Last week Gooische Bierbrouwerij won the award for best beer of the Netherlands with their excellent Schwarzbier. I have been a fan of this brewery and especially this beer for a very long time. I wrote this article a long time ago in 2012 for the blog Dutch Beer Pages. Now 12 years later I am glad to post it again. Things have changed a lot since then. They now have their own brewery in the middle of Hilversum and have expanded with different styles as well. They make great grape ales for example.
Hilversum: Holland’s Hollywood. The center of Dutch media and part of ‘t Gooi, a region of about 15 miles east of Amsterdam and a region that makes the rest of the country think of wealth. Mansions for the elite in a landscape of beautiful forestlands, lakes and golf courses. Not exactly the surrounding you would expect a brewery would flourish, but the Gooische Bierbrouwerij is attempting to do just that. ’t Gooi hardly has a brewing history, the small ones that once existed have folded. Let’s hope this one will last.
The logo of the Gooische is a winged Chihuahua. While looking for an animal that fit ‘t Gooi all the animals (fox, badger, rabbit, sheep) were already taken by other breweries. The Chihuahua is a typical animal for the rich people in ‘t Gooi. It also fits the identity of the brewery: small but ready to take on the world. The wings give it a mythical twist.
I wrote before about Duits & Lauret and the class they show in their logo and website. The same can be said about the Gooische Brewery. It is a website that, as brewer Gijs tells us, also tries to convey how they look at beer: a beautiful and honest product. The style and attention might not be such a surprise if you know that three of the four people behind the brewery are designers, the fourth a history teacher. And they are serious about the brewery, considering it not only a hobby but also a second job.
Beer as wine.
In their eyes beer is a product that can be used like wine or next to it. Often brewers tell me, why do people give bottles of wine as a present and not a bottle of beer? Why is wine served at dinner and not beer? Gooische is trying to become a beer with the status of wine. The first beer I tried from Gooische was a Schwarz, not a style a brewery usually starts with. It is however a favorite style of the brewers, who have a preference for black beers, porters, stouts and German or Czech schwarzbeers. It is also a good accompaniment to food. So it was natural to brew a Schwarz brewer Gijs tells me. Besides the Schwarz and the blond they made a new beer: a white where the wheat has been replaced by (of course) buckwheat. Fall will bring a chestnut beer with locally picked chestnuts. New beers might come in the future, but the main focus is on continuing the present beerline. There isn’t an actual brewery in Hilversum yet, only the testbrews are made there <strong>Buckwheat</strong> Gooische tries to use as many regional ingredients as possible. Het Gooi is mainly peat and sand. Barley and wheat does not exactly flourish in this part of the country. One of the crops that was traditionally grown was buckwheat, a crop so important that two of the local counties have buckwheat in their shield. After some investigation it turned out that using buckwheat as starch worked as well and it made barleymalt an important ingredient, and it adds a soft touch and a beautiful head. Gooisch’ aim is to make a local product, made close to the source and the consumer. Easier logistics, lower energy costs etc. There are hardly any local products but there is a market for them and Gooisch is trying to fill that demand.