We love Belgium (and winter beers) at Christmas and we love taking a coach full of like-minded people. This year we are staying for five nights in the city of Antwerp at the central Ibis Hotel and we will spend Christmas Day in a brewery. To get an idea of the sort of visits and brewery Tours we include on the Tour have a look at the itinerary for our Christmas in Antwerp Tour 2017.
For this Tour we will take the coach on the 08.36hr Eurotunnel crossing from Folklestone to Calais which is an hour earlier than our usual crossing and return on the 19.50hr from Calais to Folkestone for the return leg. This Tour is still being built so keep an eye on this web page for updates. If you want to join us on this Tour please send Siobhan an email or call her on +44 (0)1245 354677 to find out how to pay the deposit of £100 per person or if you have any questions about this Tour.
Christmas Day will be spent in a beautiful warm brewery, the Slot Oostende Brewery and restaurant in Goes in the centre of the town, next to the church. This is a brewery, restaurant and hotel housed in a modern building on the site of the old castle Slot Oostende, bits of which still exist, particularly the fine vaulted cellars where we will have our pre-lunch buffet beer tasting (included in the tour price*)We will spend the day here, beginning with a brewery tour* followed by the beer tasting of four beers in the medieval vaults*. Their beer range include:
Slot Oostende BLØF Aan, a golden ale of 5.0% abv
Slot Oostende Poortwachter, a porter at 7.0% abv
Slot Oostende Schorre bock, a doppelbock of 8.0% abv
Slot Oostende Blonde Jacoba 5.0 % abv
Slot Oostende Dubbel Slot, an abbey-style dubbel of 7.0% abv
Slot Oostende Gouden Gans, an abbey-style tripel at 8.0% abv
Slot Oostende Straffe, a non-India pale ale of 6.5% abv
Slot Oostende Wit Voetje, a German-style Heffe Weißen of 4.5% abv
Following the beer tasting we proceed to the beautiful restaurant for our pre-arranged group meal. In the restaurant they offer over 60 beers with sixteen on tap including their own brews and some from Emelisse, both on tap and in the bottle. For dark beer lovers they offer eight different stouts. The buffet lunch includes fresh homemade beer soup, smoked ham with melon, various breads, tapenades and herb butter, salad with tuna, salad with marinaded chicken, meatballs in mushroom sauce, homemade beef stew cooked in house beer, homemade schnitzel, chicken in a satay sauce, lasagne Bolognaise, pasta ribbons with fresh herbs, herb cheese and crème fraiche, several sorts of potato dishes and frites, various vegetable dishes and a dessert buffet including fresh seasonal fruit, several sorts of bavarois (a dessert made with cream and custard) and other varieties of sweet dishes. The meal includes two beers. We will arrive back at our Hotel in Antwerp at around 18.30hrs.
Other visits which have been arranged are:
A visit to Boelens Brewery in Belsele. Podge Tours visited here in 2007 so we are overdue for a re-visit. Their beers are superb quality and we should be able to try some of their seasonal dark spiced beer Santa-Bee (8.7%abv). Here we will have a tour of the brewery* and a beer tasing*.
Our first stop at one of our absolute favourites in Belgium, Bistro Nieuwege in Varsenare. This pretty waterside café is on the banks of the Ghent-Brugge-Oostende canal and is run by the friendly Didier, Sofie, Jim & Jay. Their beer list is staggering and runs to a whopping 126 choices, usually with plenty of world-topping De Struise Brouwers beers. Here we will have our pre-arranged meal and slake our thirst after the early start from Blighty.
Our last stop of the tour before leaving for Eurotunnel at Calais is the fabulous beer restaurant Hof van de Hemel in the beautiful town of Veurne. We will have a pre-arranged group meal here and a crack at their beer list which extends to over 100 choices including an assortment of rarities. This is one of Veurne’s oldest houses and you can see the recently discovered fire break passage to enable water to reach crowded buildings at the rear, the width of a man carrying two buckets. there will probably time to explore a couple of other beer cafes on the pretty town square, including a recent addition with a good beer list and friendly dog.
We will spend a day in the lovely town of Breda with its Christmas festivities and a good spread of beer bars and cafes which can be explored armed with Podge's Central Breda Bar Guide.
Of course we will be visiting a beer warehouse to stock up on bottled beers to take home and we will be going to Dominic's Dranken Geers in Oostakker, the best beer warehouse in East Flanders.
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.
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.