No.1 travel guide for Belgium; dedicated to Belgian beer and food culture.

Beer & Battlefields: The Passchendaele Tour

Email  •  Print

Author: Erik Verdonck / Published: 2015-01-22 10:28:28 +0100 / Last Updated: almost 2 years ago

The Passchendaele Pub At the Passchendaele Pub

ZONNEBEKE/YPRES - Following on from the launch of Passchendaele, its WWI commemorative beer, Castle Brewery Van Honsebrouck has now introduced the Beer & Battlefields Passchendaele Tour. The Passchendaele tour Eric guiding us through the trenches...
Part of the proceeds from the sale of Passchendaele beer go towards the community of Zonnebeke to help finance the organisation of commemorative events..

The Passchendaele Tour provides visitors with a deeper understanding of the war as it was fought in Flanders Fields and you could not wish for a better guide than retired Belgian para commando Eric Deprez.

Listen to the stories he is telling and you will get the impression that he was there in person.

Even one hundred years after the atrocities, the traces of the First World War are still felt deeply in Flanders Fields, the area around Ypres and Poperinge where the front was based for years on end. In the battle fought around the village of Passendale alone, half a million people lost their lives.

The Beer & Battlefields Passchendaele Tour programme takes an entire day and starts with a visit to the Passchendaele Memorial Museum 1917 in Zonnebeke.

Here you will gain a general understanding of the Battle of Passendale by means of reconstructed tableaux, you will delve into the underground passages where the soldiers were forced Passchendaele War museum Inside the museum at Zonnebeke
to live like moles and experience first-hand what life in the trenches was like.

A few kilometres away you will find Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth military cemetery on the continent with 12,000 gravestones and walls displaying the names of 35,000 soldiers missing in action.

It remains a lasting, emotional experience to wander around and reflect quietly amongst the sea of white crosses that flows into the polders of West Flanders.

It was here, in Flanders Fields, a century ago it rained bullets and bombs for years and soldiers from both sides fought hard to advance by only a few metres. The war would rage on for more than four years, leaving millions on both sides dead and maimed.

The Passchendaele Pub The Passchendaele Pub

The Third Battle of Passchendaele

In Passendale Church we admire the stained glass window, commissioned to honour the 66th East Lancashire Division and donated in 1923 by the people of the UK county of Lancashire. We rinse away our emotions in Passchendaele beer A welcome refreshment
The Passchendaele Pub, just across from the church. Here, you can browse war literature.

A glass cabinet displays fragments of bombs, bullets, helmets and other military objects that have been excavated in the area. Even now, bomb disposal teams are called upon from time to time to deactivate a First World War bomb.

Just like Passendale, the village of Langemark was razed to the ground. On 22 April 1915 a chemical attack was carried out here for the first time ever. The Germans discharged chlorine gas that was carried by the wind into the direction of the Allied troops.

The tour also includes the German Student Cemetery in Langemark that is notable by its sober, pared-down design.

The gravestones are laid out flat on the earth. Why? Our guide Eric Deprez: “Several conditions were imposed on Germany, the losing country. For instance, it was not allowed to engrave the name of one individual on one single gravestone and the stones could not be installed upright, Essex Farm Essex Farm
as that would have been the symbol of victory”.

Our next stop, Essex Farm in Boezinge, is a site of pilgrimage for the thousands of British students visiting Ypres.

Many of them leave brief notes, teddy bears, crosses and flowers on the grave of Private Valentine Joe Strudwick. He was barely 15 when he lost his life here.

Also on this spot, John McCrae (a Canadian military man, doctor, author and surgeon during the Battles of Ypres) composed his world-famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’.

After Essex farm we also stop at 'Brandhoek' where 512 Commonwealth casualties of the Third Battle of Passchendaele are buried and remembered. Among them Capt. Noel Chavasse, one of only three soldiers to have been awarded the Victoria Cross twice..

Hops, Hoppecruyt At "Hoppecruyt"

To the Hop Fields!

Remembering the Great War almost makes us forget that the Poperinge area is the traditional hop barn of Belgium. The Van Honsebrouck brewery procures its Belgian quality hops from t Hoppecruyt Hoppecruyt Hopfarmer Benedikte
in the village of Proven near to Poperinge.

