It's a Blond, Brouwerij Kees
"Traditional blonde beers need not be bland"
Say “een biertje alsjeblieft” (a beer please) in any Dutch town or city and you’ll likely be served with a small glass of Heineken, Amstel or Grolsch.
Because they share a border with Germany and Belgium, discerning Dutch drinkers have never had to look far for decent beer though. For that same reason, the Dutch micro-brewery scene has been slow to take off, playing second fiddle to top quality imports.
That is finally changing and a new wave of Dutch craft breweries, including the likes of Brouwerij ’t IJ, Jopen, De Molen, Oedipus, Uiltje, and Kees, have been gaining some impressive momentum, making the country one of Europe’s hottest new beer destinations. If you visit and start chatting to anybody in the know, one man’s name will invariably pop-up.
For many years there was a running joke in the Netherlands, that if Kees Bubberman entered a beer in a homebrew competition, everyone else was competing for second place. As a result, another renowned Dutch brewery, Emelisse, snapped him up as their Brewmaster in 2007 and he promptly made them one of the most highly regarded breweries in the Netherlands.
But Kees, a former chef, had always dreamt of having his own brewery. After launching a successful crowd-funding campaign, his dream was realised in early 2015 as Brouwerij Kees was launched in his hometown of Middelburg, a town in the south-west of the country and just a 40-minute drive from the Belgian border. Less than a year later Bouwerij Kees was voted fourth best new brewer worldwide by users of Ratebeer.com.
“Life's too short for boring, middle of the road beers. We stand for tasty, fruity, hoppy flavours and strong dark ales, but there'll always be that twist. That special something that makes our beers stand out” Kees explains with typical Dutch swagger.
Kees Brewhouse, Middelburg
It’s a Blond is one of their newest releases, and it aims to “show that traditional blonde beers need not be bland”. With the well-known taste of coriander, a bucketload of hops and a Belgian ale yeast, Kees is taking a Belgian beer style head on, providing further evidence that the Netherlands is finally stepping out of its neighbours’ shadow. Kees Bubberman is leading the Dutch craft beer revolution. And yes, the Eurostar does now stop in Amsterdam.