Discover Benelux | Food & Drink | A Taste of the Netherlands
Stennis and Gajes beers. Photo: Irene van der Meijs
Bruut Bier Brewers. Photo: Eric Los
Prize-winning craft beers with an ecological touch TEXT: SOFIE COUWENBERGH
With less than four years of professional brewing experience under their belts, Amsterdam locals Sander and Ward have already produced two award-winning speciality beers under the brand Bruut. Adding a modern twist to the beer tradition of neighbouring country Belgium, they are currently repurposing an Amsterdam industrial heritage site as an ecological brewing house and pub. In 2016, Bruut shook up the Dutch beer scene when its hoppy tripel Gajes was named ‘The Best Beer of the Netherlands’ in the Dutch Beer Challenge. The beer’s unique combination of an above average bitterness and a strong citrus flavour stood out and is still a favourite among the brewery’s fans. One year later, Bruut convinced the international beer scene as well, when its blonde Stennis took home the first prize in the Pale Ale & Amber Ale category at the Brussels Beer Challenge. “Brewing started as a hobby,” brewer Sander explains, “but we quickly stepped things up and got our education in
Belgium where we still frequently take courses to build our skills.” Bruut brews in line with the Belgian tradition of attention to balance but also tries to innovate by experimenting with flavours. “We want to differentiate ourselves from the still rather traditional Belgian beer market, while still staying true to its foundations,” Sander says. The beer brand does not just do that through flavours, but also by building an environment-friendly beer hub on the Amsterdam Cruquius Island. There, they are repurposing the industrial heritage site and former head offices of Oil Factory Insulinde into the Bruut Brewpub. “It will be a meeting place where people can enjoy locally-sourced snacks, wine, gin and of course - our Bruut beers,” Sander tells us. The connection to Amsterdam goes beyond the menu as works of local artists will decorate the walls and bands, poets and writers will regularly take to the stage. But there are plenty of beer-specific activities as well, as beer lovers will be able
to visit the small in-house brewery, attend tastings and follow workshops given by various zythologists. “The focus will be on quality,” Sander says, and that does not just go for the food and drinks. With the Brewpub, Bruut is building an almost entirely closed-circuit sustainable brewery that generates its own energy, recycles spent grains and repurposes produced heat. With their beers on tap all over Amsterdam, an enticing web store and nationwide distribution, Bruut has come a long way from the basement where it started, and it will go a lot further still. Bruut Bier site, Amvest.
Issue 50 | February 2018 | 35
Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.