Dutch daily life: swing by the brouwerij (brewery)

Beer coasters from the Alfa Brouwerij (Brewery) in Schinnen, the Netherlands (Scarborough photo)One of the most rewarding aspects of living in another country is the little cultural moments in your daily routine.

In Japan, we had to think really hard about taking out the trash.

In the Netherlands, we made a point to stop and pick up the occasional six-pack at one of the local beer breweries in South Limburg — Alfa Brouwerij.

There were other local places making beer, of course.

The folks at Gulpener Bierbrouwerij sponsored a fun volksmarch near my village; how can you argue with a glass of good beer after a breezy 5K hike?

Still, we ended up at Alfa because it was located on a thoroughfare we used a lot.

I think about them in the winter because that’s the time of year for their yummy, heavy-duty, darker brews like Super Dortmunder (“the strongest bottom-fermentation beer in the Netherlands” with alcohol at 7.5% – whew) and Bokbier, which is made in the fall for winter consumption.

On their Web site, Alfa takes great pride in how they use their brewery’s own spring water:

“To guarantee that no more beer is brewed than the permitted limit [of spring water useage] each individual bottle of Alfa beer has been numbered since March 1995. There are only 10 certified springs in the Netherlands – the ‘Alfa spring’ is the only one of them that is used for making beer.”

Promotional beer glasses from Alfa Brouwerij (Brewery) in Schinnen, the Netherlands (Scarborough photo)The breweries in Europe are also big on promotional glasses sold with pack of beer. You can find this sort of thing in the U.S., but usually only at liquor stores and not that often.

At the Alfa brewery, my six-pack of Super Dortmunder could be purchased with a special glass that was designed to accentuate the drinking experience of that particular beer, just like specialized wine glasses.

As you can see from the photo, some of my Alfa glasses are looking a bit tatty from being jammed in the dishwasher instead of handwashed.

I raise a glass to all local breweries, wherever they are, and ask that our beer drinking readers patronize their own hometown or regional establishment. It helps to make a place special.

Technorati tags: travel, the Netherlands, beer, bier, beer making, Alfa Brouwerij, Limburg, Dutch brewery


  1. harry meens February 1, 2008
  2. Sheila February 1, 2008

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