Posts Tagged ‘beer festival’

Oersoep Craft Beer Festival

—  Another collaboration, this time Florian from German blog translated the article he placed there for our website. He went to the first Oersoep Festival, here is his report —-

glas-flyer-oersoep-festival-2015-648x486The first Oersoep Craft Beer Festival was hosted in Nijmegen last weekend. It was organized by the Microbrewery Oersoep at the beautiful ‘Het Zomerkwartier’ (an artificial beach area next to river Waal) directly next to the brewery. The venue was the first thing one positively noticed when entering the festival site: There were not just some tables and benches standing around, but a nice beach with comfortable chairs, sun loungers and sofas. The whole location added a nice and smooth summer atmosphere to the festival!

But one was not (only) there because of the location, but for good and handmade beer. Oersoep invited 15 breweries from the Netherlands, England, the US and Italy to Nijmegen.

Breweries at the Oersoep Craft Beer Festival 2015:

  • Jester King Brewery (US)
  • Wild Beer Co. (UK)
  • Brew By Numbers (UK)
  • Birrificio Dada (IT)
  • Brouwerij Kees (NL)
  • Oedipus Brewing (NL)
  • Van Moll (NL)
  • Brouwerij de Hemel (NL)
  • Het Uiltje (NL)
  • Kaapse Brouwers (NL)
  • Donderwolk (NL)
  • Tommie Sjef Wild Ales (NL)
  • Rooie Dop (NL)
  • RUIG Bier (NL)
  • Brouwerij Frontaal (NL)
  • Katjelam (NL)

Form an organisational point of view; the event was overall well managed. You could either buy a ticket online or at the box office on site. The entrance to the festival ground was free but you had to have the official festival glass to taste the beers. The glass was really nice and looked at first glance exactly like the glass that is used in the BrewPub of Oersoep STOOM. However, this optics was kind of misleading, as the craft beer glass was in fact made ​​of plastic. That might was the better choice, as a large part of the location was covered with sand and we all might now what happens when we combine sand, bar feet and broken glass.

Each brewery had brought different beers to Nijmegen and served two at the same time, which meant the kegs were changed ever now and then. Some of my beer highlights at the festival include the Grätzer from Katjelam.  Brewed with Weizenrauchmalz, the beer had a great smoky and ham aroma, but was still not too heavy and pleasant to drink on a warm day. Also delicious was the Brettalicious of Oersoep, a saison with great acidity and fruity hop aroma.  Wild Beer Co.  from England, poured also a saison called ‘Cool as a Cucumber ‘, and yes, there was real cucumber involved. Great and refreshing!

In addition, I really liked the Tazara Pepe, a saison that was brewed with different kind of peppers by Birretta Dada from Italy. My overall favourite of the festival however was the Suave from Oersoep and Van Moll from Eindhoven: the Gin and Tonic Pale Ale. This beer was partly brewed with real tonic water and after the fermentation they added even some gin. The finished product was nice and round with great fruit flavours and a very pleasant juniper finish.

Craft beer events like this festival are a great opportunity to try special beers, which you otherwise only can buy (if you can buy them in your region at all) in big bottles. Also the conversations with other beer lovers and the brewers are always very informative and entertaining.

Nijmegen is always worth a visit, even if there is no craft beer festival. Visiting one of the 6 breweries and brews, or one of the countless great beer cafes is a must, as well as checking by the great beer shop De Bierhoeder.

Bierfestival Groningen 2013

I wrote about the first edition of the Bierfestival in Groningen two years ago. I raved about the great location and the excellent, professional organization. The third installment was no different. The old Martinikerk still provides an indoor location unlike any other. The choice of three timeslots in two  days with presale of tickets never makes it feel too crowded.

It also is a festival for a wider audience. Besides the micro breweries some local bars and restaurants had a stand too, serving beers that were more known. You might argue that this defeats the purpose of a beer festival, but it might bring people into contact with a Jopen beer who otherwise would never have tried it.

De Rooie Dop at work

De Rooie Dop at work

Good to see was the continuing emergence and presence of brewers from Utrecht. Duits & Lauret, De Rooie Dop, Maximus and Hommeles showed off their excellent beers, showing once again that Utrecht is full of talent. As a former inhabitant of Groningen it was equally good to see that the northern provinces also showed some of their beers. Maallust is by a now an established name and it is great to see the De Kromme Jat / Golden Raand still present, with a few more beers to boot.

