Haarlem - Leiden- Den Haag - Delft - Rotterdam - Gouda - Alphen aan de Rijn - Uithoorn - Amsterdam
When we think of beer in Holland we think of a nice cold glass (‘biertje’) of pale lager like Heineken or Grolsch which are both heavily exported and widely advertised. Heineken is now the third-largest brewer of beer in the world, behind SAB Miller and Anheuser-Busch InBev. In fact almost half the global production of beer comes from these low lying lands.
Whilst pale lager represents the mass majority of beer produced and consumed in the Netherlands most Dutch brewers will also brew special varieties of their particular brand. The most common are ‘witbiers’ and also Bok beer specials brewed in Spring and Autumn, similar to the German Bock beer tradition.
Aside from the main brewery companies there is a growing trend in the Netherlands for microbreweries brewing their exclusive brands of ‘speciaalbier’. Since 2003 the number of microbreweries has at least tripled and contributed to a landslide of craft beers with brewers popping up all over the country.
The Holland Beer Tour takes you on a journey from North to South where you can experience first hand the vastly different methods of brewing and distribution in the Netherlands. From one extreme to another, see how world famous brands are brewed on an industrial scale in comparison to the booming regional exclusivity of hip craft beers that guarantee a taste of something special. Beer is seriously big news in the Netherlands, check it out for yourself!
The flexibility of our tours means you can choose how you spend each day. After breakfast we discuss the daily meet point and you can either sail with us, admiring the view from the deck or alternatively you can cycle cross country to the next destination.
Your sailing group will get together at the end of the day to enjoy a fantastic and well deserved three-course set meal (see our menu page for samples). Evenings are free to spend as you wish, relaxing in the lounge or checking out the local area.
2018 TOUR DATES
Below are the sailing dates for the Holland Beer Tour 2018. You can book as an individual, couple or charter the boat as a group of up to 20 people.
Use the form to the side to see if the dates you are requesting are available.
4th - 11th Aug HAAR-AMS
18th - 25th Aug HAAR-AMS
Day 1 - Hops on in Haarlem - Welkom in Haarlem…Just 20 minutes from Amsterdam you’ll arrive aboard your chosen vessel, check into your cabin for the week and spend the day exploring this adorable Dutch city. It’s straight onto the brewery trail with your first visit of the week to the Jopenkerk Brouwerij. Following a recipe dating back to 1407, Jopen’s Koyt - Strong Gruit beer (8.5% ABV) is re-created to bring traditional taste to the modern market. In the near neighbourhood and ‘for the love of crafty beer’ there is also the Uiltje Brewery and Tap Room that features free weekend tours and late night events to make you feel like a local Haarlemmer. Don’t miss out on their Big Fat Double 5 IPA- Imperial IPA (8.5% ABV). Dinner is served aboard.
Day 2 - Lazy Leiden - Get on your bike after breakfast and if you are travelling with us in May you may wish to take the Tulip Route inland through Lisse to the world famous Keukenhof and surrounding flower fields. In other months you can cycle instead along the North Sea coast line via the vintage resorts Noordwijk and Katwijk aan Zee. The day ends 32Km later in Leiden, the oldest university city in the Netherlands and also birthplace of Rembrandt. An appointment can be made in advance with the Pronck Brouwerij, made up of a group of young and passionate brewers whose beers are crafted from only the best locally sourced ingredients. We highly recommend their exquisite Citra Rye IPA (5% ABV) as a zesty pick-me-up after the days ride or the Pronck Imperial Porter (11% ABV) for something truly bolder and badder. Dinner is served in the peaceful city-gate harbour.
Day 3 Delft Aware - This morning depart from Leiden in the direction of Den Haag (The Hague), cycling along the Vliet canal through the affluent estates of Wassenaar. If you’re a royal fan you can arrive in front of King Willem Alexander’s private mansion or else head out to the popular beach resort of Scheveningen. By the afternoon you’ll be ready for some refreshment and as the friendly folk at Kompaan Brouwerij say ‘Keep your friends close, and Kompaan closer!’. Their solid beers are numerous and we recommend tapping into your lust for life with their No 45 Vrijbuiter - Double Porter (7.1% ABV). From there it’s only 12Km to Delft, where we’ll be waiting for you. You can spend the evening discovering this historical gem, through the petite canals and local bier bars or just enjoy the city view from the deck.
