Dutch beers… saved by the Belgians

LaTrappe: the one that redeems them all.

LaTrappe: the one that redeems them all.

Beer is a central part of Dutch culture and socialization and I’ve been meaning to write about it for ages. But seeing as I don’t drink beer myself, I didn’t have much to say. So I asked my husband, a beer aficionado, to write today’s post. Here it goes…

I have been living in the Netherlands for more than a year now, and I can tell you that beer is an essential part of the Dutch way of life.  Whether it’s a biertje (“small beer”) enjoyed after work with colleagues or a free-flowing keg of on Queen’s Day, the precious liquid is never far away.
Beer drinking fits in quite well with the gezellig concept cherished by the Dutch: imagine yourself drinking a beer on a terrace along the canal, watching the boats pass by, and enjoying the sun with your friends. Top!

However, I regrettably admit the beers I’ve tasted here have been quite disappointing. The people behind Heineken might be marketing and branding geniuses, but as for the beer itself, you almost want to send them back to school. The same goes for the two other mass-produced beers, Amstel and Grolsch.

But there is hope: there are a few excellent Dutch beers, notably LaTrappe, the only trappist beer in the Netherlands.  You can only find seven trappist beers in the world, the majority in Belgium, and they are among the best beers worldwide. The micro-brewery trend that you find in other European countries is also growing in Holland – if you are in Amsterdam, visit Brouwerij Het Ij to enjoy their samples.

But what really saves the Netherlands is its proximity to Belgium, a world-renown beer-heaven for connoisseurs. In Utrecht there are two great places, Cafe Belgie and Olivier, that enable you to try dozens of Belgian beers, from the sweetness of a Kriek to the bitterness of a Rodenbach.

If you want to know more about beers in the Netherlands and where to enjoy them properly, check out this website made by a true beer lover.


About Home Strange Home

I first left the US in 1999, when I was 18 years old. Since then, I’ve spent 13 years living abroad - 3 in Canada, 7 in Europe, and 3 in Africa. Now I've finally returned to the US on a one-way plane ticket. I arrived home in late January 2014 and set foot in the US for the first time in nearly 2.5 years. In Home Strange Home, I blog about the ups and downs of my re-acculturation experience.
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One Response to Dutch beers… saved by the Belgians

  1. Eefje says:

    Belgium beer is the best! But if you want to try a good regular Dutch beer go for Hertog Jan (Duke Jan).

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