Beer-lovers and film-buffs, caught between the tigers

The carpet is red. Of course it is. Movie Premieres focus attention to the big screen, but the premier events are happening in the bars, cafés and restaurants of Rotterdam during the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). Movies and Craft Beer go hand in hand, not so much chalk and cheese as peaches and cream — two things that belong together.

Much as ramen is best enjoyed with Craft Beer at hipster joints that recognise the quality of great beer, the enjoyment of film is best served accompanied by a fine Craft Beer, preferably local and showcasing regional talent and an entrepreneurial spirit.  A combined cinema and Craft Beer experience can be found in all the great beer-cities of the world, affording the beer-faithful an opportunity to enjoy a Craft Beer before, after and even during a film or movie.

Whether it’s a blockbusting IPA or an arthouse black and white stout, whether you enjoy your Barley Wine with added Hollywood A-lister or savour your Saison in the company of a thespian, whether your tastes crave the all-guns-blazing action of a complex sour or the Shakespearean melodrama of an artisanal lager — beer and film are as inseparable as Laurel and Hardy, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, and the Royal Shakespeare Company providing Hollywood with a continuous supply of villains.

And here we are in Rotterdam at the IFFR.

Beer is already sold in Dutch cinemas and the unmistakable clink of swing-top bottle-caps is as inevitable during the opening credits as an industrial beer company strengthening its monopoly. More choice and a larger selection of Craft Beer in cinemas is the beer-lover’s dream of celluloid relaxation.

Thankfully, Rotterdam is the home of the IFFR, Kaapse Brouwers and Loopuyt Gin.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to visit one of more screenings and events at IFFR, which makes it not only one of the world’s most important film events but also one of the largest international happenings in the Netherlands. And with the eyes of movie-fandom and the industry itself on Rotterdam for just shy of two-weeks each January, having a Craft Beer brewery as a highly-visible keynote partner is incredible exposure for the world of Dutch Craft Beer. Aside from the value to be gained by the brewery itself, both in local recognition, brand-awareness and potential for long-term profitability.

IFFR is literally a celebration. Not only in praise of acclaimed film-makers and their often thought-provoking and moving vision, but also an opportunity to meet likeminded fans, industry insiders, the next generation of film-makers and those with their own film-making skills and talent to promote. And the vast majority of the pre- and post-screening partying and mingling is happening in and around De Doelen, the Dutch concert venue and convention centre in the heart of Rotterdam that was recently declared a national heritage site.

In De Doelen’s Willem Burger Kwartier can be found the bar-cum-party area, teeming with film-focused life throughout the day and late into the evenings. Weekends are particularly busy, with both bars doing brisk business. The red carpet, LED spotlights and small stage for live music creates the perfect atmosphere for visitors to enjoy a Craft Beer, a cocktail, a beer-cocktail, coffee, cake or something from a variety of food-stalls.

The “shaker” glasses and brilliant colours are a dead giveaway that local brewery Kaapse Brouwers is here in force, the bright vibrancy an enticing theme that focuses the attention of drinkers onto one of the Kaapse Brouwers family of beers. Meet ‘Karel’, an American Pale Ale, a sibling of ‘Maria’, the Vermont Pale Ale. Both of whom are the transatlantic relatives of their low-country cousins, ‘Harrie’, the Belgian Saison, and ‘Jordy’, the Belgian Strong Ale. And then there is ‘Leen’, wise and humble, the Anniversary Barley Wine. However, it is ‘Kaapse Tijger’ receiving all the attention, the limited-edition pilsner that is exclusively available during IFFR — at the Kaapse Brouwers’ bars, at other selected bars, cafés and stores in the Rotterdam area, and from the mobile bar travelling around the IFFR locations.

Kaapse Brouwers are users of the innovative KeyKeg and UniKeg dispense systems, produced by the pioneering, award-winning Dutch company Lightweight Containers, headquartered in Den Helder. Film-makers and movie-buffs appreciate great design that is as functional as it is aesthetic. It is shame therefore that the KeyKeg and UniKeg systems dispensing Kaapse Brouwers’ fresh beer are mostly hidden-away beneath the bars. A missed opportunity to intrigue visitors about the inner-workings of how beer gets from brewer to glass in an ingenious manner; not to mention strengthening Dutch pride in a homegrown product that is leading the world in its field.

P. Loopuyt & Co Distillers from nearby Schiedam is another keynote partner, offering visitors its artisanal Gin and Tonic, Gin Ginger Beer or the ‘Blind Tiger’, a delightful beer cocktail produced with Kaapse Brouwers and prepared fresh on site.

And thus beer-lovers, gin-lovers and film-buffs are caught between the tigers: should it be a ‘Kaapse Tijger’ or a Loopuyt/Kaapse ‘Blind Tiger’ for the perfect post-screening accompaniment to a deconstructive chat about the visual masterpiece just witnessed.