Man, do I love a good beer festival. Any opportunity to mix great beers and the pretense of learning about booze is my own personal paradise.
My first taste of beer sampling shenanigans was back in my Boston days at the annual Beer Summit. Each year my friends and I would meet for an excess of drinking that gave us the gumption to ask stupid questions like 'what's a hop'? or declare a beer to 'taste like candy!'
These festivals were also where I found my love for European brews, so naturally I was psyched to hear that Amsterdam hosted a yearly bock beer festival.
Bock beer is a seasonal brew, which oftentimes reminds me of the many October-themed American beer variations that come out about now (think Sam Adams' Octoberfest). Flowing freely from the taps that virtually lined the 1900's commodities exchange building, the Beurs van Berlage, bock beer was the topic of debate among me and my beer drinking buddies this evening.
We did our best to maintain a beer tasting guide, with witty comments ranging from "carmelised sweetness" for the amber coloured Phoenix Sofie HerftstBock form Het Klaverblad brewery to "like a dirty malt" for the Ossenbock out of Massland brewery.
As the night wore on, and our tastes were simultaneously subdued and sublime, we resorted to a few simple "No!" ratings and even one "YUCK" for an unnamed bock that did not go down well with
But my favourite of the evening was a special double bock that I convinced an experienced silver-haired brewer to share with me. "It's a double bock," he warned, squinting. "I can handle it," I assured him.
And indeed I could - Jopen brewery's 4 Granen Bok Bier was my best in show!
The bock beer festival is held annually in Amsterdam, but it's just one of a number of beer drinking events organised by the Netherlands' PINT association. Bringing the best of beer to its members with various tastings, festivals, and other beer excursions, their events section is the number one place for beer connoisseurs to plan their Dutch drinking adventures.
Chairmen Jeroen Carol-Visser
+31 (0)64 823 4294