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Sunday, 11 October 2015

Not the Borefts Bier Festival

Borefts After Festival

It's been quiet here of late. One of the reasons is that I've been off on my travels but hopefully what passes for normal service will now be restored. Two nights in Lille were followed by five in Amsterdam and these included visits to the Borefts Bier Festival and the excellent After Festival held at the Fenix Food Factory in Rotterdam.

I'm lucky enough to have visited every Borefts Festival and it's been interesting to watch it grow and evolve over the years. Martijn over at The Dutch Beer Pages has already written about this year's event so I don't propose adding much here. The beers were the usual collection of the excellent, the mad, the bad and the dangerous to know of course, but I managed to steer clear of most of the clunkers. 

Apart from De Molen, the Netherlands was represented by Kees Bubberman's Brouwerij Kees! and Oedipus Brewing neither of whom let the side down.  I rarely go with a plan of action but here I was determined to try all of the Kees beers that's I'd not yet had, and that was quite a few.  The festival special was a Black Oyster Saison (just how craft can you get?) which was very good indeed.Other standouts from a wide range were Indian Summer Doppelbock, Oatmeal Breakfast Stout and a glorious American Barley Wine.

The hardworking team at Oedipus always have some treats in store and Borefts was no exception. I enjoyed reacquainting myself with Himbeer, a raspberry Berliner Wiesse, and was very taken by two brand new offerings.  Kinderyoga was an excellently balanced Imperial Stout which I could drink a lot of but the star of the show had to be Hosanna, a double IPA. Fresh, hoppy and doing just about everything you'd want a double IPA to do, this was just great. One of my party thought it was the best beer there.

An innovation last year was the Borefts After Festival in Rotterdam which proved to be an excellent antidote to the frantic activity in Bodegraven.  It's hosted by Kaapse Brouwers who have a brewery, bar and shop in the Fenix Food Factory. This is a converted warehouse on Veerlaan and at the back you can sit outside looking over Rijnhaven and the Nieuwe Maas back to the city centre. What's not to like about that?

Inside, apart from Kaapse Bouwers, there is a cider seller, butcher, cheese shop, coffee roaster, bakery and all sort of goodies as you can see if you follow this link. It attracts families who come for Sunday brunch and you can hire a tray and go round each stall building up your meal. The Kaapse Brouwers bar features live jazz on Sundays too.  Somehow they manage to fit a beer festival into all of this as well (in fact it's not all inside - this year some of the brewers' bars were outside as was a DJ and a handful of food stalls).
There were nine breweries present and seven of these were Dutch - Kaapse Brouwers of course plus: Oedipus (somehow still standing and good to go after two days at Borefts), Ramses, Van Moll, Raven Bone Hill, Oersoep, and Het Uiltje. In short, a cross section of Dutch craft brewing's premier league. They were joined by La Quince from Madrid and Pohjala from Tallinn.
After Borefts my beery mojo had slightly deserted me so I was slightly more restrained than I had been over the previous two days. I had to start with the wonderful Brettalicious from Oersoep. This full bodied, brett-infused and highly drinkable saison never, ever disappoints and set me up for the rest of the afternoon. Oedipus's Hosanna had to be revisited of course and Bea, a rye black IPA from hosts Kaapse Brouwers, was hoppy, black, dry and a fine example of the genre. Rames has always been one of my favourite Dutch brewers and the single hop Koele Kikker didn't disappoint, and nor did the seasonal Lambok which was on cask too! Van Moll's Fruity Loops, a blonde beer with dried red fruit, was pleasant enough but was certainly not the best Van Moll beer I've had.  The same goes for Raven Bone Hill's Cock of the Rock, described as an "Inca purple ale" and in reality an American pale ale. 
And finally - La Quince. I've not had a lot of Spanish craft beer but what I have tried has been seriously good. That track record was maintained here.  Both Double Baden, a big double IPA and Vanillla Black Velvet was a luscious imperial stout (and was even enjoyed by one of my stout hating friends).

I enjoyed the After Festival so much that next year I might just spend one day at the "main event" so I can enjoy this one all the more. We'll see.


Unknown said...

I am so glad to know about this Borefts Bier Festival. Thanks a lot for the pictures. I haven’t attended this event but I have been to similar beer fests at local event venue NYC. They were also very interesting. I think you should also attend NYC beer Festival.

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