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.

Again?

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

 

 

 

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