Archive for November, 2014

30,000 and counting

30000When I posted the first articles on this blog 5 years ago I never thought that at the end of 2014 the blog would have been viewed 30,000 times. There seems to be a lot of interest in Dutch beer from all over the world and some people apparently seem to enjoy reading about it. I have enjoyed writing about festivals, new bars or shops and brewers. When it comes to those brewers I have them to thank for their often excellent replies. They say that the best people in a certain field also give the best answers. It is no coincidence then that three of my favorite articles to write were about Duits & Lauret, Rooie Dop and Het Uiltje. Brewers with so much passion it is a lot easier to write about them.

It is amazing how much has changed from view 1 to 30,000. New brewers pop up almost every week and breweries that were already doing fine are doing better. Of course some have folded over the years but that’s only natural in a branch of business like brewing.

There has been a shift from mostly German and Belgian style beers to more English and American. Westcoast hops are used often and when new breweries put their first beer on the market they often start with an I.P.A.-type beer instead of a blond or tripel. Just look at all those new Amsterdam brewers I have written about lately.

Dutch beer booming

2014 saw one of the biggest highlights and a confirmation that something interesting is happening when Dutch brewers were invited to a huge beer festival in Portland, Oregon, the new brewing capital of the world. It shows that people all over the globe are interested, and not just here in Holland where some people might buy local beer for the heck of it. As part of the whole local food fad beer is a perfect product. A product that supermarkets and restaurants are interested in too. More and more beer- and food pairings are possible and people are starting to see beer as more than just something to drink while watching football.

The quality of the beer is getting better too and is starting to get recognized. Dutch brewers are winning prizes at prestigious festivals in Japan and Belgium. Every year Dutch brewers are raking in more medals, and new brewers are winning as well.

Exciting Developments

The post that broke the 30,000 mark brought the exciting news that one of the best brewers in the country, Robbert Uyleman, is expanding with a bar and bottleshop for het Uiltje. This after Jopen expanded their brewery with a new bottle line and tasting room and a few days before Duits & Lauret made known they are moving into an old fortress to the south of Utrecht. More about that in a future post. In Amsterdam interesting things are happening. This year saw the opening of new brewpubs (Troost for example) and beer-themed bars and shops all over the city. De Vriendschap just opened a BrewLab and Bret will open soon, another great place for beer lovers. And it’s not just here. Exciting things are even happening in the North, a region that for a long time lagged behind the rest of the Netherlands. New breweries and bars have started or will start soon there..

What exemplifies craft brewing all over the world is the spirit of comradery. All the brewers help each other and are not enemies. Robbert’s bar will serve beer from many great breweries from all over the world. The number of collaboration brews is still rising as well, with better and better results.

What people look for on the blog

Interest in the blog comes mostly from the Netherlands. Since basically everyone here has a good grasp of English the articles are read by the locals. The countries where most of the other views come from all make sense. Neighbors Belgium, German and the U.K. bring in a lot of viewers yet most views come from The United States. Number 5 on the list is another up-and-coming beer nation, Italy. The blog had 1 view from countries like Laos, Brunei, Saint Lucia, Nepal, Isle of Man and more. These are numbers from February 2012 till November 24, 2014.

Top 5 best read articles

The best viewed page is the page with the great beer places to visit, because this is a page and not a blogpost I haven’t included it in the list.

  1. The Beer Café
  2. Utrecht to Portland
  3. Drinking Beer in Groningen
  4. Amsterdam’s Golden Quartet
  5. De Prael

Top 5 Clicks

What links do people click on when they’re on the page. They go here:

  1. Brouwerij De Molen
  2. Pint
  3. De Prael
  4. Harry Pinkster’s page (the map with all the breweries)
  5. Bert’s Bierhuis

Referral

How do people get to the page:

  1. Search Engines
  2. Facebook
  3. Reddit
  4. Twitter
  5. Duits & Lauret

Search Engine Terms

  1. Dutch Beer
  2. Dutch Beer Pages
  3. Borefts Beer Festival
  4. Dutch Brewery
  5. De Prael

I am very proud of the fact that on Google this blog shows up on page 1 when you enter the search terms “dutch beer” or “dutch craft beer”. It has always been my attention to spread the word about great Dutch craft beer and the 30,000 viewers and people I have met in person tell me that I apparently I am doing something right. So brace yourself for more!

The Owl spreads his wings!

It didn’t take long for Robbert Uyleman and his brewery Het Uiltje to become one of the leading voices of craft beer in the country. His barrel-aged Meneer de Uil series is a classic and his other, mostly hoppy, beers are so good that it is hard to look for equals. The “Met je Cascade Groene Trui” (you and your Cascade green sweater) has been getting rave reviews and will be made again. He has made the anniversary beer for the Beer Temple and this will be the house beer. So when you are over in Amsterdam and are going to the Beer Temple, try it.

This is all good news, but it pales in comparison to this news:

Het Uiltje will open a bar and bottle shop!

