Dutch Beer: The Hidden Gem Of Netherlands

People (including myself) sometimes refer to the Netherlands as Holland. But Holland is actually a region in the western part and hence many Dutch people would frown upon referring to their country as such. It's kind of like calling New York City, Manhattan. Although some would say Manhattan is like another planet altogether (again, myself included because where else can you have a burger delivered to your front door at 4am?) But I digress. Did you also know that Hollandaise sauce was perhaps actually founded in France? Anyway, my point is that there are things synonymous with the Netherlands that we all know about...and there are things that maybe go unheralded. For me, this is dutch beer.

Brouwerij De Prael samples

Beer flight at Brouwerij De Prael

OK, so dutch beer is not really a hidden gem because if you drink beer and haven't indulged in a Heineken or Grolsch during your life, then you're no friend of mine. During my Contiki Tour in 2000, I drank so many Heinekens that I couldn't stand them anymore. Also being a football (soccer) fan, watching the European Champions League was never the same when the sponsored Heineken logo was plastered everywhere. There is certainly nothing wrong within these beers, but during a recent visit to Amsterdam we found the time to try some of the more unique brands.

ramses mamba

I've always professed that Belgian beer is second to none and I stand by this. The variety is amazing and although the high alcohol content combined with sweetness is not for everyone, I adore it. However, Dutch beer is equally impressive in its variety and even though their styles are different, the characteristics of great beer can also be found in the Netherlands. I'm sure there are many fantastic breweries across the country, but here's a selection of what I tried:

Ramses Bier (Wagenberg)

Mamba Porter, 6.4% - I love porters and all they stand for!
Moby Dick, 6.2% - A wheat beer which I can drink until the cows come home.

white label dutch beer

Emelisse (Kamperland) - White Label Imperial Russian Stout, 11% is just out of this world! You haven't tried a stout unless you've had this type and Emelisse have nailed it.

columbus beer dutch

Brouwerij 't IJ (Amsterdam) - Columbus, 9% is an organic amber beer that is special in its hoppiness. I love hops. I fucking love them!

jopen haarlem dutch beer

Jopen (Haarlem) - Damiate Dripa #1 Double Rye IPA, 8.5% is a pale ale to rock the senses. Rye beers are seriously underrated, so please drink up!

Brouwerij De Prael (Amsterdam)

Johnny, 5.7% - Kölsch which is not my favourite style, but how could I not mention it?
Willy, 11.5% - A quadrupel which is hard to find, but most enjoyable to drink!
Mary, 9.6% - Barley wine is definitely the best thing since sliced bread, just sensational!
Willeke, 7.5% - A tripel blond sweet style that finished off my tasting tray nicely.

So there you have it. Next time you're in the Netherlands, don't buy tulips or clogs; just try the many types of beer and watch the boats go by!

What's your favourite Dutch beer?

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10 years ago

I can’t believe I still haven’t been to the Netherlands. After trying several different beers in Belgium, I’m really looking forward to trying some in the Netherlands one of these days. Europe is making me enjoy beer!

10 years ago
Reply to  Ali

I’m glad you’re getting into European beer, Ali! The Dutch beers are very good indeed.

10 years ago

This is embarrassing but I just realized that all the beers I like the most are ales, and yet I keep ordering lager. I need a beer school.

10 years ago
Reply to  Ayngelina

That’s funny. Lagers go down nice, but there’s a lot more styles to try. I’m constantly schooling myself when I discover all the weird and wonderful beers!

My kinda sightseeing! Wow – an 11% stout?!
I’ve found myself digging the Amber Ales recently… sipping on a Big Rock Traditional Ale from Alberta as I write this… 🙂

10 years ago

Nice one! Amber ales are great and there’s nothing like an evening stout too.

10 years ago

Totally agree! I was introduced to the Brouwerij ‘t Ij a few months ago and I’ve been back three times. Great beers, great atmosphere too. I also love the snacks the Dutch have with their beers – we’re talking cubes of cheese, cured meats, the works. Can’t really picture that in our pubs in Australia 😛

10 years ago
Reply to  Caitlyn

We never actually made it to the windmill pub that is Brouwerij ‘t IJ, it was always too packed for us. If there’s anything better than cheese with beer, then that’s cured meats. Mmmm….cured meats!

10 years ago

SO GLAD I FOUND THIS TODAY! It’s my last day in The Netherlands and I have ONLY had Grolsch and Heineken!!

10 years ago
Reply to  Susan

You’re welcome Susan! So get out there and drink these different brews 🙂

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