Visited on: Thursday 25th May 2017
I must admit that I wasn’t even aware of this pub-brewery until the very morning of my visit. I was in the Netherlands on a special train from Gouda to the town of Goes in Zeeland province. As is usually the case on my foreign journeys the train was hauled by a steam locomotive. I was with Patrick who had driven from his home in Germany for this Ascension Day excursion.
The destination Goes was chosen by the organisers because it was the terminus of a preserved branch line, the Goes - Boesele railway. On this particular day it had organised a gala with many more trains running than would normally have been the case. They promised three different steam locomotives and two diesels would be working the trains.
It all sounded very good but when we looked at the special timetable we found that one of the steam trains departed just before our special arrived. Another arrived back into Goes just after we would be leaving back to Gouda.
It was all very disappointing, somewhat counter-productive and rather defeated the object of going there on a day when there was a gala event.
However, it was possible to do one steam-hauled round trip to the end of the line and I ruefully commented to Patrick that it was a pity that there weren’t any good pubs in Goes as we were going to have more time there, than expected. It was then he contradicted me and mentioned this pub-brewery. I had looked up the town using a well-known beer ratings site and it made no mention of it.
Later I discovered that it had only just opened. Slot Oostende is a pub, restaurant, shop, brewery and hotel situated in what is left of an old castle. This was built of stone around 1300 and replaced a wooden version. Sometime after its construction it was owned by the Van Borssele family and was known as Torenburg.
Its current name comes from Jan van Oostende, the Lord of Ostend, who acquired it in the sixteenth century. The word Slot in Dutch (or Flemish) has the same source as “Schloss” in German, meaning castle or large manor house. The buildings started to fall apart during the 1700s and in 1928 a cinema hall and foyer were built amongst the ruins. Later a Greek restaurant was added.
The castle was a national monument and the municipality decided in 2009 that more of it should be opened to the public. The cinema and restaurant were closed and demolished in 2011. During 2015 it was announced that a new restaurant would be built around the remains of the castle. After a lot of work that harmonised the old and the new, the complex opened on Monday 13th February 2017, around three months before our visit.
The brewing equipment is a little unusual inasmuch that it supplies two breweries. Unlike “cuckoo” brewing this is a permanent arrangement.
The story begins with Emelisse Brewery which was established in 2005 at Kampenland in Zeeland. Their beers acquired a good name and eventually most of their output was brewed at De Proef brewery in Belgium.
Its brewer John de Vries left Emelisse to work for De Molen brewery and left its future uncertain. The owners of Slot Oostende could see the potential of Emelisse beers and allied with the spare capacity at their new venture led to them purchasing the brewery and brands.
They had already hired Jens van Stee as part-time brewer and he had previously worked at Emelisse so he not only had the experience to brew their beers alongside the Slot Oostende beers, he also became full-time.
In the pub there are 17 beer taps serving beers from the two home breweries and also a few guest beers that change often. From Slot Oostende there were: Blonde Jacoba Ale (5.0%); Wit Voetje Weizen (4.5%); Dubbel Slot (7.0%); Gouden Gans Trippel (8.0%); Straffen Non IPA (6.0%) and Poortwachter Porter (7.0%). These were all from the regular range. There was one special: BLØF Aan (5.0%), a golden ale.
From Emilisse there were: Blond IPA (6.8%); Smoked Rye (6.2%); Black IPA (8.0%); Double IPA (7.9%); Triple IPA (10.0%); Imperial Russian Stout (11.0%); Vanille Ice Cream Stout (5.5%) and Expresso Stout (9.5%).
I had three beers, Slot Oostende Blonde Jacoba and BLØF Aan, also Emilisse Blond IPA. All were notable for their rather intense flavour and even the lower alcohol examples could not be regarded as session beers because of this.
I met Patrick in the pub and I am certain that I didn’t come in via the front entrance. I entered through a narrow passage off Wijngaardstraat that led through an extensive outside drinking and dining area into the pub. I noticed the bar counter on my left and settled a little further on. There is an interesting arrangement also on the left with the kitchen below and the brewery above.
There are stairs leading up to a considerable area on the first floor. Below that is the off-license and shop. The latter sold more than the merchandise that you’d normally expect as there is a selection of books as well as bottles! On the subject of books I noticed a large bookcase opposite where I was seated. It seemed that it contained books to be read whilst partaking of a beer. Not for long however, if you are on the Russian Stout!
This is an interesting pub and brewery that should be visited if you are in this part of the Netherlands.
Slot Oostende, Singelstraat 5, 4461 HZ Goes. Tel: 06 145 62981
Hours: Monday-Sunday 10.00-22.00 (at least, if not later).
Goes station has a half-hour service of Intercity (IC) trains from Amsterdam Centraal to Vissingen.
Their route is via Haarlem, Leiden, Den Haag, Rotterdam Centraal, Dordrecht and Roosendaal.
So it is possible to connect into these trains at many different places if there is no direct train.
From Goes station go past the Terminus Hotel to the main road. Turn left into it and walk to a roundabout. Cross to the road on the other side, Piet Heinstraat. You will soon see a car park on the right, cross over to it. Go diagonally across it in the same general direction. You are now in Wijngaardstraat, continue along it. Pass the Restaurant der Werelt on your left. Continuing you will soon see the pub/restaurant on the right.