Beer Reviews I, End of Winter Edition

Here it is, for the very first time, a post with just beer reviews! If you want to contribute with some reviews of Dutch beers let me know. I am not looking for dry descriptions.

The first ten.

Vandestreek Hop Art. Confusing, a Hop Art without a number. This is apparently a different version of #2 and #5. As always the artwork is great. Lots of nice west coast flavors at only 5%. Good refreshing bitterness, mostly passionfruit and mango. Bitter beers are definitely the brother’s strong suit.

Drank this when my 6 week old son was sleeping, and my wife had a 39.3 degree fever. Refreshing and tasty at this moment to settle down a little after a day of changing diapers and making tea.

Bottle from De Schans in Uithoorn, €2,45

Ratebeer 85 overall / 76 style – Untappd 3.68

Brand IPA

Yes, the big boys are starting to get into IPA’s as well. Grolsch’ efforts were quite bad but Brand’s earthy aroma is promising. The beer itself is a letdown. It’s half-hearted attempt to appeal to craft beer drinkers by making an IPA, but then forget to give it the bitterness that makes people like it in the first place. I wonder if this will lead to a new group of IPA drinkers who were used to drinking Brand pilsner. Taste: I get some raw carrot and a little sweetness. It’s refreshing, but forgettable.

Bottle from the Mitra, Wilhelminakade in Groningen.

Ratebeer 50 / 27 – Untappd 3.42

De Vriendschap Zwoele Stad

I guess the best description would be a wheat ale / blonde wheat ale / kristallweizen. I’ve seen all three. Whatever the style purists want to make of it, I didn’t care for it too much. It’s a smooth beer and the percentage is low. It’s the bitterness in the aftertaste I just don’t care for too much. But I am sure there will be some who enjoy it more. Extra credit for the name: Sultry City

Bottle from De Schans, Uithoorn, €2.45

Ratebeer 29 / 45 – Untappd 3.16

‘t Blauwe Hert Bronstig

Name of the brewery means the blue deer. Name of the beer is ‘bronstig’. New brewers from Aalsmeer, brewing at the Noordhollandse Brouwerij. Was expecting a boring dubbel when I poured it, but it’s more interesting than that. Seems they used west coast hops, giving it a flowery good bitterness in the finish. Feels chalky too. Quite good. Best in show for this edition.

Bottle from De Schans, Uithoorn, €2,50

Ratebeer Untappd 3.35

Wildervanker Abbingh’s Porter

Wildervank is located in East Groningen, not exactly Holland’s garden of eden. Straight roads, canals and flat land. A brewery started that makes more than decent beers, contrary to where Wildervank is. A creamy porter, some sweetness, some sourness and a nice white layer that stays for quite some time. Haven’t had a bad beer from them yet.

Bottle from Mitra Vismart, Groningen

RatebeerUntappd 3.52

‘t IJ Bridgeport Barleywine, colab with Marz

‘t IJ’s new direction has led to some very nice beers, this is no exception. For a barleywine it doesn’t have a lot of the sticky sweetness they often have. It’s there in the beginning but is quickly overtaken by the hops. The hops give it an aftertaste that isn’t the most pleasant. Lot of things happening in the beer though, also an interesting one to follow when it warms. It also warms you for quite some time. Interesting.

€ 2,90 from Van Erp in Groningen

Ratebeer 88 / 49 – Untappd 3.81

Grutte Pier Tripel

As a former history student at a nearby university. I love beers with a historical name and information. Grutte Pier was a freedom fighter from Friesland, a part of the country proud of their heritage and language. It’s a good looking label of the man and you learn about him when you’re reading the label.

The beer is a tripels and is decent. It has some spice notes but never rubs you the wrong way like some tripels can. It’s also not a beer that gives you anything special. Friesland is going through a small beer boom of their own, this was made at Admiraals.

2.99 from the Mitra Vismarkt in Groningen

RatebeerUntappd 3.93

Bierderie Mirjam Red Ale

Drinking this while our son is finally at ease after some wailing. It makes this one a little more special. I like offbeat beers like this. It has the hops of a pale ale, but underneath lingers a red ale. Is it a superb beer? No, but if you like very interesting beers this is one to try, if not for the simple fact that De Bierderie is sympathetic brewery run by some great people.

Bottle from De Zwart, Wilnis

Ratebeer 54 / 79 – Untappd 3.49

Natte Gijt Stoute Gijt RIS

I don’t know if every batch I’ve had so far has been different but this is the 3rd or 4th time I’ve had this beer and this was my favorite. Or I was just feeling better while sitting in the chair. It doesn’t have the big bold flavors others RIS’ have, but the palate is great. Already very tasty when a little too cold. Love the label, what’s not to like about goats.

Bottle from De Zwart in Wilnis

Ratebeer 92 / 41 – Untappd 3.58

´t IJ India Session Ale

A beer that started life at the Oregon Craft Beer Festival last year. A style I haven’t seen much here. Another good example of the new road ‘t IJ has taken. Flowery, pineapple and lavender? Soapy somewhat, but not the kind that makes you hate it.

Bottle from Van Erp Groningen, €2,55

Ratebeer 92 / 94 – Untappd 3.54


2 responses to this post.

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  2. Posted by Derek Walsh on 27/03/2015 at 9:44 am

    A few comments over your review of Brand IPA.
    “the big boys are starting to get into IPA’s as well”. You completely ignore the fact that this beer was created by homebrewer Jeroen Free who won the Brand IPA competition against 120 competitors (the same beer also won the Dutch national homebrewers contest against more than 400 competitors).”The beer itself is a letdown”. Why? Because it’s not your personal favorite? “It’s half-hearted attempt to appeal to craft beer drinkers by making an IPA, but then forget to give it the bitterness that makes people like it in the first place”. 44 IBU’s and 3 Dry Hops is not enough? Tasted at the right temperature (> 8 degrees C) and in the Brand IPA glass it’s exotic fruit and oily aroma is everything but half-hearted. What most aren’t used to is a multi-layered hop flavour with enough malt and yeast fruitiness to support the bitterness. The majority of Dutch small-scale brewed IPA’s are over-hopped, over-attenuated and finish off astringent, aggresively bitter and even soapy. I wonder if this will lead to a new group of IPA drinkers who want to drink balanced beer? Unforgettable!.


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