Last month I visited the oldest ánd the newest brewpubs in Eindhoven, the first being Van Moll, which will come online next week, the second one being Rabauw. Considering my own background, I was already fascinated by Rabauw beforehand as it is a social enterprise as well as a brewpub.
Rabauw began as a brewery and social enterprise in 2018 in Gemert, a village nearby Eindhoven. Back then they had two ambitions.
- Gijs and Rik wanted to start a brewery. They already brewed at home as a hobby ánd they already had a restaurant in Gemert: Gij&ik.
- They wanted to start a social enterprise. The third partner Ad is a guidance advisor and helped young adults to stay in the school system.
The three of them decided it would be a perfect combination to start a brewery ánd a place for people with poor job prospects. Like De Prael in Amsterdam, which they of course visited in advance to get a better feeling for how to execute their plan. They started small, because it is one thing that your friends like your beers, but paying customers is another. Nothing to worry about, it became an instant success. For both ambitions. They began with young adult guidance, but expended to global guidance quickly, with five employees, then ten, then fifteen and a waiting list. They sold so much beer that they had to brew at another place as well: De Brouwschuur, which did not really fit in the concept, because at De Brouwschuur you cannot mentor others in the way they wanted to do at Rabauw. So last year they decided they needed to expand to one of the bigger cities in the vicinity, and they chose Eindhoven as the place to be. Eindhoven being a social, creative and innovative city with a severe shortage of breweries. Also a city with awesome festivals and other events and a public that is craving more local brewpubs. They found the perfect place in April 2021 and in October they opened for the first time. Of course a month later we went into a lockdown, so they opened a second time this month. But that one month made them realise they made the right decision coming to Eindhoven. And the lockdown gave them the time to tie up some loose ends.
The Gemert location is now changed into an experiment brewery and Eindhoven will be the big one. You can find them at Strijp-S, the former Philips complex now turned urban hotspot near the city centre, where you can find a variety of shops, workshops, entertainment, musea and bars and restaurants, not to mention also the design and art school, several social enterprises and projects and more.
Nowadays there are about 50 people at work at Rabauw in a variety of capacity. The new location is perfect for both concepts of Rabauw and the organisation structure offers a lot of growing options and other development opportunities within a safe environment. A lot of the brewing is still done by hand, no software taking over, but still a far shot from the homebrewing beginnings.
As said, Rabauw is a brewpub and one you should visit as soon as you can! Of course they have a lot of beers on tap, their own and from other breweries, but they also have a great kitchen which serves the most beautiful dishes. In the very near future they are planning on doing beer food pairings as well. The manager is doing a gastronomic study, and did I mention one of the brewers is a fellow international biersommelier? They also want to function as a sort of living room for the neighbourhood, which it seems to be already. Rabauw brews mostly for themselves; for the brewpub in Eindhoven, for the restaurant in Gemert and for their webshop. Nonetheless you can find their beers at some other places as well, like Jokkmokk (you know, the cheese place that made my wedding ‘cake’) and the Bottle Distillery. Rabauw likes to do collabs with similar organisations, with a similar social function or vision. Organisations where inclusivity is in their core. Because there is not enough of that in the current society, in the current job market in the Netherlands. There is hardly room for inclusivity. It should not be that people fall by the wayside, but in the current system they do and that is not ok. There is a focus on how people are too different to function in society and that those people should change, instead of the other way around, that society should be more accommodating for differences, should celebrate diversity. I wish we would celebrate our diversity more.
That brings me to the name of the brewery. They began as Vagabond, but due to some IP issues they had to change it to something similar: Rabauw. Rabauw is a bit more rough, a bit more edgy than Vagabond, which fit their abovementioned view on the Dutch job market better. Same goes for the logo: The hexagon stands for solidarity, connection and power and the slogan Hou van Rauw (Which is not very translatable, but I guess it is a bit like I love crude, although that doesn’t confer the same feeling) conveys that they love imperfections, that they love that everyone is different. And again it comes back in the names of their beers which are all inspired by stories about characters who are a bit different, at the edge of society. All in all it all comes back to the one thing they are passionate about: inclusivity.
Back to beer. Gijs and Rik began as homebrewers, read books and Gijs eventually did StiBON to also experience the other side of the beer appreciation process. He is planning on doing more with it eventually, but the brewing and social aspect come first at the moment. The beers they brew are mostly traditional Belgian beer types, but also a lot of American style beers, inspired by their trip to Portland. They limit the use of additional ingredients and mostly stick to malt, hop, water and yeast.
Their core range consists of an American wheat beer, a blond, a tripel, a porter, an IPA and a session IPA. Their specials include a Christmas beer and Bokbier, a DDH IPA and more, depending on what they want to brew and experiment with. With the rebuild brewery in Gemert they will have a lot more opportunities to experiment, so who knows what that future will bring.
All beers are canned or on keg. Cans are a lot better for the quality of the beer. All first editions of the cans are black after which they will look for a local artist who wants to make an artwork of one of the Rabauw employees for on the can. Because the people come first at Rabauw. Would you like to see your artwork on a beer can and do you live in or nearby Eindhoven or Gemert? Contact them! On every can you will also find a sticker with the name of one of the people who helped brew the beer.
The brewpub is open 5 days a week for lunch, dinner or just a drink and maybe a game, it will be open 7 days a week in the near future. It is also possible to work at Rabauw, just bring your laptop. They want to be more than a place to drink, they also want to showcase their awesome kitchen. They do not want to become a posh restaurant though, but beer food pairings are in the future. They also have a lot of other ideas for the future, but first they will concentrate on this new venture, which will also include brewery tours every Thursday to Sunday at 4 o’clock. Later on they will add other beer activities, possibly tastings and such. They also want to brew a beer for/with every building at Strijp-S, do something with events like Glow and possibly a collab with any of the other breweries in Eindhoven. There is a lot in store for us, so stay in touch!
Have you visited Rabauw yet?
- Website: https://www.rabauw.org/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rabauw.beer/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rabauw.brewpub