Hop farmer Benedikte is guiding us around her farm. She tells us the story of sustainable hop farming, pays attention to the local delicacy of ‘hopscheuten’ (hop shoots), the flowering and harvesting of hops and invites us to take a walk through the fields and across the farmyard.

This hands-on visit would not be complete without the sound of hop picking tunes, accompanied by an accordion, and small but beautiful tastings from the extensive range of Van Honsebrouck beers. And so, this story ends on a cheerful note.

The day culminates in an apotheosis. We attend The Last Post held at the Menin Gate in Ypres. The Last Post was originally sounded to signal the end of the day, after the inspection of the sentry posts.

The Last Post bugle call can now be heard every day at 20:00. It is sounded by the members of the Last Post Association to honour the dead of WWI. This daily ritual goes back as far as 1928 and the only time it was not performed was under the German occupation of Ypres between May 1940 and 6th September 1944.

It is a unique experience to absorb the silence together with hundreds of people and then to hear the trumpets sound a daily salute to the millions of soldiers and civilians who lost their lives a century ago during the Great War.

The Last post, Menin gate The Last Post at Menin Gate

More Information, Prices & Bookings

At present the tour is only available for groups via Event Mosaïc, a specialised event and incoming company based in Flanders with more than 20 years of experience in events, team building and tours.

Special business arrangements as well as customised packages are available on request.

Event Mosaïc
Koning Albert I laan 40
Tel: +32 (0) 50 39 15 89


More about the Passchendaele beer

Facebook: Passchendaele Beer

Recent Blog Posts

Anthony Martin, a Belgian brewer with British roots
GENVAL - It’s 1909 when John Martin, a Brit, makes his home in Antwerp, earning his living by provisioning sailing vessels. Before long John’s deliveries are heading onto the ships of the Red Star Lin ... [ read more ]
Brussels Beer Challenge 2017, the results are in!
NAMUR - At the 6th edition of the Brussels Beer Challenge, hosted this year by the city of Namur, Belgium once again lived up to its cast-iron reputation as one of the most important beer countries in ... [ read more ]
Hop picking time at Palm Belgian Craft Brewers!
STEENHUFFEL - The annual hop harvest at Palm Belgian Craft Brewers is truly a festival of and for the people. We survey the busy crowds on the last Sunday in August in the hop field in the shadow of t ... [ read more ]
Lindemix... the art of blending Lambic by Lindemans
VLEZENBEEK/DILBEEK - It is often said that lambics are only for those with an experienced palate. At Brouwerij Lindemans, one of Belgium’s favourite brewers of this traditional style, they beg to diff ... [ read more ]
Omer Vander Ghinste celebrates 125 years of brewing craftsmanship
KORTRIJK/BELLEGEM - It was in 1892 that Brouwerij Omer Vander Ghinste opened for business in Bellegem, a village near Kortrijk in West Flanders, close to the French border. Since then, ... [ read more ]


You must be logged in to leave a comment



Beer & Battlefields: The Passchendaele Tour

ZONNEBEKE/YPRES - Following on from the launch of Passchendaele, its WWI commemorative beer, Castle Brewery Van Honsebrouck has now introduced the Beer & Battlefields Passchendaele Tour. Part of... [ more ]

Passchendaele, the Great War remembrance beer

ZONNEBEKE/YPRES - Throughout the British Commonwealth, the name of Passendale is just as well-known as that of Ypres and Flanders Fields. This is where half a million soldiers lost their lives in World War I. ... [ more ]

Brewing for the future with Castle Brewery Van Honsebrouck

IZEGEM/INGELMUNSTER - Summer 2015: the first test brews are flowing out of the tanks at Castle Brewery Van Honsebrouck’s new brewery in Izegem. There have been no rash or rushed decisions from these brewers.... [ more ]


More Beer

Passchendaele is one of the more recent additions to the extensive range offered by Castle Brewery Van Honsebrouck. This beer was brewed in collaboration with the 'Memorial Museum'... [ more ]

Beer Tourism Newsletter Signup

Enter your name and email address on the right and click "SignUp" to join.