Sunday, 19 July 2015

Dutch Beer of the Week

Bierbrouwerij De Schans Lente 1 

De Schans has a special place in my journey through Dutch beer. I've been visiting the Netherlands since 1994 and watched its beer scene evolve and one of the Dutch beers that made me really sit up and start paying attention was De Schans Saison which first appeared around 2003. In those days it was a 7% spicy and hoppy little number which was really my go-to beer every time I visited Amsterdam.  Some friends and I once drank the Arendsnest out of it.

The brewery is in Uithoorn which is a little to the south of Amsterdam and while there's no tasting room there is a shop which sells a range of beers and spirits.  It's been in business since 1998 and today doesn't really seem to have a set of permanent beers but instead produces a wide range of brews which appear irregularly (well that's my impression anyway). Quality is usually high although for me the Saison does seem to have lost its mojo a bit in recent times.  There is in fact one semi-regular beer which is well worth seeking out. This is the revived Van Vollenhoven Extra Stout  (7%) which has been reborn, and revitalised, after Heineken killed it off. It sometimes comes in an imperial version too.  You'll often find this on sale at the rather excellent Pilsener Club in Amsterdam (it's at Begijnensteeg 4, just off Spui)

Back to the beer in hand, I picked this up at the Bierkoning at the end of June. A new(-ish) saison - and by De Schans. What's not to like? And it's not half bad. It's 6.5% and a hazy orange  with a slight boiled sweet note on the nose along with a touch of hop and spice. There's a touch of sweetness in the taste with a hint of orange and quite a decent bitterness at the end. Not a show stopper by any means but perfectly serviceable. I wouldn't make an effort to seek another one out but if it turned up on a beer list I'd probably give it a whirl.

Update - sad to say De Schans no longer brew Van Vollenhoven.  It's been a bit of a beer on wheels recently, with varying results I am told.  The latest version was brewed at Brouwerij Troost, bottled at De Prael and is reportedly back on form


  1. I think De Schans may have lost the contract to brew Van Vollenhovens Stout, sadly. I really liked their version.

  2. Yes, Jan Beekaa from De Bierkoning has been in touch to say the same - he says it's a long story. Agree it's a shame as, like you, I was something of a fan. Jan has said he might send me some more info.