Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Meibokfestival 2010

It was a busy weekend. Friday on the lash with Mike. Saturday afternoon, a couple of beers with Dolores. And Sunday, the Meibokfestival.

Amsterdam has two beer festivals. The Bokbierfestival in Autumn and the Meibokfestival in Spring. Both are a bit too bok-themed for my taste. Mike swears by the Bokbierfestival. Sorry, swears about the Bokbierfestival. He complains about it as soon as the first leaf falls from the trees. He calls me a lunatic when I tell him I'm going, as every year. And when its over he glares at me accusingly, daring me to say something positive about it. A happy time.

After his one visit to the Meibokfestival, he wasn't any more positive. He's not a fan of Dutch Bok. Pale or dark.  To be honest, I probably wouldn't go to either festival, if they weren't in the city where I live. The book stall is the main draw of the Bokbierfestival. I always take along extra cash. When the Meibokfestival was held in the old Prael brewery, I went because it was just around the corner. I'm lazy, but not that lazy. That and the fact they always seemed to have Klosterbräu Maibock. One hell of a beer. Full of Bocky goodness.

Surprisingly, Mike was surprised I didn't invite him along to the fest. Things he'd said, like "I'm never going to that again" and "Why go to a festival with just one kind of beer? Would you go to a restaurant that only sold cabbage?" had somehow convinced me he wouldn't be interested. Stupid me. I knew Lexie would be along. Him and Mike don't mix well. A bit like acid and napalm.

Get some peev down yer neck. Just ignore that last sentence. I just felt a sudden urge to include some Newark argot. It won't happen again. I promise.

After waving Andrew off on his school trip to Edinburgh, me, Lexie and Dolores took a number 4 tram into town. Meibokfestival-bound. Whohoo, as Homer would shout. (We were early for Andrew's coach and I persuaded the family waiting would be more pleasant at Diva's. Handily nearby. Later, while we waited for the last errant kids to show up, I passed the time snapping one of my favourite streets, just around the back of Andrew's school.)

This year, the festival was in a former RC church. Very nice and quite suited, as a space to a festival. I won't waste my time, when tea is imminent, with descriptions. I took the precaution of taking photos. They come out surprisingly well, considering the modest light.

For flashing my CAMRA gold card, I got a free token and a card with "een Spring Hop" on it. Funny coincidence, that. It's the beer I planned starting with, anyway. As it was the lowest-ABV beer at the festival. Had to give it a fair chance. One of a brace of cask beers.

That's a reason for attending the Meibokfestival I forgot before. They always have cask beer. At times it's been revealing how well modest-gravity cask beers can stand up against stuff twice as strong. Mike doesn't really give a toss about cask. He'll drink it, but will just as happily swill something filtered to death.

Menno of De Molen was there. And a beer of his. Or two. I see there are two in the programme. I had one. Not sure which. Very grapefruity. As was the Tigertops Spring Hop.

(I'm getting back into this beer describing thing. Grapefruity. It's a good one that. Almost accurate, too. I may try out a few more test adjectives later.)

Hasenbräu Osterbock. That was very German. But more Zweite Bundesliga than top flight. Schlenkerla Fastenbier. I had three of those. Full of bacony goodness. (Another adjective there. German, That was one, too). Great beer. But I'd prefer it a bit warmer and by the half litre. Me being a picky twat. Lexie spat it out, despite loving bacon. Just can't understand these kids.

Lexie had some sausage. Then got bored. I rushed through the rest of my tokens. Some Dutch things. The other Tigertops beer. Warmingly good, that was. (Adverb and adjective. Do I get a double score for that?).

Ooh. We've got prawn curry for tea. Don't want it getting cold. I had some other beers and we went home. By tram.


Gary Gillman said...

Sounds like an excellent event. I once visited Amsterdam at bokbier time and was able to taste a decent range, verging from the undrinkable (some top-fermenting examples as I recall) to really good. At least in recent years, the style seems quite flexible, which is fine.

I recall once seeing - it may have been a period drawing in a Zola novel, probably L'Assomoir - a row of handpumps on the bar of a pub in Lille. Clearly, beer was once dispensed in that fashion in France and probably in Belgium too. The handpumps shown in the photos from this current festival are not a strange English importation or least not really a recent one.

An authority on French brewing history, Pierre-Andre Dubois, once told me that top-fermented beer was delivered to pubs or to homes unfiltered in casks to complete a secondary fermentation. Essentially it was real ale as known in England and the handpump dispense was just a convenient way to serve it.


Martyn Cornell said...

How's the volcano affecting Andrew's trip to Embra, or did he not fly?

Ron Pattinson said...

Martyn, he went by ferry.

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