Podge’s Belgian Beer Tours

Tour 97 / The Waterloo Tour: Brabant’s Breweries & Battlefields

Thursday 8 August – Tuesday 13 August 2019

This is a great new six day Tour which combines a bit of military history (Siobhan's speciality) and a lot of Belgian Beer (also Siobhan's speciality). We will be exploring Brabant, its breweries and battlefields, the biggest being the field of the Battle of Waterloo fought on 18 June 1815. As this is August we have picked lots of cafes and restaurants with nice outdoor terraces so we can take full advantage of enjoying sipping a nice cool Belgian beer in the height of summertime in Brabant.

Waterloo Beer. A visit and beer tasting at the brewery are included in the Tour. The location is the historic Ferme de Mont Saint-Jean which served as a field hospital for British troops during the battle of Waterloo.

The detailed, timed itinerary for this Tour is below, and all items marked with an asterisk are included in the price of the Tour. 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 pay the deposit of £130 per person to secure a place or if you have any questions.

The Waterloo Tour: Brabant's Breweries, Beer & Battlefields - detailed itinerary

Day 1 - Thursday 8 August

Leuven Town Hall, probably the most beautiful in Belgium.

05.15hr Coach pick up Crown Street, Ipswich, Suffolk (opposite NCP Car Park).

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

08.00hr Coach pick up Stop24 J11 M20 near Folkestone Kent CT21 4BL.

09.06hr Eurotunnel Train Crossing from Folkestone.

11.00hr Arrive Calais. We make our way across northern France into Flanders.

12.00hr Our first stop is at the lovely farmhouse cafe restaurant ‘t Boeregat in Houtem. We’ll have a meal here and slake our thirst with our first, fresh Belgian beer. Found down a short track off the road, this is a rural Flemish gem and has small rooms filled with ye olde Flemish memorabilia, farming implements etc and has animals inside and out. The beer card has 40 choices from the cream of West Flanders breweries.

14.15hr Leave 'T Boeregat, Houtem.

15.15hr On our way to our base in Leuven we plan to pop in for a visit to Degustatie Cafe België Bierland in Bavegem which is a tasting cafe with a grand choice of 100 beers and is big on chocolate and beer pairing...nice.

14.15hr Leave België Bierland in Bavegem.

18.00hr Arrive at Pentahotel in Leuven, our base for the next five nights. It is in the centre of this great University city and has fitness rooms, a full buffet breakfast and a 24hour bar - not that you'll need it in this student city! Travellers are free to explore down town Leuven armed with Podge's Leuven Bar Guide* and Map*

Day 2 - Friday 9 August

The Lion Mound, Waterloo.

10.00hr After a leisurely buffet breakfast* we leave the hotel by coach for a day exploring the Waterloo battlefield, just south of Brussels.

10.45hr Everyone on Tour will be given a Pass 1815 ticket* which gives entrance into 7 attractions and museums which bring the historic day of 18 June 1815 to life. We will split the visits to these attractions over the Friday and Monday of the Tour, to give us plenty of time to see the following:

The Wellington Museum in Waterloo town.

The Memorial 1815 site.

The Lion Mound (200-odd steps up to this fine viewpoint over the battlefield).

The Panorama (housed in a round building which shows a 360° depiction of the battle painted in 1912 to celebrate the first centenary of the battle and restored in 2008.

The newly renovated Hougoumont Farm.

The Napoleon's Last Headquarters and Museum in Vieux Genappe.

The Mont-Saint-Jean-Farm (the British Ambulance Museum) and the Waterloo Microbrewery.

12.30hr Following some time at the battlefield sites, we are booked into a tour and beer tasting* at the Waterloo Brewery inside the Mont-Saint-Jean-Farm after the battle). This is owned by Timmerman's Brewery and we’ll have a brewery tour* and beer tasting* perhaps out of the ceramic chalices made on site especially for this beer. They also have a shop with foody, beery and local gifts.

14.00hr Leave Waterloo Brewery at Mont-Saint-Jean-Farm and make our way south to Genappe and to a group meal at the Cafe de la Lanterne bistro in the centre of the village. This is an old tavern with 70 beers on offer including beers from La Rulles, De La Senne and Lupulus. They have a great food menu and we'll have a rest and some refreshment here.

16.15hr Leave Cafe de la Lanterne, Genappe.

16.45hr We call in for a visit to De Kroon Brewery and Tap in Neerijse. This brewery was disused until well-respected Professor Delvaux and his sons reopened it in the old village brewery in recent times. We can try their expertly crafted beer* here fresh at the brewery tap, for Professor Delvaux is the brewing expert which brewers approach when something goes wrong. These beers are rarely found out of this area.

16.15hr Leave Kroon Brewery Tap, Neerijse.

17.30hr Arrive back at Pentahotel in Leuven for an evening exploring the city.

Day 3 - Saturday 10 August

Battle of Ligny and the Mill, then and now.

10.00hr After a leisurely buffet breakfast* we leave the hotel by coach for a day's jaunt around the other Waterloo battlefield sites of June 1815 and explore some of the action and memorials at Ligny (The Battle of Ligny, 16 June 1815) and Wavre (The Battle of Wavre 19-19 June 1815).

11.00hr Arrive at and explore the battlefield site at Ligny.

