One of my very first blog articles when I started writing about beer in April 2017 was about the local breweries in my hometown of Rotterdam. That was two years ago. In the rapidly evolving craft beer world that is like an eon! Of the 13 breweries I wrote about then, five have hung up their boots and nine new breweries have joined the fun. Time for an update on the Rotterdam brewing scene!
Below I have listed the new breweries since 2017 and updated the breweries that are still going strong!
The new kids in town
1. 4 Islands Brewing
Started by three Brazilian friends in 2017, 4 Islands is a gypsy brewery in Rotterdam that make mainly lower ABV easy going beers. Their beers quickly took off in The Netherlands, earning them the Ratebeer award for best new brewery in NL in 2018! Their motto “Flip flops first, questions later” says it all: it’s about having fun with friends, just like they have been doing every year for the past 20 years on the 4 Islands off the Brazilian coast. These summer trips were also the inspiration for the beer names and fantastic labels. My favorite one for a long time was Starry Night, their cocoa porter, but their new West Coast IPA Bull’s Parade just knocked that one off the first spot!
2. Stadsbrouwerij Maasgoud
Maasgoud is named after the river Maas in Rotterdam. These guys are brewing out of a nanobrewery in an industrial warehouse, but their flagship blond and tripel are already being sold in Rotterdam beer shops and cafés since the summer of 2019, way to go guys! They make good quality, down-to-earth beers. I had a chance to taste their winter beer when I visited the brewery, lovely! Hopefully this one will be available in bottles in stores sometime soon.
According to Hoevebrugsch their brewery is the smallest brewery in The Netherlands, measuring about 16 square meters (172 square feet). They named it after the ‘Hoevebrug’, the bridge between both their houses, down the street from Café Walenburg above which the brewery is located. They started with a flagship Blond beer and have since then added a Saison, Witbier and a winter beer to their selection.
4. The Goat Craft Brewing
Like most breweries, these three Greek guys started as homebrewers. Soon enough they were serving their pale ale at Rotterdam’s HOP festival in 2017 and now you can find their beers all over Rotterdam! Since then they are also brewing an IPA and soon will add a third beer to their repetoire. Looking forward to tasting it!
5. Brouwerij Tureluur
Tureluur started as a student hobby in 2016 and quickly turned into something more serious when they started bottling and selling their beers in 2018. Now that’s real Rotterdam enterpreneurship! Tureluur is a bird (redshank), but also a Dutch adjective for crazy (‘tureluurs’), which is what they nearly became trying to come up with a brewery name! They no longer brew at home, but use Vet & Lazy’s installation to brew their beers Vol Blond and Rozemarijn Tripel.
6. Brouwerij De Kopstoot
A ‘kopstoot’ is a well-known Dutch drink, a mix of beer and Dutch genever. It’s probably not a coincidence then that this label has both: Tarwelijer, a wheat pale ale, and Dirk Genever (though I’m not sure if they actually make it themselves). Kopstoot started selling their Tarwelijer in bottles in 2018 and as of September 2019 will have a permanent brewing location at Hofbrouwerij Reijngoud. Looking forward to trying their Brak Obama Blackish Rye IPA on tap there!
7. Stadsbrouwerij Thoms
Opened in 2018, THOMS is a colorful modern brewpub in downtown Rotterdam with the city’s first self-serve beer tables. They brew several styles like Weizen, Lager and hoppy Pale Ales, all unpasteurized and unfiltered, which you can enjoy with some tasty bar food while admiring the brew tanks that are in full view. Their sister bar THOMS Restaurant and Bar is around the corner on Meent.
8. De Gele Kanarie
The term ‘yellow canary’ is local slang for beer. This new gastropub was opened in 2018 by the owners of Weena and Bokaal, building on the winning formula of a craft beer bar serving food. The new part however is that they brew their own beer. The brewing installation is owned by Heineken, who also have trained the brewers. Their flagships beers are a hoppy blond and a weizen, but they also have other Heineken-owned beers on tap like Aflligem and Lagunitas. They have a pretty extensive bottle list, including Noordt beers, Jopen, ‘t IJ and more.
9. Vessel 11 (V11)
The V11 is not actually a brewery but a gastropub located in a former British lightship (i.e. a ship that acts a lighthouse) that is permanently docked in the center of Rotterdam. Although they have been serving their homebrews for some time, I wasn’t aware of that when I wrote my last blog, as they only sell it from the tap at V11 and are not bottled. Their first beer was made in 2014 together with Eurotrash. In recent years they have started producing their own beers, which are brewed at Steffelaar. They currently have 5 recurring brews on tap: Classic Red Ale, ‘Session’ Stout, Weizen, Golden Blond and IPA. They serve typical British food and organize small concerts in the ‘bowels’ of the boat. Definitely a fun place to visit!
