One of the local bigger breweries you can visit in Eindhoven is Brewery 100 Watt and their bar. It used to be called Stadsbrouwerij Eindhoven and you will still find that logo and name here and there, but it will become solely 100 Watt over time. Two of the people who stood at the beginning of this brewery are Rob Bours and David Hendrich. I interviewed them both and wrote in separate blog posts about them. The bar is run by Youri Doreleijers.
You can find the 100 Watt brewery at the fringe of the city centre, just over the bridge at the end of the infamous Stratumseind. You can visit the venue everyday from the early afternoon until into the night, although keep in mind that in the current times it might be advisable to make a reservation beforehand. You can also book a brewery tour and they offer several activities like master classes, beer food pairings and more. It’s located in an old factory, which really defines the atmosphere of the pub and brewery. I would definitely recommend it for a drink and a bite when you are in the vicinity. And not to forget, the brewery also won Best Beer of the Netherlands this year with their 150 Watt!
Stadsbrouwerij Eindhoven has been founded in 2015 on the premises of the old Schellens factory. David gave a book presentation in the Inn of the preHistorisch Dorp about his book and Rob was there. As usual David ended his presentation with “And now I want to start my own brewery”, which triggered Rob to approach David to tell him he was a brewer and interested in starting that brewery together. They convened several times at Rob’s place, approached volunteers and investors and some time later their plans became reality.
Brewery 100 Watt stems from Eijkenrode bier, Brasserie Bours and a lot of volunteers. It had a rocky start with all the different people and opinions. The first beers brewed at the brand new brewery were the beers of Brasserie Bours. The beers from Eijkenrode bier were still brewed at brewery De Fontein at that time. It was the first time Rob brewed in such a big brewery and the very first test brew was quite an adventure. They had to brew throughout the night, while there wasn’t any lighting yet in the brewery, so they had to work with flashlights and such. The result was worth it though. It was a bit too bitter, but that was to be expected since it was a new installation. Rob was also used to brewing on direct heating at De 3 Horne, not to indirect heating by steam which is used in 100 Watt, but after some tweaking and getting to know the brewery they really picked up steam. Some time later they also started brewing Davids beers at the brewery and within no time all existing beers and new ones were brewed at the brewery 100 Watt. The assortment expanded rapidly. In the beginning the bar wasn’t ready yet though, so the first beers brewed were sold on a terrace with an outside bar.
The Brewery and the bar are based in the old Schellens fabrics factory buildings from 1901. Fabrics have always been important for the Eindhoven industry, which is apparent in names like De Effenaar (our famous concert hall, the name is an appliance used in the making of linen). They tried to preserve as much of the old features as possible. The pub is unique in that it only serves beer from 100 Watt itself, except for a guest beer or two occasionally. They have a base assortment of 9 beers, with about 40 beers in rotation and always around 28 beers available. A few years ago they sent a batch of Evoluwonder to the bottle distillery. The Elektrowonder, a 46% distillation of Evoluwonder, will be available in the very near future.
100 Watt is a household name in Eindhoven these days. The most popular beers are not surprisingly the 40 Watt, a Belgian blond and De Witte Dame, a witbier. In the Netherlands there are still some strongly persistent beer conventions like drinking a witbier on a terrace when the weather is nice. Combine that with big groups and clubs that like to drink at 100 Watt and of course these beers are the most sold. But quite surprisingly, just as popular is the Orchestra of Angels, a fruity New England IPA. These beers have been the top three for three years now. Of course at the moment 150 Watt is also in great demand though, because it won Best Beer of the Netherlands of 2020!
The names of the beer all have their own stories. There are the beers of the Eindhoven history line which are named after famous (former) buildings in Eindhoven, namely De Witte Dame, a former Philips building that houses the public library, the design academy and all kinds of shops and bars these days, De Oude Haes, one of the former biggest breweries in Eindhoven, Evoluwonder, named for the Evoluon, a U.F.O. kind of building that used to be a museum of the future but is now a convention centre and De Heeren van Eynthoven, a reference to the former castle of Eindhoven. Then there are the 100 Watt related beers. 100 Watt is a reference to Philips and Eindhoven being the city of light. They have names like 75 Watt, 150 Watt and 110 Volt. And then you have the names that reference mostly to Robs musical hobbies. Just really think about names like Back by hop demand and an Orchestra of Angels.
If there’s one thing very important for 100 Watt brewery it is the use of all natural ingredients and preferably no (chemically or genetically produced) aromas. In addition Rob likes to experiment with existing beerstyles, making them just a bit different, a bit his own. That’s why none of the beers particularly fit the beerstyles described in for example the BJCP. So although they have a tripel (three tripels to be precise), several IPA’s, a dubbel, a blond, a pilsner, a gose, a weizen and a witbier in their assortment (you name it, they have it), it will always be slightly different than what you would expect. Which made it especially challenging to participate in competitions like the Dutch Beer Challenge. And although Rob is a bit sceptical about such competitions (“it’s the same with band competitions, how can you compare so many bands when they all have their own style and virtues?”), it didn’t deter him to participate, just to try.
For the Dutch Beer Challenge, brewers can send in their beers within a certain predefined beerstyle for which it will be judged. If it doesn’t fit the style properly though, the chances of winning are quite a bit lower, although quality is also an important factor of course. The first year 100 Watt sent in one beer for the competition. It won gold! The next year they sent in four beers, of which one won brons. The year after they sent in 10 beers though and didn’t win any prices. So Rob didn’t particularly feel like participating this year. He knew his beers are at the fringes of the beerstyles used in the competition and he didn’t want to send them all in in the category: “other”. But since last year 100 Watt employs a representative, Wouter, and he pushed Rob to really just send in 10 beers again. After some discussion, Rob relented and sent in the beers. He forgot about it again. So one day he was driving with a friend to a hospital in Limburg, PING, a message from Dennis Kort (Oldskool brewery and resposible for the coordination of the service at the Dutch Beer Challenge): “Congratulations with your gold medal!” Ok, nice, thought Rob, but then they had to go into the hospital where no phones are allowed. After a while they drove back to Eindhoven and PING PING PING, his phone went mad the whole way. Coming back to drink a beer at the friend’s place he found out he received a shitload of messages out of which he distilled 100 Watt had won three medals with their beers! And then, a month later, the Best Beer of the Netherlands of 2020 was announced and it was: 150 Watt of brewery 100 Watt! So of course, Rob was content. He especially appreciates the recognition for his team of brewers. It means the things they do, they do well and I can only agree.
So when you are in the vicinity of Eindhoven, make sure to visit Brewery 100 Watt as well!
Which 100 Watt beer do you like best?