Maastricht is located in the South-Eastern extremity of the Netherlands, and the city is a few kilometers away from Belgium. Besides sharing a common language the Dutch and the Flemish Belgians also share the passion for good beer. Actually Belgium with its 125 breweries and its countless brands of beer (well, some people do count them, and results differ from 800 to more than 8000 brands!) is the place of origin of the best beer in the world. Maastricht enjoys some (but not all) the varieties of beer, but for me and for many other IETF-ers it was the opportunity to get as close as possible and taste as many as possible Belgian beers without entering Belgium. The Dutch beers are by far not that varied and interesting as the Belgian ones, but if you search well you may have some pleasant surprises.

Affligem Dubbel

Let us start with some terminology. A Dubbel is a almost dark (brown) beer, one of the traditional brands produced by the Trappist monks starting with the 19th century. It is typically 6 to 8% strong. The Affligem Dubbel is 7% strong and is produced in a 12,000 inhabitants village north of Brussels. The monastery there dates back from the 11th century. This was one of my preferred beers during the stay in Maastricht.

Grimbergen Dubbel

Another brand of dubbel I had in Maastricht comes from Grimbergen which is said to have brewed its first beers in 1128. No need to say, any beer you drink comes in its own glass.

Westmalle Trappist

Another Belgian dubble which I enjoyed comes from Westmalle Abbey, a Trappist brewery which dates from the mid-19th century. The concentration of their beer is 7%, the taste is complex and a little bit on the sweet side, with a consistent feel.

La Trappe Tripel

A Triple is a blonde and even stronger beer. There are seven breweries producing triples in the world, six of them are located in Belgium, and the seventh one La Trappe in the Netherlands.

Heineken Oud Bruin

Staying in the Netherlands, anybody who knows beer heard about Heineken. They actually manufacture non-boring beer as well, one of them being the Oud Bruin also known as the Flemish sour brown ale. It is aged in wooden caskets, same style as the wine aging caskets.

Wieckse Rose

Last, on a lighter note here is the fruity Wieckse Rose which was one of the beers served at the IETF social. It is not at all my style, but, hey, it was free!