Botermarkt Bierfestival 2013

Right before this Dutch craft beer revolution started going to beer festivals was something to look forward to because there just weren’t that many. Now you can pick and choose. The weekend of the 3rd and 4th of August you could go to Ermelo on Saturday for the festival at Burg Bieren or go to Haarlem on Sunday, which is what we did.

It was a beautiful warm day in Haarlem for the Botermarkt Bierfestival 2013, part of the Haarlem Culinair foodfest. The engine behind this festival is local brewery Jopen, located not far from the marketplace. Invited were Duits & Lauret, Maximus, Butcher’s Tears, Klein Duimpje, De Molen, Jopen, Ramses, SNAB and Scheldebrouwerij.

Het Uiltje

Het Uiltje

It is an open air festival that has a lot of advantages. First of all you don’t have to pay to get in. You but the beer directly from the stand. The usual plastic coins might have been easier, but maybe this led some people to get a beer they otherwise would not have gotten. People who were already doing the Haarlem Culinair thing might also be tempted to try a special beer instead of wine and judging from the public this is what happened, it was different than a crowd at let’s say Borefts. Another advantage is that it is not closed off so you can come and go if you like to get something to eat, go to the shops that were open or get some ice cream. And thankfully we live somewhere where the police is not patrolling, stopping people who wandered a millimeter outside of the designated drinking zone. With weather like this these festivals are great, though a little more shade would have been welcome with only one covered standing table in the middle.

That was the festival, now the beer.

All of the names are familiar ones by now with the exception of Het Uiltje, a new brewery also from Haarlem. Their American influenced beers did very well. I myself started off with their Steenuil, a Double IPA that was immediately the best I had on the festival.

But none of the beers I had were bad. Not very tasty was the Spanish Inquistion from Jopen, a scotch bonnet (Madame Jeanette pepper) infused stout. This was one of those beers that was just fun to try. Starting out with the flavor of green peppers and ending with quite a kick almost in the throat. No actual good flavor but we love experiments! An experiment from Jopen that did work was a Kuyt IPA called Frans Hals.

Ramses getting ready to serve

Ramses getting ready to serve

A closeup of the Hops and Wood chips in the Stout Door Hout

A closeup of the Hops and Wood chips in the Stout Door Hout

Another brewer who never shies away from experimentation is Ramses. He brought a lot of good beer, including two very special experiments. One was a beer that first went from lime zest to give it a very refreshing taste. The other one a stout that went through hops and cognac and whiskey barrel chips. We are getting into the phase now where the beers on the whole are already good so now the headway can be made in unique things like this.

Around 15:00 things seemed to be in full swing with lines in front of the stands. We missed the 15:30 opening of some special barrels unfortunately due to bus schedules.

With perfect weather and good quality beer this festival will be on our calendar again next year. Hopefully with a little more shade!

Beers tried (grade from 1-5): Jopen Frans Hals (3 ½), Jopen Spanish Inquisition (2 ½), Kluim Duimpje Hillegoms Tarwe (2 ½), Ramses Stout Door Hout (4), Het Uiltje Velduil (4), Het Uiltje Steenuil (4 ½), Butcher’s Tears Misery King (3 ½)

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