The Flink Gegist Festival flourishes at Delft’s grandest fraternity

Originally published: Sunday 13 Jan 2019

Beer lovers in the Netherlands have every reason to attend Delft’s Flink Gegist Festival, the winter edition of which is held this year for the first time in the city’s most famous student fraternity, the Virgiel, a labyrinthine edifice that provides the event with a uniqueness unlike any other. Traversing the abundant hallways, mounting the tangle of stairways and descending through the remnants of time in this veritable and ancient centrepiece of a city steeped in history and elegance, is both awe-inspiring and interesting; if not a little challenging for the beer-lover negotiating the maze-like patchwork-quilt of rooms and passages.

Like any fraternity, Virgiel has its formalities and peculiarities, yet a willingness to open-up for two-days and provide beer-lovers with a somewhat unrestricted access to many of the buildings most revered parts is truly ground-breaking. The eccentricities can be easily discerned — the statue facing the wall, for example, (whenever a large number of visitors are present) is only one of many.

The ground floor offers appreciative drinkers six breweries spread across two rooms, in which tables, seating and standing-space is amply provided. The fact that the breweries are spread evenly around a central outside courtyard provides the perfect opportunity for visitors to walk around and around and around, visiting each brewery in turn to sample the great beer delights of the Netherlands, Spain, the UK and Norway.

Welcoming visitors into the event as the keynote brewery — the first to meet upon entering — is a daunting task, a position not for the fainthearted brewer who may find setting the benchmark for the event a challenge. However, Muifel Brouwerij is a master brewery that has mastered the art of offering great, traditional beers in a manner that easily sets the baseline for an event like this with grace and ease. A great brewery with the perfect beers to start and end the day — plus a few delights in-between.

What can be said about Norway’s Lervig? Great beer that is well-respected and a deserving recipient of a number of significant awards is always going to appeal the discerning drinker. And its presence at the Flink Gegist Festival proves that great international beers travel well, literally and spiritually.

Placing Utrecht’s Vandestreek Bier alongside Laugar Brewery from the Basque Country presents the drinker with a conundrum. Two fine breweries vying for the attention of beer-lovers with a selection of substantial beers that exude quality and talent. Which should the drinker choose? Both, of course.

In one of the buildings unique and quaint side-rooms, Amersfoort’s brewing sons Rock City sit opposite London’s Brew By Numbers. The latter being a renowned brewery with a Dutch connection that makes it the perfect destination for the Dutch beer-lover. Rock City Brewing has a reputation for quality, too, and it presents a handful of beers at the event that ably define that quality.

The main body of the upper-floor tends to favour mingling and standing at the bars chatting. Seats are available, but the throng of appreciative drinkers prefers to stand and discuss the merits of such luminaries of the Dutch Craft Beer scene as Bierbrouwerij De Molen, Oedipus Brewing and resident brewery De Bolle Paep, whose small, yet capable brewery operates throughout the event down a few steps off the main upper-floor hall. The ‘live brewing’ sessions welcomes visitors to see the process in action, spectators drawn to the brewery side-room by the omnipresent whiff of brewing-genius permeating throughout the event.

The main upper-floor hall is also the base for two of the most popular international breweries, as evident by the large number of people crowding their bar areas to try some of the wonderful beers from Italy and the UK. Birrificio Lambrate proving that Italian Craft Beer has seemingly been a dominant force for an eternity, despite still remaining somewhat undiscovered in overseas territories, and North Brewing Co. from Leeds in the English northern hinterland, a fine representative of the brewing scene in their home part of the world. North Brewing Co is not overlooked by many of the Dutch breweries in attendance who recognise the talent and are keen to align themselves with one of Yorkshire’s finest. The city of Leeds is rapidly becoming a tour de force in Craft Beer, a byword for a booming beer culture.

A mainstay of the annual Flink Gegist Festivals is Tabaksspeciaalzaak Van Renssen, who offer cigars and cigar-based beer-pairings for the humidor-focused visitors.

Rotterdam finds itself in the rafters, the apex, with Kaapse and 4 Islands sitting side-by-side in the gods pouring some great brews to intrepid drinkers taking the last few steps up into the small, yet cosy antechamber. The presence of 4 Islands brings a touch of flip-flopped Brazilian beach elegance to the Dutch Craft Beer Scene.

It’s all happening in the side room: banging tunes and a festive-vibe that transforms this particular space into one of the busiest rooms in the maze. Arrive early to avoid the masses clambering for prime position at the bars of Van Moll and Uiltje — two breweries that know how to throw a party and paint the town red. The revelry and merrymaking is hypnotic, and the palpable sense of fun oozes it way out of the door, effecting everybody in the building.

The ancient vaulted cellar must be visited, too, not only for the fine architecture (once abandoned, forgotten and filled), but also for some great quality food.

Day One at the Flink Gegist Festival was a huge success, and today’s Day Two is likely to be another great event not to be missed.

The year of the beer kicks-off in style

Originally published: Saturday 12 Jan 2019

The winter edition of the biannual Flink Gegist Festival is always a highlight in the Dutch Craft Beer year, occurring as it does in the second week of January when the summer beer season seems a distant thirst to be overwhelming quenched.

Delft is a fine city for the yearly events, especially when they attract a large number of international visitors and attendees. This year sees Spain (Laugar Brewery), the UK (North Brewing Co), Norway (LERVIG), Italy and others presenting its local variations on a theme alongside some of the most capable Dutch counterparts to make this weekend’s event the perfect way to kick-start 2019 – the year of the boar in some territories, but the year of the beer here.

