Another weekend, another trip. We intended to go to Antwerp on Saturday, but a late night Friday scrapped those plans. Sunday’s forecast for cool temperatures and rain in the northern part of the Netherlands convinced me to head south to Tilburg, where the forecast was for 75 degrees and sunny. Lucky for me, just outside of Tilburg is Abdij Koningshoeven, the only Trappist brewery in the Netherlands, and 1 of only 7 in the world (the other 6 are in Belgium).
We hopped onto the Fyra high-speed train to Breda, and then transferred to Tilburg from there. All in all, it’s about a 90 minute journey from Amsterdam (or a little over 2 hours if you take the normal speed train). Being Sunday, everything in Tilburg was closed, so we found a bus and went to the Abbey outside of town.
The Abbey is surrounded by fields full of sheep, soybeans, corn, and others. A small canal flows nearby as well. From the bus-stop, it’s just a short walk down a tree lined street to the main entrance.
The Abbey itself is closed to visitors, but there is a tasting room (Proeflokaal) available, as well as a gift shop. We found a table outside under the sun, and started trying the beers. We wanted to start with the Quadrupel Oak Aged, but the bartender convinced us to try others first, since it was €15 a bottle.
The first beer I tried was the limited-edition Isid’or, named after the first brew-master of the Abbey, who began brewing beer there 125 years ago. It has a slight caramel taste, very fruity, and very light. I enjoyed it very much. Next, we decided not to wait, and we ordered a bottle of the Quadrupel Oak Aged. It sits in an Oak barrel for 1 year to mature. It was quite tasty, but due to the price, it’s not something I’ll be ordering very often.
At this point, we had noticed that the bartenders would sometimes pour a small amount of a red liquid into the beer glass before filling it with beer. Not sure what this was, I tried ordering a glass of the “bierliquor”. It arrived in a liquour glass, and the 4 of us agreed that it was not good. It also wasn’t the beer with the red liquid. I finally asked a bartender, and he said some customers prefer to have some grenadine added to the beer. Not something I would ever consider, but interesting nonetheless. I closed out the day with a ham sandwich, some bread from the monks, and a bottle of La Trappe Trippel. It was good, as I expected it to be. It’s one of their more popular beers, and is available in grocery stores and some bars in Amsterdam.
If we were to go again (and I gladly would), I would take our bikes on board the train, and ride to the brewery from Tilburg. We attempted to rent bikes, but being Sunday, nothing was open. The brewery is only about 5km from the main train station. I highly recommend a trip to the Bierbrouwerij de Koningshoeven on a nice sunny day.