What is a Craft Beer
Whilst it is difficult to define a craft beer, ironically it has redefined the brewing industry. It is a term that has been widely debated and there are a few things that most will agree with. Not bound to a particular beer style, craft beer is brewed by those who have passion and enthusiasm for brewing, willing to experiment and push the boundaries, and with total freedom to do so! And that is what you’ll find here at Uiltje, not only bucket loads of hops, but also bucket loads of passion and enthusiasm!
History of Craft Beer
A relatively new phenomenon, the craft beer revolution first began over in the US, before spreading to the UK and throughout the rest of Europe, including here in the Netherlands. Many American brewers experimented with old school traditional beer recipes and with access to flavoursome American hop varieties, this allowed them to create some pretty ‘out there’ beers. Pretty soon, beer drinkers developed a thirst for this hoppy beer and demanded more of these exciting new beers and as these craft beers went global, you could say the rest is history! Today craft brewers continue to experiment with new ingredients and new techniques, forever creating scrumptious beers!
Many craft breweries began with beer drinkers experimenting with home brewing before giving up their day jobs to brew full time – and it was no different for our Rob, our founding owl! Starting off brewing in his kitchen, Rob soon came up with some brew-tiful beer recipes, learnt the tricks of the trade with our friends at Jopen before setting up the Uiltje brewery in 2015!
Colour of a Craft Beer
The colour of your craft beer will depend on the type of malts that have been used to brew your beer, and can vary enormously, ranging from a pale golden colour, to ruby red, to dark amber or almost black with your stouts. Before you’re tempted to sip your beer, take a moment to hold up your glass against the light and admire the colour of your beer – it will also help to show what kind of beer you’re about to enjoy!
Now whilst 99% of the beers out there will fall into these categories, of course, in true Uiltje fashion, we’ve created and concocted a variety of beers whose colours are not dissimilar to those found inside a bag of skittles (funnily enough we’ve actually brewed a skittle beer too). We’ve brewed beers that were green, pink and more recently even blue. You can be sure that they turned some heads when they were poured in the bars…
Different types of Craft Beer
Where do you even begin with the different types of craft beer out there? Just like the sailors who brought the original India pale ale from Britain to India, you need a compass to navigate the variety of beer styles today! Perhaps it is best to begin with the IPA, which has been re-discovered and reinvented by American brewers, using American hops to create IPAs that are bursting with both bitterness and flavours! There are now whole sub groups to IPAs – for instance West Coast IPAs and hazy New England IPAs. We even created our own IPA, a South West IPA! But this is only the tip of the iceberg, as brewers have experimented with everything from traditional pilsners, sour beers and stouts and porters! You even have hybrid beer styles today too – India pale lager anyone?
And let’s not forget those barrel aged beers! The beauty of using barrels that were previously used to age and store wine, sherry, port or whiskey is that these barrels will impart these flavours into the beer that is aged within them.
Craft Beer Food Pairing
Gone are the days where you would perhaps only associate food pairing with wine, nowadays beer and food pairing is a thing too! In fact, not too long ago we introduced our beer into De Librije restaurant, a Michelin star restaurant located in Zwolle, which now offers our flagship IPA beer, Bird of Prey, paired with one of their dishes. And that’s another beauty that craft beer has to offer – due to the huge amount of beer styles available, there is a craft beer for every dish! And the chances are, if you’re in a venue where they’re passionate about their beer, they’re likely to be offering great food too!
Whether you simply need to wash down your bitterballen with a Bird of Prey, or enjoy a Dr. Raptor with a steak and chips there is a beer for every foodie occasion. If you’re wondering what hoppy IPAs pair nicely with spicy foods, they’re ideal with tacos as well as with a curry. And if you want to make it ultra-Dutch, you’ll find that craft beer can go very nicely with cheese too!
Craft Beer at Uiltje Brewing Company
Hopefully it should be clear by now that here at Uiltje, we are the definition of Dutch craft beer! What started out as a hobby for Rob has now turned into a fully-fledged business and we’re proud of how far we’ve come. Our ethos has remained the same in that we love what we do and that whilst we continue to grow, we never compromise on the quality of our beers. This should be especially evident through our Fresh & Fast scheme, which allows you to enjoy our beers as soon as possible from the canning line (within 48 hours) and as such at their freshest and very best. Aside from brewing a vast array of IPAs, we have experimented with other styles including sour beers, pilsner style beers as well as darker beer styles such as stouts and porters and we’ve even done our fair share of barrel ageing too! Walk into the Uiltje nest and you’ll be welcomed by a group of passionate staff members, always equipped with a smile and a willingness to push the boundaries of brewing! If you would like to see which beers we are currently brewing, then be sure to check out our release calendar!
Getting thirsty? At the Uiltje brewing webshop you can order all kinds of different craft beer! Enjoy your day!