Posts Tagged ‘drie dorstige herten’

My 5 Favorite Bars

Someone asked me about my favorite beer spots. This made me go all Thrillisty in these warm days of summer. So many places to mention… So I decided to split it up into my five favorite bars, breweries/tasting rooms and shops. First part is about my five favorite bars. Be aware, this is a list of beer cafe’s I really like visiting, it isn’t a list of the best ones, or the bars with the best beer selection. So don’t go naming other bars you think deserve to be on the list.

Here they are in alphabetical order.

Bierhuys in Woerden

The most unknown of the 5. Why did it make my list? Well, for one it is the closest to where I live so I come here more often than in other bars. But apart from that it is a great place to go. Located just outside of the city center in Woerden, it has the feel of a living room with a bar. The public seems to be mostly locals with the accidental tourist wandering in after a day in beautiful Woerden.

There may not be a lot of taps but the bottle selection is excellent and they try and have many local beers so there is a chance of trying something new almost every time. They have two house beers that are made by De Molen in neighboring Bodegraven, so you know that is going to be good. And talking about locals, they come here often too and they seem to visit it like another room of their house.

De Drie Dorstige Herten in Utrecht

A bar I really should be going to more than I do now. Within a mile there are at least 4 other great beer places you can go to but this is my favorite. I will write about the Golden Square in Utrecht later but in a city already swamped with excellent places to drink craft beer De Drie Dorstige Herten (yes, you are right, it means The Three Thirsty Deer) ranks #1 in my book. It is small, almost living room size but the owners’ knowledge is limitless and the selection as good as I have seen anywhere in the country. They support local brewing a lot and Maximus is even their house brewer. GO HERE!! I will more often. You will not be disappointed.

De Koffer in Groningen

As I have written before beer culture in Groningen is rapidly increasing with new bars and breweries opening all the time. But way before this all started De Koffer was already the standard bearer for what a good beer café is supposed to be. And they didn’t stand idly by sticking to an old formula while the world around them was changing, they in fact are on the frontline of the revolution. A huge board with just Dutch beers occupies one of the walls but they have so much more than that with a great selection of foreign beers as well. The public is diverse with students, tourists and locals all frequenting the bar.

The managers of De Koffer (The Suitcase) are the best too and know a lot about beer. They keep their staff up-to-date and it is one of the few places I can go to where they will always have something unfamiliar for me on tap. I also love it that they know their customers and will always great you when you walk in.

In De Wildeman in Amsterdam

Need I really say more? Only the Arendsnest surpasses it in selection, but because In De Wildeman has beer from all over the world it is maybe a little more exciting. As with Woerden and De Koffer I admit it helps that you are recognized when you walk in. It makes it more personal and keeps you coming back. I usually come here during the day when it is not too busy and you can sit on the wooden bench overlooking it all: the people walking in, the knowledgeable guests asking about the latest beer, the newbies who just want to try something new. All the while with the board above the door looking down on us. There are people here I see every time, but also tourists find their way, helped by Tripadvisor and Ratebeer no doubt.

Het Hijgend Hert in Vijlen

I admit that I have only beer here once. Also, the beermenu isn’t as great as in the other 4 places. In fact, I can name 20 other café’s that have a better beer menu. Why is this in the Top 5 anyway? Because it is a location without equal. Located on top of a hill looking out over parts of Limburg. Farm animals are nearby and a beautiful forest behind it. It is about as far away from most people as possible. For someone in Groningen a city like Bremen is closer. It is also the highest located café in the country. I know that doesn’t mean much, the coffeemachine on top of the Empire State Building is higher for example but in a country as flat as ours it is at least something. For the greatest setting imaginable go to the Panting Deer, I am going to plan vacations nearby just to go here again.

In a windy wonderland

An semi-outdoor beerstival in December might lead to some interesting events in a country where the last month of the year isn’t exactly known for it’s warm and sunny weather. The Christmas- and Winterbeerfestival in Hoogeveen was held for the 4th time on Sunday December 22nd and in the past has had to suffer freezing temperatures. No icy temperatures this time, but the weathergods were again not absent and provides us with a heavy dose of wind and rain. The tents in which the festival was held withstood quite a battery of wind gusts and not all the tent flaps stayed in one place for the entire day. Yet any tent malfunction was greeted with the good humor that exemplified this festival.

Despite the weather it was busy underneath the tents, yet not too crowded  to have to fight for a spot near the conveniently places heaters. Located on the townsquare it was easy to reach and since the shops were open on Sunday that meant that people who otherwise would not have gone to a festival like this might drop in to try some beer. That is always good. Most people don’t know about craft beer simply because they do not come across it.

hoog2Brewers and local bars had stands so there was a good mix. Known brewers like La Chouffe had their ‘n Ice Bock but more local brewers like Mommeriete, Maallust and Sallands were also present.

There were the usual brewers you often see. Ramses came all the way from the other side of the country and Our new favorite beerbar De Drie Dorstige Herten was the promoter of beer from Utrecht with beers from Duits & Lauret, Maximus and De Leckere. De Leckere’s new stout is disappointing, but the specially made Mispel beer from Maximus is a beer I hope they keep on making.

Being a winterbeer/Christmas beer festival means that the beers that are brought will be darker and with a little more alcohol. Yippey! Did I have a bad beer this time? No, again showing that the quality of the Dutch brewing world keeps on getting better. My least favorite was the bock from German brewery Eibauer.

hoog1Northern beer

The beerworld in the north still needs more boosters to catch up with the rest of country. OK, the bars in Groningen are great, but that city is an island in a sea of nothing. Most praise should go to Pint Noord who organize festivals in Groningen, Leeuwarden and this one in Hoogeveen. The big festival in the Martinikerk is another great, yet pricy, event. The north might be far, but with more festivals like this we might get more brewers to the north of Zwolle too.

The not so great things

Where were the toilets? The square had a place for the men to go and stand but there weren’t any cabins for example for the woman, though the bars surrounding the festival might have been open for ‘business’.

Not all the beers that were promised were at the festival. We wanted to start with a barrel aged Flying Dog but Bier&Co didn’t bring it. Fortunately the substitute was great. After this we tried to get a Liefmans Glühkriek that was gone way too soon. This is a beer that the starting beerdrinker might be interested in, but not too many people had a chance to try it. On an open festival I would think this would be one of the more popular ones.

Food and other drink?

Yes, there was and tasty too. Also a good thing that it is located in the centre of a town where you can easily go somewhere else for a while. Another plus is the offering of sodas for those who drive or didn’t feel like drinking too much.


Yes, for most of country Hoogeveen is quite a trip away, both in actual kilometers but also in the mind. The weather is something that can play a factor in December but that doesn’t seem to stop the beerhunter from coming. If this was a festival with less special beers it would have been something else but winterbeers often give the beerlover a little bit more than your standard triple, pilsner or weizen. I might take the trip north again next time.

Beers sampled:

Fuller’s Old Winter Ale – great flavor for a low percentage

De Leckere Naughty Stout – didn’t see what was naughty about it. Very run-of-the-mill.

Sallands Rudolphus

Eibauer Dunckler Bock – least favorite at the festival

Pauw Wintertrots –lot of menthol/mint flavors, interesting

Winterse Arn – new brewery that keeps giving us good beer

Mommeriete Dubbelbock- Mommeriete is one of those under the radar breweries who make excellent beer.

Maximus Mispel –best one

Ramses Notenkraker