a leisurely breakfast* check out of hotel. Coach leaves for our last day.

11.00hr Arrive at the historic Cantillon in the centre of Brussels for a guided brewery tour* and tasting* at this attractive old brewery. which was founded in 1900 by Paul Cantillon and the fourth generation runs it today. Since 1999 they use only organic ingredients and last year the brewery announced that it would be acquiring more maturation space doubling production by 2016-17. Things are looking much better in the lambic world since we wrote the first edition of LambicLand back in 2004.

13.30hr Arrive at Dranken Geers in Oostakker, the best beer warehouse in Belgium for an opportunity to buy beers to take home. They do take credit cards.

15.00hr Arrive at De Hoppeschuur, Kerkstraat 5, 9910 Knesselare. This is a fabulous eatery and brewery tap for the Urthel Brewery run by husband and wife team Hildegard van Ostaden, (the brewer) and Bas. Not only will we enjoy a pre-arranged meal here, we will have a unique opportunity to sample some of the 12 beers on draught all from Urthel Microbrewery.

19.50hr Eurotunnel train crossing from Calais.

19.30hr Arrive Folkestone.

19.40hr Coach drop Stop24 J11 M20, Kent CT21 4BL.

20.10hr Coach drop Maidstone Service Station, Junction 8, M20 Motorway, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, Kent ME17 1SS.

20.45hr Coach drop Dartford Railway Station DA1 1BP.

21.40hr Coach drop 102 Mildmay Road, Chelmsford CM2 0EA.

Tour Price: £485 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. Full balance payable five weeks before departure.

Included in the cost of this Tour: Hotel accommodation and breakfasts; 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. Please also have a look at our Terms and Conditions.