In 2019 De Efteling launched two new beers, this time for the Efteling hotel, namely Hotel de Bottle blond and Hotel de Bottle Goudbruin (Golden Brown, texture like sun…). With the launch of these two beers they now have a beer for every resort. These beers are also brewed by a local Brewery, Brouwerij Opener, so of course I had to go there to check it out. And believe me, you should check it out as well!
I had an interview with Frank Wouters, one of the brewers of Brouwerij Opener in Dongen and also an international biersommelier. As seems to be a thing in the Dutch beer industry he used to work in IT before starting with the brewery. He had no passion for the IT work and wanted to do something with beer, share his passion and his knowledge and let people really experience beer. His father-in-law was a farmer and had quite some land Frank could use for his beer plans and so Brouwerij Opener began.
Opener means more open in Dutch. It also is the device with which to open a bottle of beer. The focus of brewery Opener is NOT the brewery but the event location. Being more open about beer is the central theme and so they organise courses, beer tastings, workshops and events about beer. They also have there own hops field, grains field and water supply to show people what beer is made of and how it all grows.
Brouwerij Opener began in 2012, and in 2017 they brewed their first beers in the big tuns. Before that they used the Braumeister 50, which is still used for events and brewery workshops.
During a presentation for a Dutch farmers’ society Frank met Frans Goenee from De Efteling and a collaboration began. De Efteling decided on a blond beer for more warmer times and a golden brown one for the more colder weather although in Frank’s opinion there’s no such thing as summer and winter beers, so that’s why they are called blond and goudbruin. The blond beer is a simple, well balanced, fresh beer, based in the Belgian pale ale style, with a slight acidic touch from the wheat. It has aromas of mandarin and banana, and is equally bitter and sweet. The golden brown ale is developed more for pairing with some nice food and has more caramel aromas, is a bit higher in alcohol and has a warmer colour and feel. For more details in Dutch you can check out what I wrote for Eftepedia.
The name hotel de bottle is a play on words for the Dutch expression Hoteldebotel which means the same as the English expression over the moon. Following Franks passion for experience (the product is the experience, not just the beer) he wanted to design all kind of things for the beer like a special tap, special beer mats, a special opener and more. At the moment there is just the glass and label, but who knows what the future will bring. There went quite some thought into the label and the glass. The label conveys the idea of the Efteling hotel really well, namely a castle in the clouds, with the shape and the colours and the overall design. The same castle is printed on the glasses. Frank wanted to place the castle higher on the glass so that it would float on the beer. At the moment you can only drink the beer at the hotel or buy it there to take home for you, but Frank has a lot of other plans with the beer and I’m looking forward to what the future will bring!
Back to the brewery, I LOVE the idea of Brouwerij Opener, and it would definitely be a dream come true for me to do something similar in the future. The way they use the theme beer as a hook to organise all kinds of events, workshops, courses, and more is awesome! Especially since they can also show you how the ingredients grow and where beer comes from. I love it that they incorporated every detail and I love it they really made it their mission to be more open about beer and share their knowledge and passion for beer. And when I say detail, I mean detail. For example: you can choose which toilet you want to use, not based on your gender, but on what you want to know. Each ingrediënt has their own toilet and there’s information about that ingredient on the inside of the door. I mean, that’s brilliant isn’t it? If you ever need a venue for a special event about beer, don’t forget to check out Brouwerij Opener!
Which beer venue or brewery are you particularly enthusiastic about?