So, this was a thing in the Netherlands this year. Our wholesome Dutch store HEMA decided to launch their own beer! And what is better than basing that beer on the one iconic thing in their assortment? The HEMA wurst!
No, wait. That is not it. What better than a typically Dutch pastry? The Tompouce!
Get Ready for Lowlander’s and HEMA’s Tompouce ale!
The Tompouce is actually a small Dutch version of a French pastry, the millefeuille, which has existed at least since 1651. According to HEMA the first tompouce was made in Amsterdam in 1875 and the name was inspired by a circus artist. It’s a super sweet (and I mean, sweet) typically layered cake, with puff pastry, cream, and raspberry flavoured icing sugar on top. Sounds like a perfect base for a beer recipe… right? Right?
Yeah, I’m also not such a fan of so much sweetness, but ok, more Dutch than this beer is hardly possible, at least not in name, so of course I had to try it. And yeah, maybe that wurst beer would be more Dutch, but I am not sure I would like that either.
But still, a tompouce beer? Ok, without further ado, I should taste it.
And… Ok, yes, it is sweet, but quality wise it is a very good beer. Not one I would drink a lot of, it is not to my taste, but if you like your beer sweet and lemonade like, you should really try it.
The first thing you see is a gorgeously orange, almost opaque beer with a soft, full foamhead consisting of small bubbles. I think I see a pink glow, but that is surely my imagination. The beer smells of a red fruit lemonade. When it warms up, you can easily distinguish raspberries. The beer is sticky and it has a fullish mouthfeel, not RIS-like full, but definitely fuller than your average beer. It has very much, very fine bubbles and even though it sounds like a warming beer by now, it is light and fresh. The taste is like a bitter raspberry lemonade or a very sweet tonic. The taste is very natural, not chemical or candylike. The aftertaste is bittersweet.
For one, it is absolutely not chemical. The beer is well-balanced while you certainly and distinctly can taste the tompouce. That said, it does make me think of a sweet and bitter lemonade in taste. The aromas are very light. The vanilla is not even that bad (normally I despise vanilla in beer, I just do not like it at all) and fits the flavour profile.
The beer comes in a very apt link and yellow can. It has an alc. vol. of 5,0% and it is brewed with vanilla and raspberry. There is also LACTOSE in it, so be warned. Lowlander calls it a smooth milkshake blond with layered sweetness and a fruity finish, which seems about right.
All in all, not a beer for everyone, but for a gimmick it is not a bad beer either. And it is consistent with what I would expect of HEMA and Lowlander, both names I hold in high regard.
HEMA is originally an acronym for Hollandsche Eenheidsprijzen Maatschappij Amsterdam, or Hollandic Standard Prices Company Amsterdam). Originally everything was 25 or 50 cents and it was seen as a poor peoples’ shop. later on they expended their assortment and style, but to this day it is still not a luxury shop. Everything in their assortment is designed especially for HEMA though, and it has its own style you will find in no other store. My art teacher taught me that one of the goals of HEMA was to sell design articles for the average Joe. I cannot find that ‘fact’ anywhere anymore, but I believe her if I look at the assortment they have. It is no Prada, but it is also no cheap production either and I dare say a lot of people have something HEMA in their house. Next to their affordable design, they also have food stuff they are famous for, like the wurst and the tompouce.
The other important producer in this story is the Dutch brewer Lowlander. I do not think I have to explain the name? The founder of Lowlander was inspired by the use of botanicals in cocktails and gin and wanted to try that for beers. Lowlander is known for their extensive use of botanicals and their just a bit different beers, like their ginger & kaffir lime, floral ale, tropical ale and more and they are all gorgeous!