Who doesn’t love fresh beer from the tap? Suitable for both craft beer novices and aficionados, the tap takeover is a great way to explore new beers, brewers and craft beer bars. Not surprisingly an American phenomenon, tap takeovers are literally taking over the Dutch craft beer scene. What is surprising to me is that many of my friends and colleagues never experienced one before. A great topic for a blog post!
What is a tap takeover? For one night, or more, a bar will have several or all of their taps taken over by one brewery. Another great excuse to get together with friends for a fun night out. But it’s so much more! I’m not ashamed to admit it’s my new favorite hobby. Here’s why.
If you can’t go to the mountain….
Even though the craft beer movement is taking flight in Holland, there are many amazing beers from brewers, national and international, that are not readily available at the local beer shop or bar. Of course you could hop on a flight in pursuit of that magical Untappd beer check-in, but let’s face it, we are not those people. So if you can’t go to the mountain, how perfect would it be if the mountain came to you? That’s what tap takeovers feel like to me. It’s that adventurous far away beercation happening right in my backyard. Norway is one of those countries that I really want to visit. It has great beers, breweries, people, landscape. Pretty much great everything (not to mention my alpine ski racing hero Aksel Lund Svindal is Norwegian)! So I was thrilled when a Nøgne Ø tap takeover took place at Kaapse Maria in my hometown of Rotterdam.
You can dip your toe in the craft beer scene
Nøgne Ø’s brewer Stephen Andrews was on site at the tap takeover, making the experience all the more special. What better person to talk to about the brewery and the beers than the man himself? I have only met a handful of brewers so far, but I have found everyone to be very approachable and ready to share their enthusiasm for their craft product. What’s more is that I got to taste their very own saké! I had no idea they are Europe’s first saké brewery. And it’s something that I wouldn’t buy, even if I had access to it, because it’s a risky purchase when you’re not sure you are going to like it. I learned that night that saké really isn’t my thing.
If you are a newbie to craft beer, it is the perfect opportunity to discover if you have more of a taste for the sweet Belgian triple, the dark coffee stout or the tropical fruit IPA. Or maybe all of them? Nowadays most bars will provide tasting glasses (15cl), so you can try more beers without worrying how you are going to get home.
It’s a reason to visit that bar that has been forever on your wish list
We’ve all been there. That amazing bar you’ve been meaning to go to, but you never do. Too far away. Or your friends aren’t interested. For me a tap takeover is a great excuse to get my friends together and try out a new place. If the bar does a good job of organizing it, it can be a memorable experience that will make you want to go back there.
Some fun bars that I discovered recently through a tap takeover are Little Delirium, inside Amsterdam Central Station, a great stop if your train is delayed or you want a relaxing beer on your way home from work; Brody’s American Taphouse in The Hague, a cool bar in a great location serving good American craft beer; BeerTemple in Amsterdam city center, another bar with an excellent American beer selection.