Rotterdam: Kaapse Brouwers, nothing, nothing, and some decent bars

Revolutions move at different speeds. This is clear when you look at rise of craft beer in the Netherlands. Utrecht started, and Amsterdam followed soon after and in the last two years more cities are joining the bandwagon: Eindhoven, Nijmegen, Groningen, Haarlem and more saw the opening of new bars and breweries have. Rotterdam, the second largest city, has been lagging behind however. Sure, Rotterdam has some decent Belgian Beer Café’s and some good stores but for a long time De Pelgrim was the only thing beer related worth going to in this huge city. Our visit two years ago was enjoyable with decent beer and great food. But cities like Haarlem and Nijmegen have more interesting bars in a square mile than Rotterdam has in the entire metropolitan area. And with the world largest harbor next to the city, this is surprising. DSC01438

Kaapse Brouwers

But like many other cities Rotterdam too is finding the way upwards with new breweries and cafés. The most significant boost came a year ago when the Kaapse Brouwers opened as part of the Fenix Food Factory, an instant success. In an old factory building on one of the islands in the river food producers (cheese, meat, beer, bread, coffee, cider) came together in a cool, and tasty, collective. It really is a collective with open doors or no doors at all. If you want coffee and your friend wants beer and together you want a cheese platter you can sit wherever you like. The local / homemade / organic scene has found a new to-go place here at the Fenix Food Factory: food made by craftsmen, not people looking to sell the most stuff for the most profit. 20150529_150450Two weeks ago I wrote that the Uiltje Bar in Haarlem has become a new pilgrimage site for craft beer lovers. You can add Kaapse to the list as well. Like at the Uiltje Bar the choices are vast with apart from their own Kaapse brews, beer from good breweries across Europe. And like any good beerplace these you can get a tasting board? Block of wood? Anyway, you can get the Kaapse Beers. You can also get a board with lighter beers or with heavier beers, and with 30 taps to choose from that won’t be a big problem. The big Kaapse beers are still made at De Molen, so that should give you an idea of the quality. They do have a small brewing installation in the back where the day we were there Ramses and De Bebaarde Brouwer happened to be brewing.

So is there really nothing else in Rotterdam? If you want Belgian Beer there are apparently a few places you can go, but since this blog is about Dutch beer and we don’t want to dwell in the past we went looking for something else and found two bars through the magic of Ratebeer and the Dutch BeerApp that seemed to be ok.

DSC01397Proeflokaal Reijngoud

A downtown bar that serves quite a lot of food. Unfortunately they didn’t have the pulled pork sandwich I had set my eyes on. Quite a lot of taps, but no extraordinary ones. The Boulevard Brewing was the most exciting one next to mostly Belgian and some Dutch taps (Jopen for example). They have quite a few bottles of Kaapse, but the other Rotterdam breweries were not to be found. The high ceiling and nice interior does make it a fairly nice place to go, but I doubt I will return any time soon.

Bokaal

Now this place was quite good. Was it good because of the choice of beer? No, let’s be frank about that. The huge outside terrace mostly had people drinking Belgian ales, German Weizens and Dutch pilsners, but the staff seemed to be a little more exciting about the other things they had on tap and they were eager to tell me they had a Citra Pale Ale made by Kees Bubberman (Brouweij Kees) on tap and were then eager to know what I thought about it. They also had a bottle by a small Rotterdam brewery called Kaf & Koren which was fine, good to see Bokaal somewhat supports local brewers. So Bokaal does have room for good Dutch and local craft beer, but I doubt that it will ever turn into a specialty beer café. The Heineken propaganda book had an interview with the owner who announced his favorite beer was a glass of Brand. Not bad I know, but no craft. Worth a visit? Definitely, you might find a beer gem and if not their platters of meats and/or cheeses are very fine.

Shops

We didn’t go to any shops because of baggage constraints, but I had been to Bierenzo before and that is more than ok, from word of mouth and the book of faces I have a clue that Plan B is more than excellent so next time I will go there, but I can already give you advise based on just that to go here. DSC01457

Future A new brewery will open in the north, so hopefully that will give another boost to brewing in Rotterdam, because it needs it. Rotterdam is a fascinating city with old neighborhoods but with a very modern downtown area. You can easily spend a weekend there and more. And maybe in one year the weekend can be interlaced with brewery and bar visits too. But when the local bars open their menus for local beer, that can grow too.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Dirk Breedveld on 01/07/2015 at 11:44 am

    Toch jammer dat je kennelijk het ABT cafe vergeet(Locus), brouwerij de Pelgrim, maar desalniettemin het Feniks complex is een aanrader.
    Soms is het ook van belang om sommige plekken er eerder waren dan Kaapse en een voortrekkers rol spelen denk ik zo.
    Bovendien is Rotterdam ook te benaderen als regio, mede door zijn goede OV, en dan zijn er nog wel meer opties te noemen.

    Reply

  2. […] veio em 2014, quando o Kaapse Brouwers abriu as portas como parte da Fenix Food Factory” (continue lendo). Abaixo, falo de três Kaapse que chegaram ao […]

    Reply

  3. […] veio em 2014, quando o Kaapse Brouwers abriu as portas como parte da Fenix Food Factory” (continue lendo). Abaixo, falo de três Kaapse que chegaram ao […]

    Reply

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