12.00hr Leave Ligny for a break at a great beer bar in this area of Wallonian Brabant, hopefully the Beer Bar in Louvain-la-Neuve with 150 beers and a dozen draughts (TBC).

14.00hr-ish Stop off at the Wavre battlefield sites to hear from Siobhan what went on here, prior to the main event on 18 June 1815.

15.30hr Arrive at the In de Molen in Bierbeek. This is a pretty place built into an old windmill and happens to have 150 beers on their card. Time for a little rest and refreshment here too.

17.00hr Leave In de Molen in Bierbeek.

17.15hr We finish up the Saturday of the Tour with a visit to the Nieuwhuys Brewery Tap in Hoegaarden in the late afternoon and if you’ve never tried their dark Alpaide (10%abv) with its pruney/liquoirice lusciousness, you are in for a treat. Siobhan will get everyone a beer here*.

19.00hr Leave 't Nieuwhuys Brewery Tap in Hoegaarden.

19.30hr Arrive back at Pentahotel in Leuven.

Day 4 - Sunday 11 August

In den Rozenkrans, Vlierbeek Abbey, Kessel-Lo.

10.00hr After a leisurely buffet breakfast* we leave the hotel by coach for a day exploring some of the pearls of Flemish Brabant beer culture.

We are planning to visit Taverne Rufferdinge at Landen sitauted next to a rustic watermill with 140 beers including plenty of regionals and lambics.

12.45hr Arrive in the lovely town of Diest, the home to the Duysters Brewery and their Loterbol beers which are rarely found outside this region. We'll have time free here to have a look round the town, including the Taverne de Biertempel which is a typical brown bar, with 180 beers including Loterbol and some lambic beers which are very far from home here! We'll have time to find a snack or meal here, so foraging is the order of the day.

16.00hr Leave Diest.

16.30hr Make our way back to Leuven via Moedermeule in Gelrode which is a brasserie attached a huge windmill built in 1667 and should stock local Hageland speciality beers.

17.45hr Leave Moedermeule in Gelrode.

18.00hr Our last stop of the day is to join the locals at a favourite location on a Sunday, the Benedictine Abbey of Vlierbeek on the outskirts of Leuven in Kessel-Lo. In the extensive Abbey grounds is a pretty old tavern called In Den Rozenkrans (The Rosary). This café is within the walls of the Abbey inside the Westgate. They sport a menu of 90 beers and have a very pretty outdoor terrace for evening vespers or a beer. As you choose!

19.00hr Leave In Den Rozenkrans in Kessel-Lo.

19.30hr Arrive back at Pentahotel in Leuven.

Day 5 - Monday 12 August

Napoléon Bonaparte, looking moody, as usual.

10.00hr After a leisurely buffet breakfast* we leave the hotel by coach for a visit to both headquarters (now museums) to the two great men at Waterloo Napoleon and Wellington. We will try to find out a) why Napoleon is so bloody popular here and b) why poor old Blücher is all but forgotten.

14.30hr We are aiming to eat at De Met in Overijse, the centre of the Belgian wine industry. Yes, who knew. De Met is on the main square near the St Martinus Church and next to the grapes museum. Mmmm. They offer a beer card of 100 choices and serve rabbit in a grape sauce. We will be eating here, but eating rabbit is not compulsory!

16.45hr Leave De Met in Overijse for a drive back to Leuven, stopping for rest and refreshment on the way no doubt!

Day 6 - Tuesday 13 August

Feniks Brouwerij, Heule, West Flanders...we'll have a tour and tasting here*

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

11.30hr We will pay a visit to Drankcenter Schotte in Waregem a beer warehouse with plenty of choice of beers so you can stock up on your favourite beers to take home.

12.30hr Leave Bierhalle Deconinck in Vichte.

13.00hr Call in at the excellent Feniks Brewery in Heule, West Flanders. This brewery is housed in the building previously home to Alvinne and Eutropius breweries. Siobhan is delighted to be taking people here, and it is a new brewery visit for Podge Tours (and we have done hundreds!). The brew-master is Gino Vantieghem who in the 1990s brewed at Quebec's Unibroue and made a big impact in the USA in the modern explosion of craft beers. Expect quality and quirkiness. Their Selfish Saison 6.7%abv is one for us blonde beer lovers and for you dark beer folk go for the 9.6%abv Heretique or the Jazz Black Oatmeal Delight at 10%abv. Here we will have a brewery tour* and a taste of their beer*.

14.30hr Our last stop will be a leisurely visit to a great beer cafe and restaurant in West Flanders where we will have a group meal and a crack at their beer menu. Siobhan is currently working on this one!

18.50hr Arrive Calais.

19.50hr Leave Calais on Eurotunnel train crossing.

19.45hr Arrive Folkestone.

20.00hr Coach drop Stop24 J11 M20, Kent CT21 4BL.

21.00hr Coach drop Dartford Railway Station DA1 1BP.

21.45hr Coach drop off The Woolpack, Mildmay Road, Chelmsford CM2 0DN.

22.00hr Coach drop off at Premier Inn Victoria Road, Chelmsford CM1 1NY.

Tour Price £895 per person based on sharing in a twin or double room

Single Supplement: £225

If you are travelling alone and want to share a room with another traveller please contact us 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 email or call on +44 (0)1245 354677.

All Tours are subject to our Terms and Conditions.

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