Visited on: Friday 8th November 2019
Like myself, you would conclude that this brewery restaurant is a music venue. Well it is, but that is not where its name comes from.
Amersfoort is known as the Keistad. Kei is a boulder (or rock) and in 1661 a massive stone was dragged the six kilometres from Soesterberg to Amersfoort as part of a wager bet and is still in the city. Those who performed this great feat were rewarded with beer.
So, although it is a music venue on some nights, rock refers to the real thing and not a music style.
The idea for the pub-brewery came from Wiebe Groeneveld and brothers Koen and Walter Overeem. Walter owns several restaurants in Amersfoort and gave the group the much needed expertise to complete their mission. He has now moved away as far as this enterprise in concerned, to concentrate on his other businesses. The money for the brewery and tap (€500,000) was raised by crowd funding.
Koen is the brewer and Wiebe is the marketing and sales man. The company was founded in 2014 and brewing then was done at other breweries and a number of recipes were perfected during this period, gaining them a good reputation in and around Amersfoort.
The crowd funding by over 300 contributors enabled them to open this place in the Esselt industrial estate. The scheme was 45% over-subscribed. Once brewing commenced they went back to the market for a further €160,000.
This enabled them to install a state of the art open plan kitchen, bar counter and underfloor heating. They also constructed a BBQ smoker similar to those found in American restaurants. At this time they hired chef Robert Oosterhuis, who has previous experience in Michelin starred restaurants. Very high quality meat is used.
The new brewery tap opened its doors to the drinking public at 18.30 on Friday 2nd November 2018 so it was exactly one year and a week old when we visited. Linda and I arrived by taxi because of my mobility problems. However is possible to walk, see below. Once inside on a cold evening we had a quick look around the cavernous room.
About half way down the room on the right side is the bar counter along with 21 taps. The brewery is found at the back of the tap room. The kitchen is located on the left side and has a large serving counter.
The rest is occupied by tables of various sizes and there are a number of booths in front of the brewing equipment. This is where we were sat and were very lucky to be served by Lize Overeem, the wife of the brewer Koen, so she really knew her stuff and was very helpful.
There is an amazing collection of draught beers on offer. From Rock City were: Peach Squeezer (4.0%), a wheat beer; Slash Ananastia (3.0%), a New England Pale Ale; Amersfoort Pale Ale (5.8%); Banana! (6.0%), a wheat beer with no bananas in it.
Plus Koene Ridder (4.7%), a Belgian Tripel; Royaal Saison (4.7%), a rye saison; Smulbock (9.0%), a doppelbock and Ristretto Micro Bock (1.0%), a low alcohol bock. Mystic Mango Milkshake (6.5%), a New England Pale.
The list continues with: Amersfoorter Pracht (3.5%), in the Berliner Weisse style. Bock Marley (6.6%) a single bock; Maker’s Monk (8.0%), a Belgian style Strong Ale and Amersfoorter Stadpils (5.0%), a Netherlands Pils style beer.
Then there were the guest beers: vandeStreek (Utrecht) Playground (0.5%), low alcohol beer; Two Chefs (Amsterdam) Double Porter (8.0%); De Struise (Vleteren, BE) Pannepot Vintage 2017 (10.0%); Oproer (Utrecht) Imperial Oatmeal Stout (9.5%); Walhalla (Amsterdam) Nanouq (9.0%), a dark Strong Ale, Wylam (Wylam, UK) Amendment 3534 (7.1%) with Pineapple, Passion Fruit and Papaya. De Molen (Bodegraven) / Siren (Sandhurst, UK) joint brew Guava Script (4.0%); Kompaan (Den Haag) Passion Fruit PAL (6.0%).
We had seven beers on recommendation of Lize, four from the home side and three guests. There was a wide variation of styles, yet we liked them all. This brewery brews an adventurous range of beers and easily repays the effort to reach it.
Rock City Brewing & Brewpub, Mijnbouwweg 15, 3812 RT Amersfoort. Tel: 031 33 202 2230
Hours: Wednesday-Friday 15.00-23.00; Saturday 14.00-23.00; Sunday 14.00-21.00
Kitchen closes: Wednesday-Saturday 21.00; Sunday 20.00
To walk to the pub in about 30 minutes from Amersfoort Railway Station, directions are given below. Probably the easiest way to get these is by the 1 bus that runs from Amersfoort Centraal Station in a loop. It is an odd route inasmuch that the route around the loop changes direction in the early afternoon.
As the earliest Rock City opens is 14.00 the times given below are for the afternoon only.
Exit from the station through the barriers on the south side (zuid seite), cross Stationsplein to the bus stop.
The bus is operated by Syntus Utrecht. Monday to Friday it departs from 13.10 to the last bus at 22.18 at half hour intervals, the actual minutes vary. To get to the pub you travel to Birkhoven Park terminus.
There, stay on the bus as it comes back a different way. Alight at the Mijnbouwweg stop.
Overall journey time is around twenty minutes.
From the stop go forward to the road intersection and turn right into Mijnbouwweg. The pub is on the left.
Check return times at the stop as again, they vary by a few minutes through the afternoon and evening.
On Saturdays the times are clock-face, leaving the station from 13.15 and are every half hour until 22.15.
They return on Saturdays from Mijnbouwweg 13.36 until 18.06. After that they are 18.33 to 22.03 running every thirty minutes. The return journey time is around eight minutes. There is no services on a Sunday.
Walking: leave on the north side (noord seite). Pass through the barriers and descend on the escalator.
At street level turn right into Piet Mondriaanlaan. Keep walking till you get to a large roundabout.
Go left here passing the Mercure Hotel on your left. Continue along this main road, Amsterdamseweg.
At the second junction across the road on the right, is Nijverheidsweg Noord, diverging at an acute angle.
Cross and go along it. Then, you will come across a major junction with a dual carriage on both roads. Nijverheidsweg Noord continues on the other side. After some distance along here you will come across Mijnbouwweg on the left. A short distance down this road and you will find Rock City on the left.