Still going strong
10. De Bebaarde Brouwer
The brewer at Kaapse Brouwers and former brewer at Brouwerij de Molen, Etienne Vermeulen is making a name for himself in Rotterdam (and beyond) with his own brews. Excellent beers and instantly recognizable beer labels! One of my favorites is Midnight Moustache, a very fruity New England style Black Rye IPA, which I think was a one-off. Hopefully he’ll make it again! His regular beers are Pornstache (India Pilsener Lager), Mosaic Moustache (Wheat IPA) and Stoppelbaard Stout. Check out the Rotterdam beer stores or his website for more info on where to find them.
They started with an IPA in 2017 and have been steadily releasing good beers ever since. You will find them in all the beer stores in Rotterdam and at the Rotterdam beer festivals such as HOP and Boudewijn. Recently they have started doing collabs with other breweries. The India Pale Lager with Ebontree and the Red Gose with Eleven Brewery were both big hits! Their breakfast coffee stout Rott.Ontbijt is still my favorite (as I like them dark!), but can recommend trying them all.
12. Kaapse Brouwers
Kaapse Brouwers was started in 2014 and is one of the biggest names in the Rotterdam beer scene. Their brewing philosophy is based on the English ‘3 pint rule’. If you can drink three of the same beer in a row, then it is a good beer. Most of the beers are brewed at Brouwerij De Molen in Bodengraven. They have an extensive core range, including beauties such as Kaapse Karel (session IPA), Kaapse Carrie (red IPA), Kaapse Nelis (Pilsner), Kaapse Maria (Vermont Pale Ale) and Kaapse Bea (Black Rye IPA). The one-offs and specialty beers are brewed in the brewpub. However, when they move to the building next door in 2020, the brewery will move to another address as there will no longer be room for it at the new location. The brewpub is located in De Kaap, a neighborhood in the district of Katendrecht, right on the water with a beautiful view of the river, Hotel NY and the city skyline. My favorite place to drink beer on a sunny day!
13. Brouwerij Noordt
A really fun taproom in Rotterdam and a favorite of the locals, so be sure to pay a visit! Noordt is located in an old fire station in the north part of Rotterdam. The taproom has 20 fresh Noordt beers on tap. They mainly focus on making no-frills quality beers for which they have won several awards, so don’t expect any pastry stouts on tap! A few of my favorites in their core range are the Seven Hops Double Pale Ale, their Bok beer and the amazing Dark Chocolate Porter. Long beer tables and a view of three fermentation tanks (the rest are inside the brewery) make for an awesome experience! What better place to drink beer than at the source? There is no food menu (except for a few bar snacks), but on Friday they bring out the BBQ grill for Burger Night! Brewery tours are also on Friday, at 5 pm. That is my favorite night to visit, because they are open longer a little longer, until 9 pm. There is outdoor seating for warm days and great shopping on the Zwaanshals street around the corner.
Beer for Rotterdammers, by Rotterdammers! With that slogan Trots presents itself as the Rotterdam beer. The beers they brew were voted for by the public via social media and the glasswork was chosen through a survey, so they are certainly living up to it! Their flagship beers are a Blond, Wit and Tripel. The label is also very fitting, showing our beautiful Rotterdam skyline. The brewery was started by students several years ago as a graduation project in 2013 and in 2019 they opened a brand store in the Markthal. Well done!
15. Vet & Lazy
Vet & Lazy brewery, located in Blue City’s glass dome building, has been actively experimenting with ingredients such as apples, citrus peels, spent coffee or oyster mushrooms from RotterZwam. Their most popular beer is their Tripel, called Je Moeder. I am super happy they make a dark beer too (my favorite of course!), the lovely coffee stout Bean me up Scotty!
Drift launched its first beer, Hijs IPA, in April 2016. In their own words “a hommage to the new beer world”. Not as hoppy as most IPAs out there, which is good news for those of you that don’t like your beer too bitter. Soon after came their second beer, Beetje Stout. In 2017 they launched their third beer, Neustadt Weizen. Available in beer stores in Rotterdam.
17. Stadsbrouwerij De Pelgrim
Pelgrim is the oldest new brewery in Rotterdam. Located in the beautiful historic Delfshaven district, they have been brewing here since 1996. They are known for their flagship beers Stoombier (Pale Ale) and Mayflower (Tripel), but they also make several other fantastic beers, such as Zonnelief – a refreshing witbier with raspberries. I love their Dubbelbock, which has an excellent bitter/malty balance, but without being sweet. And if you get the chance I absolutely recommend trying their Russian Imperial Stout Armada! They serve food in the restaurant, you can order flights and they have brewery tours. And yes, that is a hop plant you see in the picture!
Photos by Tina Rogers (unless otherwise specified).