A visit to...vandeStreek
It’s January 2017. We’re standing in an almost empty warehouse on an industrial estate in Utrecht. Soon, it will all happen here because, on this site, brothers Sander and Ronald van de Streek will start their own brewery. They’ve come a long way in a short space of time.
The Van de Streek brothers started brewing beer in 2010. In the first few years, their brewery was their flat on the Kanaleneiland in Utrecht. They rapidly acquired knowledge of brewing processes and ingredients and were inspired by a remarkable video by Brewdog (Sinck the Bismarck) to find new ways of approaching packaging, communications and the brewing process. Everything Sander and Ronald brewed was tested by them and their friends and family. In 2013, a crowdfunding campaign enabled the pair to breathe life into the vandeStreek brand.
They first introduced the buying public to their beers Broeders and Dark Roast at the Utrecht Beer Brewers Festival. In the years that followed, they added many new beers to their range. Some are now permanent fixtures and others limited editions. For the Hop Art series, the brothers asked various artists to design a label. Recently, vandeStreek launched four beers called the playground editions, because to them brewing beer is just like being on a playground. A fifth edition is currently in the works.
Sander and Ronald believe their most unique beer is Dark Roast. This beer is based on their very first recipe. Each batch is better than the one before it because, since they use coffee from a local coffee roaster, they can continue to fine-tune the recipe.
Tap takeovers and collaborations
If you are ever at a craft beer festival in the Netherlands, the chances are you will come across Sander and Ronald. The brothers also frequently participate in tap takeovers, which is when a brewer temporarily takes over another brewer’s bar or pub. VandeStreek also likes to collaborate with other brewers, on the one hand, as a learning exercise, to exchange knowledge of ingredients and brewing processes and, on the other, to come up with new flavours.
Favourites from other breweries
The vandeStreek brewers enjoy sampling beers from other breweries. Swingers by Oedipus is one of their personal favourites. Ronald: “It’s nice and light with refreshing and sour flavours. It’s great to see what brewers can achieve with slightly sour beers.” They also love Jack Hammer by Brewdog. “A wonderful explosion of hops with alternating flavours of grass, pine and tropical fruit,” says Sander. Hel en Verdoemenis brewed by the De Molen Brewery in Bodegraven is another favourite. Sander and Ronald grew up not far from this brewery (Alphen aan de Rijn) and the De Molen Brewery used to be their local brewer. “De Molen’s stouts are some of the best in the world,” according to the brothers.
World Beer Awards
Proof of vandeStreek’s own brewing prowess came at the World Beer Awards 2016. Their BlackBock, Dark Roast and Koper beers all won prizes at this event. According to vandeStreek, brewing is an art form, which extends to the packaging and advertising.
Brewing is an art form.
In mid-May, vandeStreek hopes to open the doors of its new brewery at Ontariodreef 43, Utrecht. As well as a brewery, they are also building a tasting venue because, when it comes down to it, tasting is what it’s all about.