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Weekend Beer Festival in Maastricht

Dan sampling the wares.

Dan sampling the wares.

Last Saturday Dan & I had the chance to try some regional beers at the at the 24 Hours of Beer Festival (Dutch website) in Maastricht. Now in its third year, the beer festival highlights Limburg-region beers from the Netherlands and Belgium, and included 20 breweries, 70 different beers, and a variety of local cheeses and other snacks.

The event was very relaxed while we were there in the afternoon, although I expect it was more active in the evening since it ran until 2 am. It was held at the Maastricht StayOkay and had live music of the decent, local variety. Tables were set up around the room, so after paying a deposit for a glass you could go around a get it filled up for a single token (1,50 per token). The porch was also open and since the weather was great on Saturday, we sat outside for most of our stay.

I’ve been a be fan of microbrews (in the States) for a while now, so it is always great to try the beer made locally wherever we go. True, this festival wasn’t really all about microbrewies, but it was about regional beer so that’s close enough for me. Since arriving in the Netherlands, we’ve been drinking a lot of ‘house’ beers, which are typically pilsners. While many types have grown on me, I think I’ll always prefer wheat/white beers.

Sampler glasses were free with deposit. Beer was 1 token (1,50 euros)

Sampler glasses were free with deposit. Beer was 1 token (1,50 euros)

Fortunately, there were a number of ‘wit’ (usually means a white or wheat beer) and other unique options available at the festival to give my palate a workout. Based on this experience, I’d say that Dutch beers tend to be light in color and strong in alcohol content. The wheat beers we’ve tried are mostly very light in flavor, although a few have a more full flavor (Dan says banana-y) without being hoppy. The dubbels and tripels seem to have a higher hops content, but not necessarily a darker color than a regular pilsner or white beer. Bruin, or brown, beers are sometimes sweet, but even when they are not there is something molasses-like about them.
 
And the beers we tried? I enjoyed them all, although the Reuzenbieren varieties were a little too hoppy for me. Here’s the breakdown:
Dutch Sobriety test

Dutch Sobriety test

  • Steen Brugge Wit: A bit on the light side, but pleasant.
  • Steen Brugge Tripel: Robust flavor without being too bitter. Very drinkable.
  • Reuzenbieren Tripel: Strong flavor. Hoppy. Medium-light color.
  • Reuzenbieren Blonde: Strong flavor. Hoppier than I typically expect a blonde to be.
  • Jopen Wit: Medium strong flavor with a pretty distinct banana finish.
  • Jopen Tripel: A true dark beer. Very tasty with little hops. Very strong. This one nearly knocked me out of my chair.
  • Jessenhofke Maya: Medium strong flavor with middling hops. Fresh tasting. Organic.
  • Jessenhofke Tripel(?): Medium strong flavor with middling hops. An almost garlicky finish. Organic. Jessenhofke brewery also has a B&B and offers “Brewer for a Day” workshops which have me very intrigued.
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