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.

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