Podge’s Belgian Beer Tours

Tour 93 / Beer on the Waterfront

Thursday 2 August – Tuesday 7 August 2018

We are delighted to launch this new six day Tour which is based at the excellently situated and lovely Novotel Gent Centrum. Ghent is one of the top beer destinations anywhere in Europe, just have a look at Podge's Ghent Bar Guide with over 100 hand-picked entries! On this Tour we will be exploring beer, breweries, cafes and beer-cuisine restaurants alongside the coast, rivers, canals, lakes and waterways of Belgium. We will be including in the Tour a day travelling on the brilliant coastal tram and fit in no less than three boat cruises with beer on board plus sampling the best of Belgian beer in high summer.

Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant, Gent

Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant, Gent, one of the city's many great beer bars.

We will first make our way to the ancient seaside town of Sint Idesbald and go to the Zeedijk (Promenade) to a lovely cafe restaurant Bière sur Mer (Beer-on-Sea!). They have an impressive 119 beers on the menu with eight on draught and bottles from breweries such as Brunehaut, Strubbe, Leroy, De Bie, De Ranke, Boon, Strubbe, Het Anker and Saint Feullien. The local St Idesbald beers served here are brewed by Brouwerij Huyghe in Melle.

We have organised a cruise of Nieuwpoort harbour*, the only natural port on the Belgian coast. Nieuwpoort is a tidal port situated at the mouth of the Yser and due to the rising popularity of water sports Nieuwpoort marina has become the largest marina of the North European coast. We will have a one-hour cruise around the ‘Goosefoot’ lock complex, passing the King Albert I memorial, we will sail out as far as the Ysermonding nature reserve and will take a tour of the impressive yachting Euro-Marina, and hopefully we catch sight of the harbour seals which increasingly bask on the concrete slipways here. A harbour seal in Nieuwpoort Yacht Marina - hopefully we'll see one on our harbour cruise

A harbour seal in Nieuwpoort Yacht Marina - hopefully we'll see one on our harbour cruise.

We will have a city cruise on a boat through the historic city of Ghent, which includes with a city beer Gulden Draak* (Golden Dragon) named after the one perched atop the belfry and brewed at nearby Ertevelde by Brewery Van Steenberge.

We are delighted to announce that we will be visiting Dok Noord, or the North Dockland. This old industrial area has been gentrified and old factory buildings have been turned into cafes, restaurants and pop-up summer beach bars with deck chairs. Naturally being Belgium there is a new brewery being built here, so we will, of course, visit and sample their beers, including their superb Excuse Me While I Kiss My Stout. Whilst in the area we are going to pay a special visit to another beer on the waterfront venue which is a bar/cafe-boat the Joint Dokkaffee with over 30 beers on board and we are arranging to have a group barbecue on the boat.

The new Dok Noord in Gent

The new Dok Noord in Gent, cafes, beer and water!

We will also travel to Ostend where we will provide everybody with a day ticket* for the tram and have the day free to travel on this fantastic coastal tramway. Travellers will also be provided with bar guides* for the best places for a beer (and food) along the western half of the tramway from Ostend to De Panne on the French border, all of which have been visited by Podge & Siobhan in the name of research over several hot summers! A tram map with all the 69 stops will be provided to travellers and trams run every 10 minutes in the summer season.

The Coastal Tram in Belgium - a great day out

The Coastal Tram in Belgium - a great day out.

The Tour will include a visit to Antwerp and a cruise of the port which is Europe's second-largest seaport (after Rotterdam). Of course the boat has a bar on board and serves Antwerp's own Bootjes Bier (Boat beer) which you v=can enjoy. After the port-cruise we will pay a visit to the new Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie (Antwerp Brew Company) who have their new brewery in the dockside area of Antwerp. This independent brewery began in 2011 and was established through crowdfunding. The brewery we will visit opened in late 2017 and they have a taproom in the middle of the brewery hall and fermentation tanks, where we can enjoy their flagship Seef* and a range of new beers. We will also have a meal at the brewery.

We will be calling in at the excellent Taverne Welkom which is a hotel and beer bar just beyond Damme, north of Bruges on the banks of the Napoleon Canal just before you hit the Netherlands. They have a stunning 130 choice beer menu.

We have arranged as our last extended stop on the return journey home a group meal at Bistro Nieuwege in Varsenare on the waterway which runs from Bruges to Ostende. This is one of the best West Flanders restaurants for food, and the beer list is superb. We always have friendly service from the lovely Didier, Sofie, Jim and Jay. Both the bottled beer list and especially the draught are exceptional and watch out for De Struise Brouwer specials. We find it hard to tear our travellers and ourselves away from this place.

As always we will be including a beer warehouse stop for those who want to replenish their Belgian beer stocks at home and this time we will visit Dominic and his family at Dranken Geers in Oostakker, the best beer warehouse in East Flanders. They do take credit cards.

The coach will pick up at The Woolpack, Mildmay Road, Chelmsford CM2 0DN at our usual time of 06.15hr, but of course we will pick up and drop at Colchester and Ipswich as well as agreed locations in Kent if travelleres require. On this Tour we will be travelling by P&O Ferries across the Channel and we are booked on the 09.25hr sailing on the way out and we are on the 19.55hr sailing on the return journey.

Beer drinking at Biere Sur Mer, Sint Idesbald (photo by Sebastien Dupont)

Beer drinking at Biere Sur Mer, Sint Idesbald (photo by Sebastien Dupont).

This Tour is still being built so keep an eye on this web page for updates. Please send Podge an email or call him on +44 (0)1245 354677 if you have any questions or if you would like to be added to our interested list for this Tour.

Tour Price is £885 per person sharing a twin or double room

Single Supplement: £225

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.

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 be added to the interested list please send Podge an email or call him on +44 (0)1245 354677.

All Tours are subject to our Terms and Conditions.

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