International anticipation is high for the Noord-Hollands Bierfestival
Anticipation is high for this Saturday’s Noord-Hollands Bierfestival organised by PINT, the Dutch Beer Consumer Association. The large province of North Holland (in the coastal northwest) is perhaps one of the country’s most visited provinces because it contains the towns and cities of Amsterdam, Alkmaar, Zaandam, Den Helder and our own stomping ground, Haarlem. Due to its size, North Holland consequently has a large catchment area for breweries qualifying to attend the Noord-Hollands Bierfestival, and there are no less than 26 breweries attending the 12th edition of the festival this weekend — 40% from Alkmaar and Amsterdam, and the rest from various corners of the province.
The province of North Holland is a hotbed of brewing talent, infrastructure and innovation, and it is not merely the beer-loving visitors who are in anticipation of the event. The breweries, too, are looking forward to the annual awards for the Most Popular Beers in North Holland, voted for by the public and beer-professionals, the results of which are revealed during the festival. All the breweries involved are eager and hopeful for a victory this year, although it is a tough choice to make because the standard and quality of the beers in North Holland (and the rest of the country) is exceptionally high.
The growth of interest of beer increases each year and is aligned with a steady rise in the number of up-and-coming breweries; this situation is terrific for the brewing-industry and equally great for people visiting Dutch beer festivals. The range of breweries visiting the Noord-Hollands Bierfestival goes from long-established beer companies that are widely available across the land to new endeavours dipping their toes into the waters of brewing for the first time. Besides an opportunity for beer connoisseurs to meet and greet old friends at this Saturday’s event in Alkmaar, it is also an opportunity to meet, greet and welcome new friends to the fold.
There is currently a massive upsurge of international interest in Dutch beer, which has been growing year-on-year for the past 10-years or so. The number of people travelling to the Netherlands from overseas to visit Dutch beer festivals is increasing too, and many festivals are wise to this growth and cleverly exploit the situation to boost the international recognition, sales, awareness and exports of artisanal Dutch beer. The Noord-Hollands Bierfestival in Alkmaar, which is about a 45-minutes’ journey from Amsterdam, is perfect for the international visitors who are known to travel from as far afield as the Americas and Asia to journey deep into the Dutch hinterland for the sake of great beer.
In previous years the Noord-Hollands Bierfestival was held on a Sunday but this year the event has wisely moved to a Saturday, a switch that is being mirrored at many national and international beer festivals that see higher numbers of visitors when most people don’t work the following day. The switch to Saturday has the added benefit of an extra hour added to the festival.
The Noord-Hollands Bierfestival is held in Alkmaar’s Grote or Sint-Laurenskerk church, the building of which was completed in 1518 — 2018 is its quincentenary, its quincentennial birthday: it’s 500-years old. An excellent excuse to make this year’s beer festival a great, memorable success.
The festival is open from 13:00 to 21:00 on Saturday 16th June at Koorstraat 2, Alkmaar. Admission is either € 20.00 (includes entrance fee, glass and 6 beer tokens) or € 5.00 (includes entrance fee and glass). Additional beer tokens are € 2.50 each. Members of PINT receive 1 additional coin upon presentation of their pass.