The festival is not about drinking beer alone. Several workshops and lectures (Melissa Cole and Peter van den Arend for example), and also a small competition for brewing the best Spring Bock, the award going to De Molen. It was even possible to have your glass engraved! It more and more seems to become an annual gathering of Dutch brewing; a Dutch Comicon for beer. The brewers themselves also seemed to be satisfied with the organization, like shuttle busses bringing them back and forth to the church.

Small, yet tasty, spare rib with beer foam snack

Small, yet tasty, spare rib with beer foam snack

Now it’s time for some negative points. Almost all of the festivals we go to and have written about have enough food. Food by the way that seems to get better every year. The Bierfestival in Groningen had great food, but lacked in quantity. The biggest thing you could get was a warm ham sandwich which was undeniably good, but it was the only thing you could get that filled the stomach. Some restaurants and hotels brought some excellent little dishes that were great in taste, but after a strong De Molen 10% beer a large portion of something would have been nice. And with a price of 13 Euros for just two coins a little more could be expected.

In its third year it remains however a festival of great quality, one I am already looking forward to visiting next year.

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.

Borefts Beer Festival 2011

The festival terrain

When there is a 20-page booklet waiting for you at the entrance describing all of a beerfestival you know you’re at the right place. September 23 and 24 the Borefts Beer Festival was held on the grounds of Brouwerij De Molen. The two-day festival attracted the cream of European artisinal brewing and many lovers of great beer who took the various forms of transportation transportation from all over the world it seemed at times to reach the brewery right under the now iconic windmill. After paying the 16 euros for a glass, 5 coins, the booklet and a bottle of water a new world of beer flavors opened up.

The new brewery

The new brewery and

De Molen expanded in the last year with a new part of the brewery about 200 meters down the road. This was now also used as festival terrain making it a little less crowded which was perfect. You could walk around the new part while sipping on a beer, what better location can you have than that, especially when the weather was as great as it was.

The BBF is a very good gauge of where European brewing is at the moment. Belgium is losing it’s place as the premier beer country. Only one Belgian brewer was present, De Struise, and they are not exactly a typical Belgian brewer with their stouts, IPA’s and even a 39% beer. The brewers now making name are located mostly in Scandanivia which made it’s presence felt with a quartet of excellent breweries: Amager and Mikkeler from Denmark, Närke from Sweden and Nogne O from Norway. England is also showing to make more than simple ales with Marble, The Kernel and Thornbridge. Upcoming Italy was present with LoverBeer and the Netherlands had Emelisse and St. Christoffel.

All these breweries make the Borefts Beer Festival reign supreme when it comes to overall quality. We did not have one bad beer. Imperial Russian Stouts, Barleywines, Sour Ales and Lambics galore. Experimentation is the fad these days and why not. Mikkeler brought some interesting lambics made with cherries or rhubarb or blackcurrant. Närke had a great smoked porter with juniper. The English breweries did not go that far in their experimentation but their craftmanship is amazing. Maybe we just had the right beers but to us the level of quality seemed even higher than last year.

Beautiful beer brewing...

Last year there was a contest about who brewed the best Vuur & Vlam. This year De Molen brewed a beer for the festival with a special ingredient that drinkers had to guess. No one had the right answer. Who could ever think that a beer made with balsamic vinegar could turn out that great. Yet somehow De Molen managed to brew yet another superb beer that was our personal highlight of the day. Let’s hope the Eer & Geweten makes its way into your local bottle shop soon.

Once again the festival seemed a success, making the last weekend of september a date you can write down in notebooks and smartphones as a must if you enjoy the better things in life like beer.

by Martijn Buisman

photos by Martijn Buisman and Sara Uckelman

Bruisend Apeldoorn – September 4th, 2011

With weatherforecasts predicting rain throughout the day the during the Bruisend Apeldoorn festival we were at first hesitant to make the train ride east. It turned out to be a much better day than expected and turnout was great on the marketsquare next to Apeldoorn’s City Hall.

It is good to see that beer festivals can come in so many different ways. This was as much a family oriented festival as they come. On a Sunday when the downtown shops were open for business everyone could enter for free without admittance. It gave the festival a much more open character, exactly what the smaller brewers need to reach a bigger audience.

