Monthly Archives: February 2015

Three beers from the Netherlands

I had these on a recent trip to the Netherlands. I was on my way to the airport, but I had an hour to spare so my host, the wonderful Lars Daniels, took me to a beer shop, we bought three interesting looking bottles, and then drank them at his place while he was interviewing me for an article.


Rooie Dop Chica Americana IPA
7.1% alcohol
This is brewed at de Molen, a famous craft brewery in NL, by Rooie Dop. They’re based in Utrecht, and their website is here. Very sweet nose is rich and malty with some lively floral notes, and some honeyed character. Rich but balanced on the palate with subtle bitterness on the finish. Very appealing, but maybe too much toffee and honey character? It’s really good, but potentially could be even better. 8/10




Rat Ale Green Hops 
5.9% alcohol
This is an amber ale that’s  a collaboration between De Eem (from Amersfoort) and Hommeles (from Houten, Amsterdam), brewed at De Leckere (Utrecht). A full brown colour, this is powerful stuff with treacle and malt notes, as well as some tar and caramel. It’s a bold, characterful beer that’s really attractive. 7.5/10


Pampus/ De Eem Dark Hops Edition 2014
8% alcohol
A collaboration between Pampus and de Eem, this is a Black IPA of real character. Six kinds of malt were used, and it’s a dark, almost opaque colour. Powerful and dense with notes of roast coffee, iodine, treacle and dark chocolate, this is such a concentrated beer. It’s lovely, but not all that easy to drink. 8.5/10

Goose Island IPA


Goose Island, from Chicago, is an important brewery. It’s one of the most widely distributed craft breweries, but it’s also a little controversial. That’s because it is now owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer – maker of the likes of Budweiser, Stella, Becks and other uninspiring beers. It also means that by the US definition of craft beer, Goose Island is no longer a craft brewery (no more than 25% of a craft brewer can be owned by a non-craft brewer).

It all started in 1998 when John Hall opened a Chicago brew pup. The main brewery was opened in 1995, and a second brewpub in 1999. AB InBev bought the company in 2011, and everyone expected the beers to become blander and less interesting. After all, this is normally what happens when big brewers buy small ones. But, so far this hasn’t happened. The beers are still really good, and you can buy them in supermarkets.

Goose Island IPA Chicago
5.9% alcohol
Bronze colour with a hint of red. Really hoppy with notes of pine, citrus, passionfruit and sweet malt. The palate is fresh and zippy with some malty depth. Lovely balance here with the hoppy bitterness keeping things in tension. There’s a little sweetness but overall it’s very fresh with pine needles and warm herbs adding complexity. 8/10