Podge’s Belgian Beer Tours

Tour 98 / In Flanders (Hop) Fields Tour

Friday 27 September – Tuesday 1 October 2019

This is great new four night Tour staying at the pretty Oude Abdij Hotel in Lo, West Flanders, at a beautiful time of year. It will explore the beers and hops of West Flanders at the end of the hop picking season, but will also include a unique chance to find out what was going on with beer 100 years ago in this area. More particularly, what British soldiers were drinking in Flanders which caused so many courts martials for drunkenness to take place, making it one of the top ‘crimes’ in the British Army. Siobhan will give a couple of evening lectures revealing new information coming to light in her researches into alcohol and the British army in the Great War from findings at The National Archives in Kew.

British and Australian Soldiers enjoying a coffee. But was it always just coffee? (Image AWM).

Our first stop will be at the new Bar Bernard Brewery Cafe restaurant and Tasting room built on the top of St Bernardus Brewery in Watou. It has 360 degree views over the Flanders landscape. We'll have a group meal here and slake our thirst with a beer or two from this great Flemish brewery. There will be plenty of other visits to battlefield sites, Commonwealth War Graves Cemeteries - one especially containing men from a forgotten group of soldiers in the Great War - NCOs or Non-Commissioned officers.

Siobhan has been doing work on courts martials and Sergeants and will focus some of the tour on her findings. We will visit cafes and pubs or as they were known in the war estaminets some of which were actually serving soldiers behind the lines ion the Great War and we'll look at what happened to brewing in Flanders during the war and what soldiers actually drank when in the Salient. We are aiming to visit:

    Bar Bernard, Watou

    Dozinghem Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery (CWGC)

    Seizoensbrouwerij Vandewalle, Reninge

    Vanuxeem Beer Warehouse, Plugstreet

    Molenhof, Oostvleteren

    National Hop Museum, Poperinge

    't Hoppcruyt Hop Farm and Tasting Room, Proven

    WW1 BEF (British Expeditionary Force) Billet Numbers on Proven House Fronts

    Colne Valley CWGC

    Iron Cross Corner

    Welsh National Memorial Red Dragon, Pilkem Ridge

    The Ledwidge Memorial

    Hedd Wynn Memorial

    Hoog Crater CWGC and Museum & Café

    An evening out in Ypres, Poperinge and Veurne…and more

A Trappist beer at Sint Sixtus Monastery Brewery, Westvleteren.

Australian Sergeants Mess Christmas Dinner, Siobhan's research reveals strains on Sergeants as the war progressed (Image AWM).

No battlefield tours are quite like these. Tours for the curious, led by the passionate.

We are based in Chelmsford, Essex and we usually use Eurotunnel at Folkestone to get to and from Belgium by coach. Most of our Travellers join us at our main pick up point outside The Woolpack, 23 Mildmay Road, Chelmsford. Many of our Travellers come from other parts of UK and abroad and stay the night before a Tour (and often the night of our return) at Chelmsford Travelodge only a few minutes walk from The Woolpack or Premier Inn near the Station, about a 10 minute walk to the pick up point at The Woolpack. We all usually pop in to The Woolpack the night before departure for a meet, greet and a few beers with Siobhan who is your Tour Manager, Tour Guide and drinking pal for the duration.

Our Galloways luxury coach (49 seater coach with toilet) starts from Suffolk and on the way to Chelmsford picks up at the following if required:

Ipswich, Crown Street, IP1 3HS (opp. NCP Car Park).

Colchester, Southway, CO2 7BA (pull in adj to Chapel St South)

Chelmsford, The Woolpack, 23 Mildmay Road, CM2 0DN.

Dartford, BP Garage (formerly Esso), 474 Princes Road, DA1 1YT (we drop off on the return leg at Dartford Rail Station DA1 1DR).

Swanley, Unit 4, Moreton Industrial Estate, London Road, BR8 8DE

Maidstone Services J8, M20 Kent, ME17 1SS.

Premier Inn, Eureka Leisure Park, Rutherford Rd, Ashford TN25 4BN.

Stop 24 Services, J11, M20, Kent, CT21 4BL.

De Verloren Gernoare, Stationsplein 3, Adinkerke, Belgium.

Our crossings for this Tour are booked as the 0920hrs Eurotunnel from Folksestone to Calais outbound and the 1950hrs Calais to Folkestone inbound on 1 October 2019.

This Tour is still being built so keep an eye on this web page or our newsletters for updates. If you want to join Siobhan on this Tour please send her an email or call on +44 (0)1245 354677 for details on how to pay the £140 pp deposit to secure a place.

Tour Price is £750 per person sharing a twin or double room

Single Supplement: £185

We regret that we need to charge a single supplement for travellers who would like their own room. This is because increasingly there is no such thing as a single room price in hotels and room prices for a single person or two person occupancy are either the same or with very little difference. If you are travelling alone and want to share a room with another traveller please contact Siobhan as we are regularly able to pair up travellers in twin rooms to avoid the need for payment of the Single Supplement.

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 join us please send Siobhan an email or call on +44 (0)1245 354677.

All Tours are subject to our Terms and Conditions.

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Travellers on Podge's Beer & Battlefields Tour contemplating the Dodengang - the Trenches of Death.