Dancing Red Ball

Besides the stands for brewers there was entertainment for kids, music groups were playing most of the time and street theater could be seen. It is great to once in a while go to a beerfestival where people who do not drink beer at all can have a good time. There were some jazz bands, a bluegrass band wandered the square and three guys playing sixties music parked their beautiful American car in the middle between two huge umbrellas. Among the street theatre were a man and his very tiny car and a woman on a big red ball having a dance with a huge puppet. The big red ball was real, we saw it before the first glass of beer.

The beer was served by both brewers directly but also by stores, cafés and restaurants, providing the bigger names like Guiness, Palm and more beers that the average beer drinker knows and likes. It seemed to be good advertisement for what the city has to offer. The name of the festival “Bruisend Apeldoorn” also has a double meaning with bruisend meaning both foamy/bubbly but also alive/vibrant.

Even though there was much more to see and do our aim was to sample some (Dutch) beers we had not had before. Bruisend Apeldoorn was a perfect opportunity for this with a very good line-up featuring quite a few smaller brewers including ’t Goeye Goet, Huttenkloas, Reuzenbieren, Rodenburg and more. The local beers from Apeldoorn had lines forming in front of them. The quality of the beers overall was however slightly disappointing, with a few exceptions. Blondes from Wittenburg and the Hanze Brouwerij from Zutphen were quite good. We detected some interesting mustard hints in the latter. A brewer that we had never heard of was De Witte Leeuw from Wezep. Their Amarillo Sun made us want to check out more from them, if we can find their bottles that is, but that is quest for the coming weeks.

We ended the festival on a high note with a De Molen Rasputin, concluding that no beer we had today came even close.

Botermarkt Beerfestival in Haarlem, 7 August 2011

As part of the “Haarlem Culinair” festival the city’s Botermarkt was the site for a nice small beerfestival. 7 Dutch brewers, mostly from the region, and Belgium’s Scheldebrouwerij showed up on an afternoon that was pleasant weather wise; A dry day in an otherwise rainy summer.

Engine behind the festival was Haarlem’s own Jopen whose brewery is located a few hundred meters away from the market. Besides their regular beers they showcased some special beers like a Trinitas from a wooden barrel, a rye pale ale called Jacobus and the Ippon Weiss. Jopen understands the true nature of the beerfestival; to give the drinkers something they cannot easily get or have never had.  Our Jopen choice was the Fokkerbeer, a decent Dunkel Weizen.

Breugems was there with their beers including the debut of their Stout. So far my experience with Breugems beers was slightly disappointing but their Stoutert has give me new hope for their future.

Klein Duimpje

Klein Duimpje's stand

Other brewers there were Klein Duimpje, who deserve kudos on naming on of their beers Ouwe Gespikkelde Kip which translates exactly into Old Speckled Hen.  SNAB  had their honeybeer with Canadian and Sicilian honey, nice but not the proclaimed King of Honeybeers and premiered their 1410.

Texelse and Emelisse also had a stand at the festival. Unfortunately they didn’t bring anything really special to the festival. Texels’ Skuumkoppe and Eyerlander are fairly easy to find. Emelisse had some beers and tap, but since we prefer having beers we had never had before we left those for what they were, though the bottle of Black IPA on our shelf will be opened quite soon considering the usually high quality.

The Brouwerij De Molen stand

Giants De Molen are on every festival it seems. After some start-up problems you could see the lines forming in front of their stand. The dryhopped ‘Blond met een Pond Amarillo’ was nice but the most exciting beertasting experience we had in a very long time was the Hot & Spicy, an Imperial Stout to which the Surinamese Pepper Madame Jeanette (Scotch Bonnet) was added. Fortunately having some experience with Surinam and Indonesian food helped making the heat somewhat bearable. A Madame Jeanette pepper scores a hefty 150.000 – 325.000 on the Scoville scale. A bit of the foam was like biting right into a jalapeno. A unique experience, the pepper infused beers from Rogue and Mikkeler we have had are nothing compared to this intense heat.

The Botermarkt beerfestival is a nice festival. It needs some help from the weather but the open character led some people to go to a festival where they otherwise would never have gone, and that can be the biggest pluspoint. Well done!

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