4 Islands Brewing

Originally published: Thursday 03 Jan 2019

Probably the newest brewery attending the Flink Gegist Festival at Virgiel in Delft on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th January, and certainly the only Dutch brewery founded by three Brazilian friends, is Rotterdam’s 4 Islands.

Anticipation is high for the brewery that has recently celebrated its first birthday. Expectations are for the self-proclaimed “brewery from everywhere” — it currently brews in the USA and Germany — to present a unique interpretation of Craft Beer, with a spin.

Beer potent with the flavour of relaxation. Beer infused with a beach attitude. Beer aged with the flip-flop lifestyle.

https://www.4islands.com

Lervig Aktiebryggeri

Originally published: Friday 04 Jan 2019

Stavanger, Norway’s Lervig is one of the hardest-working breweries on the international beer-festival scene, seemingly living a nomadic lifestyle to spread the word about its unique, highly-regarded and award-winning beers. Its focus on being present at all the key international events aligns with its focus on being a brewery with a global perspective and a distinctly international team.

Producer of Norway’s best beer (understandable) and a brewery striving to push the limits of beer production and flavour to create the best experience for its local fans and overseas followers, Lervig Aktiebryggeri is one not to miss.

If you’ve never encountered Lervig Aktiebryggeri — or you’re already a fan, hooked on the quality — the place to be is the Flink Gegist Festival at Virgiel in Delft on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th January.

http://lervig.no

Muifelbrouwerij

Originally published: Saturday 05 Jan 2019

The appearance of the Megen Devil at a beer festival is always an event to look forward to. The presence of Muifel Brouwerij at the Flink Gegist Festival at Virgiel in Delft on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th January is thus highly anticipated.

Muifel is not a real word. It is a word fabricated from a combination of Megen, the small town in the Dutch province of Noord Brabant from where the brewery originates, and ‘duivel’, the Dutch word for Devil. Muifelbrouwerij is therefore the Megen Devil Brewery. Kind of.

Either way, the appearance of the Muifelbrouwerij at a beer festival is always an event to look forward to.

Operating from its small brewpub base in Oss and already into its twelfth year, Muifelbrouwerij has a reputation for producing a solid core range of capable unfiltered and unpasteurised beers, many of which are also bottle-conditioned. Some of which will be featured at Flink Gegist Festival, delighting drinkers with their high quality and great taste.

http://www.muifelbrouwerij.nl

Laugar Brewery

Originally published: Sunday 06 Jan 2019

What else can possibly be said about the Basque Country’s finest Craft Beer Brewery that has not be said a thousand times over? Let’s forget the beers for a moment — they are already instantly recognisable, esteemed (perhaps worshipped?), capable and consequently need no further introduction. We all know them. We all love them. We’re all highly anticipating the next mouthful.

Sometimes the high-regard in which a brewery is held transcends its beers. The whole package is greater than its individual brews. Image is important. An approach to design that is neither juvenile nor uptight is appealing. A story, a history and an integrity is compelling. And most important of all is the clincher: an open, friendly and approachable attitude that oozes fun, fun, fun.

Laugar Brewery has these characteristics in abundance. The beers are wonderful, they are presented excellently and the people involved are not merely talented, they are the life and soul of a party. Laugar Brewery’s return to the Flink Gegist Festival at Virgiel in Delft on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th January is therefore certain to be a highlight of the weekend.

https://www.laugarbrewery.com/

North Brewing Co

Originally published: Sunday 06 Jan 2019

The beer taste of the north of England. The word is spreading. The interest in beers from the north of England is gaining traction; the popularity of regional brews in on the increase; talented brewers and skilful brewery staff are instrumental in promoting regions that are rapidly overtaking London as brewing powerhouses.

Leeds’ North Brewing Co. epitomises the flourishing success and growth being seen outside the capital, a result of proficiency, capability, perseverance and sheer hard-work. Presenting excellent beers on an international stage is an important aspect, and North Brewing Co.’s reputation sees the brewery attending many of the most important overseas events.

An uncompromising attitude towards quality and remarkable flavours is not only evident in the brewery’s inimitable core range of beers, but also intensified in its unique specials. North Brewing Co. is not be missed at the Flink Gegist Festival at Virgiel in Delft on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th January.

https://www.northbrewing.com

Van Moll

Originally published: Monday 07 Jan 2019

Eindhoven’s Van Moll is one of the country’s hardest-working breweries; omnipresent on the national and international scenes (in a good way) and determined that followers, beer-lovers and potential followers or beer-lovers have a great experience with its impressive range of respected, excellent beers.

Of the many, many Dutch Craft Beer breweries, several of the most important are attending the Flink Gegist Festival at Virgiel in Delft on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th January. Van Moll and a handful of others are the benchmarks against which new, up-and-coming breweries can be judged.

In many ways, Van Moll is much more than a brewery. It is an attitude. The next generation of brewery will be a Brewery 3.0, a forward-thinking brewery that looks into the distance and foresees the revolution that blurs the boundaries and narrows the gap between beer production and its role as a social and cultural collective; a Brewery 3.0 may also have one or more taprooms and one or more festivals, it may be a centre of art and culture, it may act as a social commentator with a social responsibility, social conscience and an environmental responsibility. It’s a potential brewery model for the future, and Van Moll seems perched on the launchpad into these new realms and opportunities.

Come and join the next-generation of breweries at the Flink Gegist Festival.

https://vanmollcraftbeer.com/