That’s right. The success has led to het Uiltje having its own space in downtown Haarlem. In February a bar will open in the Zijlstraat. And it won’t be just a small bar with two beers on tap. You will be able to choose from 30 different taps. That’s right, thirty, dreizig, trente, XXX. 12 of those will be for het Uiltje beers, and some of those will be for beer that will only be sold here. Think more Meneer de Uil beers, single hop IPA’s and more. The other 18 will be for other Dutch breweries and from the rest of the world. My guess is the experience will be like the Beer Temple. Every time you’re in the bar, there will be more beers you have never had than beers you once tasted and you feel so very very small, like a speck of dust in an ever expanding universe.

If you can’t wait for the bar you can get your Uiltje beer bottles in a new store that will open next to it. This shop will open in December. Expect the same thing as in the bar; all the Uiltje beers and great ones from Europe and the U.S. You can also get your Uiltje gear here and merchandise from other breweries. The IPA’s will be cooled as Robbert is adamant that these are consumed as fresh as possible.

Growler

Het Uiltje bar and shop will be one of the first in the country where you can fill a growler. You can choose from any of the 30 taps or you can use that same growler to walk over to the nearby Jopenkerk and fill it up there. This means there are around 45 different beers at any time to buy.

A new owl

This expansion means that there would be too much to do for Robbert alone. Het Uiltje is now joined by Tjebbe Kuiper who will be in charge of the bar and shop while Robbert will keep making those awesome beers.

It’s another big step in Dutch brewing, and it’s great to see that someone who has shown the passion and craftsmanship like Robbert will get more outlets and attention. Het Uiltje has been one of the best things to happen to Dutch craft beer, and it shows no sign of stopping for now.

Eanske

The collaboration brew; one of the many new trends in beerland we applaud. Today a collaboration of a different sort. Proeflokaal Mout, run by Susan Huitinga, is working on the funding of a new tasting room in Groningen that will only serve Dutch beer. We here at the Dutch Beer Pages share a similar goal: letting the world know about the great new Dutch beer scene. So we decided to work together. Maybe on articles in the future, for now we will translate some of MOUT’s articles into English for this blog, and Dutch for her blog.

This is the first article, about a man with an unbridled passion for beer who recently started his own brewery in Enschede, called Eanske. This article was posted on the 25th of September on MOUT. All the words and pictures are theirs.

Brouwerij Eanske

Oscar Moerman (c) Proeflokaal Mout

 

The autumn wind almost blows us off the road when we enter Enschede. A perfect time for bock you could say. Not according to Oscar Moerman, the jovial man behind Eanske: “if you think commercially you brew a bock, but I prefer originality”. This apparently means brewing an Imperial Schwarz at 7,5%, for people not fond of a full-bodied porter or a bitter stout; a good pick-me-up in this miserable weather. This beer was released in October, contrary to their lambik, which you can pre-order. “At the moment the barrels are still in the cellar of a nearby liquor store and when you buy it in 2015 you have to let it rest for another year.”

Oscar started experimenting with this beertype since 2002. In 2006 he made a Dutch geuze with the Kinhem brewery, but these were his hobby years. The hobby turned into an actual brand with beers like the 1325 (American Pale Ale) and the Heilige Jacobus [Holy Jacob] (Light IPA), two beers that according to us can be a little more outspoken. We do not see the guts and enthusiasm that Oscar brings to the beerworld. However in the Donkere Dagen we recognize a lot more of his creativity.

Apart from brewing, Oscar is busy with everything that deals with beer and people. He produces BrouwTV, started a digital beer encyclopedia, is active in discussions on beer message boards and is a member of the ‘Twents Beerbrewersguild’. “Brewers are missionaries, there is no competition between people sharing a hobby” One such cooperation is the Smoky Lady, brewed by Oscar and Ruud of Brouwerij De Eem. The inspiration for this came when he received peated smoked malt from Brouwerij Liefde.

Oscar and Eanske can be found on many beerfestivals. “Microbreweries have it hard, you have to know how to sell your beer and not just stand there. I enjoy talking about my profession and my product with people who are interested.

Big breweries have it a lot easier and even use the trend. Brand now has their annual brewing competition, amateurs deliver the recipe and Brand releases it. They will soon release an IPA made by amateur brewer. It does make the public at large come into contact with new beer types and craft brewing. Brand is taking along the smaller brewers.

Oscar quickly makes us feel comfortable. He is an easy talker and less ADHD than his social media led us to believe. He calls himself an beersommelier without a license. To people who argue against that he smiles and says: challenge me!. His opinion about the beersommelier course STiBON: “great, but you can also learn to taste without a diploma. I only have less experience with food pairings. What I applaud is that at the Jumbo supermarket they are educating their personnel about beer, they should also know what they are selling.”

When we ask him what he thinks is the most important thing about selling his beer he answers: “be honest about your product, tell people what it is, where it’s from and where it was made. Eanske itself is made at the Sallandse Brewery in Raalte. This doesn’t mean that he gives them the recipe and that they make it, he does every step himself and you can also find the gear in his shed and house.

(c) Proeflokaal Mout

When it’s time for us to leave Oscar gives us a lot of homemade experimental brews, a testament to his experimental nature. It is up to us now to taste!

 

Link to the Eanske website (Dutch Only)