Bodegraven – Borefts Bier Festival

Netherlands Zuid-HollandI haven’t said much about where we live, probably because there’s not much to say. A friend of ours calls Bodegraven “boterham” (sandwich in Dutch), and that’s fairly accurate. It is a small village in the Randstad right in between Rotterdam (30 km northeast) and Utrecht (30 km west).

This weekend is the best time for craft beer fans to visit Bodegraven. The Boerefts Bier Festival starts today (Friday September 25, 2015) and runs until Sat. Sept. 26th from 12 – 22:00. Microbreweries from Latvia, to Sweden to Portland, Oregon (USA) are coming to town to participate. This year’s fest features about twenty brewers (including the host brewery – De Molen) from about nine different countries, and is a great way to introduce yourself to craft beers in the EU. The cost is 20 euro for six beers and a glass. Traveling by train is best – De Molen is about a ten-minute walk (stumbling distance!) from the station.

The festival’s host, Brouwerij De Molen is a great brewery on its own accord. They consider themselves to be an experimental brewer, and it’s easy to tell that they are willing to take chances by just reviewing the beers they will be offering at the festival (Wasabi Saison, anyone?) They export approximately 70% of their beer to other countries. Their beer is quite good; I’m a fan of their Hop & Top and the Amarillo beers.

Fun fact: De Molen is listed on Rate Beer’s Top Places To Have A Beer In The World for 2015.

Some of the other standouts in Bodegraven:

Speciaal Bierwinkel

Overtocht 6. Run by Jan Kraan, it is a hybrid craft beer store and advertising agency. He also brews his own beers – one standout is the Limes Ale, a beer that’s gaining popularity in this area (on tap in Bodegraven, Woerden, etc.) Kraan’s store features Dutch and Belgium craft beers, and is organized by region. Don’t let the “Te Koop” (for sale) sign fool you, he is looking to expand and wants a larger storefront.

Fun fact: Every time we’ve visited his store, he was playing Pink Floyd.

Vinyl Voor Goed

Prins Hendrikstraat 14. This is a used LP store that donates proceeds from selected records to charity. The owner sold some of his own collection to get it started, and the LPs are priced fairly and in good condition. Top finds: This Year’s Model – Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Horses – Patti Smith. Open Thursday & Saturday 10:00 – 17:00; Friday 13:00 – 20:30; cash only.

De Zoete Inval

Noordstraat 6 Delicious coffee and gelato. Every cup of coffee comes with a mini gelato cone.

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