A Few of the Older Independent and Newer Dutch Craft Breweries…
Besides being known for its many wonderful cafés, Amsterdam was home to Amsterdams Brouwhuis Maximiliaan, which opened in 1992 as the first Dutch brewpub and, unfortunately, closed this past November. Happily, the city boasts another brewpub, Brouwerij ’t IJ, a quirky micro and café that opened in 1985. Brewer Kasper Peterson, a former popular musician, brews ale that are roughly in the Belgian-style, but completely unique. Eggs, ostriches and desert scenes dominate ’t IJ’s beer labels because: 1) In Dutch, the word for egg, “ei,” sounds like IJ (the local waterway); 2) the ostrich is one of Peterson’s favorite animals; and 3) when ’t IJ opened, the Dutch special beer scene was a desert. Beer names at ’t IJ are equally playful: IJ Wit (Egg White), Natte (Wet One), Zatte (Drunken One).
Just south of the Amsterdam suburbs, in the town of Uithoorn on the Amstel River, ex-IBM man Guus Roijen opened Brouwerij De Schans in 1997. Roijen brews several beers under the De Schans label and many more under contract and as private labels in a tidy, fastidiously efficient brewery. Some of his beers are Belgian inspired, some German inspired, and others take their cue from Britain. Roijen likes to experiment with beers such as Canadian Goose Pale Ale, Edelbier, Schans Bier Tarwe and Schans Bier Tripel.
Up north in the flatter-than-flat province of Friesland, Limburg-born brewer Aart van der Linde opened De Friese Bierbrouwerij in 1985—“the biggest brewery in Friesland, the only brewery in Friesland.” Van der Linde brews organic beers, many of which are Belgian-inspired, under the label, “Us Heit,” which means “Our Father” in Friesian. The term refers to a famous figure in Friesian history, Willem Lodewijk, the first stadhouder (town keeper) from 1584 to 1620. Some of the Us Heit beers are Frysk (Friesian) Bier, Buorren (Neighborhood) Bier and Dubbel Tarwe (Wheat) Bier.
The southern province of Limburg, not to be confused with the Belgian province or German city of the same name, is home to many of the Dutch breweries that have survived from the 1800s. Most of these are now owned by Heineken or Interbrew. One of the remaining independents is in the town of Neer in north Limburg. Founded in 1870 by Willem Geenen, Lindeboom (Lime Tree) Bierbrouwerij is today managed by the fourth generation of the founding family, Ben Geenen. A lime tree remains standing in the brewery courtyard. Lindeboom brews both ales and lagers, including Venloosch Alt (named after the small town of Venlo) and a new line of ales brewed with rye malt called Gouverneur Bier, Gouverneur Brune and Gouverneur Blonde.
In the city of Oss, Maasland Brouwerij opened in 1989. It remains one of the oldest and most interesting of the new Dutch craft breweries, producing its own Belgian-inspired ales and many contract and private label beers (over 600). Oss derives from the word, “osch,” which means “place where the ox crosses the river.” The town is located on the River Maas, from which the brewery takes its name. Some of Schamp’s beers are D’n Schele (Dizzy/Cross-eyed Ox) Amber, Blond, Amber, Dubbel and Tripel.
Homebrewer-turned-pro, Sjef Groothuis opened Bierbrouwerij De 3 Horne, located in the small town of Kaatsheuvel, in 1991. In his small, streamlined brewery designed for efficiency (“Others think too complicated”), Groothuis claims to be the fastest brewer in the Netherlands, getting his beer in shops within three weeks of being brewed. As do the other new, small brewers, Groothuis brews a small number of house beers and a larger number of contract and private label beers, specializing in ever-so-slightly-fruit-flavored ales. Some of the 3 Horne beers are Dobbelaer, Trippelaer and Kaat’s Witje (Litttle Wit Beer from Kaatsheuvel).
Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven (a.k.a. La Trappe Trappistenbier and Koningshoeven Trappist Ale) is located in the Dutch Trappist monastery, Trappist Abdij (Abbey) O.B.V. Koningshoeven (King’s Farms) in the village of Berkel Enschot. As mentioned earlier, the monks resumed brewing in 1979 after a many-year hiatus. The brands continue to be owned by the monks and brewed at the monastery, but Bavaria (one of the Big Four) conducts the brewing, marketing and selling of the four Trappist ales: Blond, Double, Tripel and Quadrupel.. These beers are sold under the Koningshoeven Trappist Ale label in the United States and the La Trappe label in the rest of the world.
Another holdover from the 1800s is the independent brewery, Budelse Brouwerij, located smack dab in the center of the small town of Budel close to the Belgian border. Founded in 1870 by Gerard Arts as the Brouwerij de Hoop (Hope), Budelse changed its name in 1960. The fourth generation of the family, Gerhard, Carine and Harry Arts, now run the brewery, which brews both top- and bottom-fermented beers. Budelse is renowned for lagering its pilsners for six to eight weeks, a pleasant rarity in these times. Some of the brewery’s beers include Batavier (named after a pre-Roman people from the area), Alt, Parel (Pearl) and Capucijn (as in the monastic order).