Bax Beer, a new beer from Groningen

As a northerner I have often used these pages to lament the lack of good brewing from that even flatter part of the country I grew up in. Sure, Us Heit has been around for a long time and with Maallust and Golden Raand two newer ones came, but they never reached the level of brewing in the west. This is about to change. In April Bax Beer was released in Groningen and their two brews have garnered some attention. It is not just the novelty of being the first American-style beer in the north, but they are also really good.

Quality comes from experience

Bax beer is the combined effort of Sepp Jansen and Jeroen Bax. They met while at university in Groningen where they were both members of cycling club ‘Tandje Hoger’. The cycling led to many nights of product research. Not of spokes and gears but beer.

A few years later Jeroen started StiBon (a popular beer course) after already brewing for a little while at home. When he finished StiBon his enthusiasm only grew and he started brewing more and more. With the input of Sepp the brews have only gotten better. Sepp studied biology and as a scientist he knows how to deal with the brewing process. He is now working on a PhD in cancer research. Creating beer and fighting cancer is something we can only stand behind.

On a vacation in Austria in June of 2013 with another brewing friend (and StiBon graduate) Jentse Top they drank their own beers. As it often does the many beers led to unbridled fantasizing and planning. Where most drunken promises of ‘you and I should start a business, you and I, burp, a business, you’re my best mate’ this actually led to one. When the lads returned from vacation the plans for their own brewery took shape.

It is very much a two-man enterprise yet they are called Bax Bier. Jeroen already had the name and let’s be honest, Bax Bier sounds much better than Jansen. He also had some name recognition already as you will read below.

For now both their beers are brewed in Amsterdam at the 7 Deugden. They bring their recipe to Garmt (the brewer) and since it’s his installation he does the actual brewing, but with Sepp and Jeroen closeby. It is cooperation they are satisfied with, and as an added bonus they enjoy seeing how that brewery works in giving people with quite a distance from the regular job market a place to work. Something I have written about in an earlier article on this blog.

Beer and food

Jeroen’s name recognition started when he participated in a cooking show called ‘The Taste’. On Robert Kranenborg’s team he cooked with beer every week and reached as far as the semi final. Food and beer pairing and the use of beer in the preparation of food is something that is happening more now but not enough according to the guys. It is for this reason that their website offers recipes you can use cook with their beers. They see beer as a better companion to food because it is much more varied than wine is.

American

Bax bier is the first northern brewery that takes it’s influences not directly from Germany and Belgium. All the others have dubbels and tripels but you won’t find bottles of Bax beer with those descriptions on it. Bax’ influences are more American. The breweries they look to for influence are Dutch brewers like Jopen, Emelisse and De Molen, all mostly American-style breweries. Outside of the country Mikkeller and Brew Dog are examples. So far they have made a smoked porter and a Citra Pale Ale called Kon Minder. As a Groninger this name makes me laugh as it is a very Gronings expression. It means something like ‘it could be worse’ which in Groningen is big compliment.

Young brewery, young style

Their beer already sets them apart but their logo and overall artwork does too. Jeroen knew very well what he wanted to convey. As luck would have it his sister’s boyfriend Gio is a graphic designer and he made Jeroen’s idea into art. They wanted something different than the usual drawings abbeys, hops or grain and they succeeded with a darker yet playful style on their bottles and website.

Bax Bier Display at the Mitra on the Vismarkt

Bax Bier Display at the Mitra on the Vismarkt

Visibility

When you visit the beer café’s and beer stores in Groningen you will see the Bax beer logo and bottles. This has been the result of hours of visiting the locals bars and liquor stores. There is another ‘local’ brewery called Grunn. They are contract brewers and their link with Groningen isn’t very great and it is hard to call it beer from Groningen. This led some of the owners of the local places somewhat skittish in selling Bax bier.

For now Bax are contract brewers too but their vision is different from Grunn. They managed to change the ideas people had until they saw that Bax is indeed bringing something to the city that no one has done so far.

The Future

Though working with Garmt at the 7 Deugden has proven to be fruitful (or beerful) they are working on writing a business plan for a real brewery in Groningen. They already have some potential locations and brewing installations.

The money will be raised with a crowd-funding campaign and if everything goes according to plan they hope to have a brewery in 2015. We have already seen the massive support Oedipus has gotten through their crowd-funding campaign. Bax Bier will be a unique brewery in the seventh largest city in the country. With all the support and attention they have already gotten this shouldn’t be problem.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. And of course.. more about Baxbier on http:/pinkgron.nl/bax/bax.htm (in dutch)

    Reply

  2. […] Read the full article here. […]

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  3. […] « Bax Beer, a new beer from Groningen […]

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  4. […] that also won. Silver for the Kon Minder and a gold medal for the instant classic Koud Vuur. We wrote about them a year ago and expect more on Bax next year when we will describe the burgeoning beer scene in […]

    Reply

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