Wednesday 24th May 2017
The sight of this brewery was very welcome on this hot spring day. It had been a long journey that started in East Kent and utilising, in order, a bus, a South Eastern train, a Eurostar, a Thalys high speed train and finally, a tram! And it wasn’t even 17.00 (16.00 in the UK). I was on my way to meet up in Gouda with friend Patrick and this fairly new brewery seemed a good place to stop en route.
It’s to be found up a small entrance off Zaagmolenkade (Sawmills Quay) which indeed is in front of a small river called Stockvisvater. Well, a Stockvis is a Hake but how it ultimately translates is a mystery to me. The rather modern looking structure was built for the Rotterdam Fire Brigade as their Station C. Eventually the Fire Brigade moved out setting the scene for Peter Rouwen to move in.
Peter had decided in 2010 that he wanted to open his own brewery and began the search for suitable premises and eventually the old fire station came onto the market.
It would appear that it had ceased being an operational unit some time before it was sold. This is born out by a photograph showing the building being used as a repository for historic fire engines. No doubt they are now housed in a museum.
Much work was done and in July 2015 it opened as the Brouwerij Noordt. It’s a medium-sized brewery and the building possesses a bit more space that is actually required so there is room for expansion.
It can produced 2,000 litres (20 hl) per brew. There are eight fermentation tanks of that capacity with another two that are capable of holding two brews (4,000 litres).
An interesting feature is that they also have a pilot brewery of 200 litres that can be used for experimental brews that are then tried and tested on the customers. It has five fermentation vessels each of 200 litre capacity. It is also used under supervision twice a year by their ten “Ambassadors”. I guess these are the people who funded the set-up of the brewery.
Outside of the building there are many “pub garden” type wooden combined benches and tables.
There are a few steps up to the main entrance either side of which are some more seats on the balcony. Arriving into the main room I noticed four of the fermentation vessels on the left with accommodation for drinkers in the foreground.
Working my eye around the room in a clockwise direction the bar counter was next. On the bar-back there are a vast amount of taps and above these on the first floor are the brewery’s offices.
In the middle of the room there is the entrance to the brewery proper with the equipment visible beyond. Continuing in a rightwards direction the toilet facilities are located in the corner and finally, on the right of the front door is the shop that sells bottled beer to take away.
Faced with an formidable array of beers, I dithered for a moment, but not long. I noticed that they offered a “Proefplank”, a tasting plank that consisted of five 15cl glasses of a rather eclectic selection.
I went for it and the five constituents were: Noordt Single (4.5%); Irish Red Ale (4.7%); Lentebok (Lent Bok) (6.0%); Seven Hops Double Pale Ale (7.0%) and Black IPA (7.0%), giving quite a cross section of their many beers.
I thought they were all good in varying degrees. The Double Pale Ale was quite smooth, a situation that often occurs when a quantity of different hop varieties are used. I liked the Black IPA, a totally impossible style; close your eyes whilst drinking and it is a normal India Pale Ale in taste.
Apart from these beers there were another fourteen I could have ordered and these were, in ascending order of strength: New England IPA (3.5%); Herrie (4.0%), a Kölsch-style beer; Weizen (5.0%), a wheat beer; IPAL (5.0%), an Indian-style Lager; Saison (5.5%); ESB (5.5%), an English Premium Bitter; IPA (6.0%); Blondt (6.0%) a Belgian-style Ale; Bitter Blondt (6.0%), a Belgian-style Ale; Lager (6.0%); Tripel (7.5%), an Abbey Tripel; West (8.0%), a Belgian-style Strong Ale; Quadrupel Oak Blended (9.0%), an Abbey Quadruple; and finally: Tripel IPA (9.2%).
An impressive list I think you’ll agree. One thing I noticed was the lack of Carbon Dioxide in the taste of them. There was just a hint of it and I asked the helpful barman about it. He said their beers were propelled by the absolute minimum of gas. I had noticed that there was a lot of fobbing going on as the beers were delivered to the glass. I can’t help thinking that there’s a lesson to be learnt here; purveyors of “craft” keg beers in the UK, please take note.
The only food offered are cold cheese, sausage or mixed platters with dark bread. They offer conducted brewery tours on Fridays. This pub is quite easy to get to from central Rotterdam and shouldn’t be missed if you are in the city.
Brouwerij Noordt, Zaagmolenkade 46, 3035 KA Rotterdam. Tel: 0102 230566
Monday-Tuesday: Closed; Wednesday-Friday: 15:00-19:00; Saturday-Sunday: 14:00-18:00.
Hours for Shop (bottled beer to take away):
Monday-Friday: 09:00 - 17:00; Saturday-Sunday: 14.00-18.00.
The Zaagmolenbrug tram stop is served by the routes 7 and 8 which come from the city centre passing Rotterdam Centraal station. Possibly a little closer is the Zwaanhals stop which is only served by the No 8. This route goes to Rotterdam Noord railway station which has good connections to Gouda and beyond.
At the Zaagmolenbrug stop the pub is on the other side of the water. Go in the same direction as the tram.
Turn left over the Zaagmolenbrug (Saw Mills Bridge) and immediately turn left again into Zaagmolenkade.
The pub is on the right about 200 metres along. Walk through the courtyard and the pub is on the right.
From the Zwaanhals stop walk back in the direction the tram has come from as far as the Zaagmolenbrug.
Use the pedestrian crossing and Zaagmolenkade is the road on the right before the river, then as above.