Archive for May, 2012

Happy Living in Utrecht

Molen “De Ster”

Half a year ago I moved out of Amsterdam and in to the province of Utrecht. Favorite hangouts like the Adelaarsnest and In The Wildeman are now farther away and my trips to De Bierkoning are less frequent. But both the province and city of Utrecht have much to give the lover of good beer. The province boasts at least 8 breweries, mostly located in and around the city if Utrecht and Amersfoort. Sure, there are more provinces with 8 or even more breweries but what makes Utrecht stand apart is the high overall quality. For this reason last year the first Utrechts Beerbrewersfestival was held and on May 19th the 2nd took place in downtown Utrecht, right under a rebuilt sawmill.

This is a perfect location for a festival, helped by the exceptionally nice weather. Not too crowded, a ramp to sit on near the water with farm animals nearby. Great setting for a nice beer. And nice they were. Present were De Leckere, Valleibieren, De Rooie Dop, Duits & Lauret, Houtens Brouwcollectief, Maximus, Oudaen and Eem. They brought a total of 20 beers. The booklet was informational and, first time I have seen it, had QVC codes linking to the websites of the breweries.

We started off with a beer from a brewery which I had heard a lot about already but had not tasted before. De Rooie Dop’s Double Oatmeal Stout

The Rooie Dop line

did not disappoint. We wanted to try their IPA later but the line in front of their stand was very long that we opted for something else. Rooie Dop’s  beer is good enough that we will find it at more shops, bars and festivals. The Houtens Brouw Collectief brought a very nice honeybeer. A nice smooth beer with some hints of honey that was also a winner.

An earlier article about Duits & Lauret was the most read post ever on this blog. So I was more than excited to try a new beer: the Neder. Even though this beer is different from the other D&L beers it still felt like a Duits & Lauret. It is unfortunate that is limited, only available in 20 liter keykegs. This beer deserved a release in smaller bottles.

Duits & Lauret

The Dutch Beer Pages are not the only fans of Duits & Lauret. A high profile panel that included Derek Walsh, Jeroen Carol-Visser, and Rick Kempen voted their stout the Most Valued Beer of Utrecht, something we can only agree with.

The festival was a huge success. The lines in front of the stands were long and the people behind it could do nothing else than just pour some delicious Utrechts beer. Great location, perfect weather and tasty beers make for a great festival. I am happy to have moved to this province.

Beer History in Delft with Aad van der Hoeven

In an earlier piece we wrote about a few days in Delft and the many good bars available there. We also discussed the beer that proudly bears the name Delft.

The man behind this beer and also behind the renewed historical interest in beer from Delft is Aad van der Hoeven.

As mentioned before when we think of Delft we automatically think of Vermeer paintings, Delfts Blauw china and the royal family. At certain times there were around 200 breweries however  within the city walls. A fact that has been snowed under.

Aad’s passion for Delft beer history went so far that he even wrote a book about it. For the publication of the book a beer was brewed called Mueselare. A few of the local restaurant- and bar owners were present at the release party and wanted the beers. Through word of mouth more establishments joined and you can now get the Delft beers in a lot of places in the downtown area.

The beers they release are old fashioned, historical beers. They even found two old recipes in the archives of the Van Berckel family who ran the last operational brewery in Delft. The beer is not brewed in Delft but at Klein Duimpje in nearby Lisse.

The Delft Beerhistorical Society organizes tours through Delft where they talk about the history of Delft beer. Last year alone they organized 30 walks and 6 lectures and they are always full, as were the tastings they organized.

The beers are sold well and right now they released a new beer to celebrate the 5 year anniversary. It is a stout brewed with coffee. A historical wink to the Dutch East India company who brought stout beer on their trip to Asia and brought back coffee.

There are enough reasons to visit Delft, but let the beer history of that beautiful city be one of them and whenever you are eating or drinking somewhere in Delft look on the menu for the local beer.

Visit www.bierhistoriedelft.nl for more information. It is in Dutch only but that shouldn’t stop you.

Image