One of the things I love most about Rotterdam is its innovative spirit and how it embraces new developments and sustainable solutions. Uit Je Eigen Stad, which literally translates as ‘From Your Own City’, is one of those great initiatives contributing to sustainable food production, while at the same time creating awareness on where our food comes from. It’s an urban farm on the border of Rotterdam and the city of Schiedam that grows its own produce and turns it into delicious dishes served at their restaurant. What better place to have Rotterdam’s first local beer festival?
My friend and I made sure to get there early so we could chat with the brewers and take pictures. Of course after a few beers I forgot all about that, so I profoundly apologize for not doing a better job of bringing you first hand behind-the-scenes information. I promise to do better next time! The live band and atmosphere were brilliant. I loved that the beer ‘glasses’ were little jam jars, which you can reuse at home. I hope this festival is here to stay!
Tasting local beers
The Goat Beer
I first tasted The Goat’s pale ale at HOP festival in Rotterdam last year and had a nice chat with them there. I was so impressed that they recognized me after all this time! It started out as a group of Greek friends brewing for fun, but the beer has taken off since then. Their pale ale has a lovely malty character and subtle caramel tones, balanced by a nice bitterhops flavor. They currently brew one beer, which is available in stores like World of Drinks in the Markthal and the Hop-in beer store on Zwaanshals. You can also try it at Uit Je Eigen Stad, Old Scuola (pizza restaurant on the Goudsesingel), and cafés Faas and De Riddert.
According to brewers Martijn and Peter, they just might be the smallest brewery in The Netherlands. Located next door to Café Walenburg, near Rotterdam Central Station, their brewery spans about 16 square meters (172 square feet). They named it after the ‘Hoevebrug’, the bridge between both their houses, which ‘connects’ them so to speak and is a stone’s throw away from the brewery. I had never heard the name of that bridge before now, but they are convinced every Rotterdammer knows about it!
I had already tasted their excellent blond beer for the first time last year, so at the festival I went for the new beer ‘6-ON’, a saison / farmhouse ale with a lovely subtle sour twist. I’m looking forward to their next brews!
I’ve only ever been able to find Steffelaar’s blond beer at one store in Rotterdam, so I was very happy to see them at the festival and try more of their beers. I went for the stout. It was served a bit cold, taking some time for the flavors to come out. Although a light-bodied stout, the chocolate was very prominent, which I love in a beer! By this time the festival had become a bit more crowded and I didn’t get a chance to ask them any questions, hopefully I can get more inside information next time!
Vet & Lazy
The guys from Vet & Lazy are fun to talk to and always make time for a chat! Being a sucker for merchandise, it will come as no surprise that by the end of our conversation I was walking around with a new Vet & Lazy hat!
The new brewery at BlueCity isn’t quite finished yet, but the beer production is still going strong! They’ve just come out with a new milk stout called Zwarte Tepel, a little less smooth for a milk stout than you’d might expect, but with a really nice dark and bitter coffee flavor.
With three beers out now, Drift Brouwers has been making a name for itself in Rotterdam. They seem to be quite the foodie as well and even had their own dish at restaurant Aloha in BlueCity: Indian mussels made with their very own Drift IPA!
I tried their Beetje Stout, a light-bodied stout with a subtle sour note in it. I drank this one right after the Vet & Lazy stout, so that may have affected my ability to properly taste it, hence the impression that it seemed a bit light. I’ll have to try this one again! Their third beer is Neustadt Weizen, a nice one for hot summer days.
Stadsbrouwerij De Pelgrim
Beers from De Pelgrim, Rotterdam’s oldest active brewery, never disappoint! Their dubbel bock is especially tasty. Unlike the traditional Dutch bok, this one is not sweet and it has a nice malt bitter woody taste to it with hints of coffee and chocolate. At only the age of 26 their master brewer is doing a brilliant job! The brewery, located in historic Delfshaven, is also a fun place to visit.
About the urban farm & restaurant
Uit Je Eigen Stad opened near Marconiplein in 2012. Their goal is to produce as much as they can locally, so they grow their own vegetables and raise pigs and chickens. Whatever they cannot produce themselves, they get from farms in the area. It is a great place to have lunch or hang around outside on their terrace overlooking their fields on a summer day. Last year they opened up a second venue inside Rotterdam Central Station after a successful crowdfunding campaign. Here you can find all sorts of healthy options, which fits the station’s plan to become ‘greener’. Check it out next time you have a few minutes to spare while waiting for your train!