by Alain Scheper Blogger at Bierista.nl
Out and about during Dutch Beer Week
We live in interesting times, especially for beer enthusiasts! We’re spoilt for choice. Beer culture is growing and booming, and Dutch Beer Week is just one manifestation of this. In this week — or rather eleven days — the beer world puts its best foot forward. Brewers, big and small, restaurants and retailers all join together to celebrate and promote beer.
Dutch Beer Week begins on Thursday May 11, with the opening of the Beer Tasting Festival at the Grote Kerk in The Hague. A cross-section of the Dutch beer world introduces the public to the versatility of craft beer.
Up to and including the 21st of May, you’ll find a huge range of beer events going on across the country, including tastings, workshops, and dinners. A complete overview of all activities can be found on the Dutch Beer Week website. The Dutch Brewery Days are held on the weekend of the 20th and 21st of May. Beer lovers won’t want to miss this invitation from brewers to take a peek into the kettles.
During Dutch Beer Week it’s clear what a powerful bonding mechanism beer is. It brings people together, which makes the world of beer a unique and special one. Where else do you see competitors standing together instead of standing against each other?
I think that this reciprocity is what’s driving the incredible growth of craft beer. While it may not be the only factor, it certainly helps. Large and small brewers reinforce each other in unpredictable ways, sometimes without the relevant parties even being aware of it. One example: Brand Bier and Amstel recently put an unfiltered beer on the market. It’s slightly more intense than a regular pilsner and for many pilsner drinkers it’s quite an adventure. The introduction to this unfiltered beer is, for many, a first step into the adventurous world of craft beer. These ‘adventurers’ land almost automatically at the doorstep of small craft brewers, whether or not it’s via Brand’s excellent range of craft beers. That’s why the large brewers orient themselves towards the smaller ones.
There are more than enough to choose from
It works the other way around too, of course. The small artisanal brewers leave their mark on the beer scene by ensuring there’s plenty to choose from. We’re now approaching 500 breweries in this country. If every brewery offers an average of ten beers in its assortment, they’re giving us a choice of 5000 distinct Dutch beers! And as for what’s on offer - the flavours range from honey sweet to citrus sour and from fruity to pure roasted flavours.
This choice of breweries and different beers makes the world of beer an attractive one to camp out in. And this hoppy heaven means that many people are opting for craft beer in place of wine, spirits or pilsners. Both small and large breweries are reaping the rewards of this.
This is evident during Dutch Beer Week, when you can see, smell and taste Dutch beer in all its glory. For craft beer beginners and connoisseurs alike, there’s plenty to discover. Come and join the club!