Day 4 This could be, Rotterdam… - The journey is short from Delft (18Km) so you will have plenty of time to explore this ‘Manhattan on the Maas’ and the surrounding areas. In the city there are tons of architectural highlights, it really is a treat to arrive in Rotterdam by boat or bike. You’ll pass the iconic Erasmus Bridge, gateway to the Kop van Zuid district where redevelopments on derelict harbour areas contrast with ultra sleek modernity. Rotterdam became brewery free after the Second World War and the departure of Heineken to Zoeterwoude. The Stadsbrouwerij de Pilgrim in Delfshaven put an end to this in 1996 and we urge you to try their Pelgrim Armada B.A. Springbank - Imperial Stout (11% ABV), a heady, complex stout aged in whiskey barrels, awesome stuff... Dinner is served aboard and then the evening is free. If you’re just feeling Vet and Lazy then a nice bottle of Sweet Baby Jesus - Hefe Weizen (4.8% ABV) could be just the ticket!
Day 5 Goodness Gouda! - It’s an early start if you wish to travel to the UNESCO Heritage Site of Kinderdijk, a village famous for it’s windmills. Afterwards visit the silver city of Schoonhoven for a pit stop at the Microbrouwerij Argentum. Here beer lovers are welcome to taste their business card brew Imperial Stout - Dark Ale (10.8% ABV), aged in oak barrels with a hint of port and vanilla. Then it's only 15Km to Gouda where you can treat yourself further with a fine range of original products and we don’t just mean the cheese variety… This city was also the home of the philosopher Erasmus during the Reformation and in homage you can grab a bottle of Erasmusbier - Strong Ale (7.5% ABV). Brewed locally by De Goudsche Leeuw Brouwerij you’ll find it amongst many others in the numerous bier cafés dotted around the Gothic town centre. Dinner aboard is a buffet beer pairing with some local specialties. Yes cheese!
Day 6 Uithoorn and about - In the morning you can visit the Gouda Cheese market and watch the farmers and traders in front of the Weighing House or ’Waag’. We then continue through the Green Heart of the Randstad towards Alphen aan de Rijn taking in the gorgeous landscapes, winding canals and tiny lakes. Along the way you simply cannot miss a Tour and Tasting trip to De Molen Brouwerij in Bodegraven. One of the more renowned Dutch microbrewers, we can fully recommend (amongst many others..) their light grassy Frank & Vrij Pale Ale-ish - Vermont IPA (6.9% ABV) as a perfect midday aperitif. The final leg takes you to the small town of Uithoorn where De Schans Brouwerij and Brewpub is waiting. After 35Km cycling or sailing you’ll be more than happy to kick back in their calming garden where they serve the delightful caramel Schansbier - Herfstbok (6.5% ABV). Dinner is served aboard in the town harbour.
Day 7 Amsterdamage - A short 20Km cycle will bring you to our final destination of Amsterdam. Alternatively you can also sail with us up the Amstel river, arriving in style with your feet up and a glass in your hand. Needless to say this city has a deluge of breweries for you to get completely lost in. As you enter the city from the south you can pop into Cinema Brouwerij whose ethos of brewing beers from classic movies such as Pulp Fiction and The Big Lebowski is a guaranteed conversation starter. Or maybe you fancy Brouwerij Troost, a former monastery in the hipster market neighbourhood of De Pijp brewing a wide selection of IPA’s, Ambers, Blonds and barrel aged barley wine. Dotted all over the city you will find ‘bruine kroeg’ or brown cafes where you can mingle with the locals. Take a trip into old Amsterdam and visit Caffe Hoppe (1670) to get that real ‘gezellig’ feeling or De Prael Browuerij for a sip of their Double India Pale Ale - D.I.P.A (9% ABV). Finally don't forget the canal terrace at Brouwerij 't Ij where chilling out under a huge windmill and sipping on a glass of their organic Columbus - Strong Ale (9% ABV) is the most fabulous way to end a holiday.
Day 8 The End - Breakfast is served and its time to say goodbye.