Brewpubs and craft beer in Haarlem

Haarlem is a special town for craft beer addicts, as this is one of the 3 historical beer towns of the Netherlands. None of the historical Haarlem breweries have survived, but old traditions have been revived! You can now visit 2 very good breweries in Haarlem: Jopen and Het Uiltje. You can taste their beers in their taprooms and brewpubs.

Travel advice during the COVID-19 or corona virus outbreak
At this moment the Netherlands is in an almost  complete lock down. Museums, restaurants, bars, everything is closed. Postpone your visit to a later date. I will keep you posted!

A tiny bit of history of Haarlem and craft beer

In the 16th century Haarlem was one of the 3 main beer producing cities of the Netherlands. The other 2 were Gouda and Delft. There were dozens of breweries in Haarlem at the time, between 50 and 75, and they even exported their beer, for example to the Antwerp region in Belgium.

The industry died down gradually in the course of the 17th and 18th centuries, due to growing popularity of other drinks such as coffee, tea and jenever. In the 19th and 20th centuries beer production was industrialized and concentrated in the hands of a couple of big breweries outside of Haarlem, such as Heineken and Grolsch.

Now contrary to in Gouda and Delft, craft beer culture revived in Haarlem and this revival started in 1995. Underneath you’ll read how this happened, and why Haarlem is one of the more exciting beer towns of Holland now.

Jopen brewery, Haarlem

Jopenkerk, Haarlem

In 1995 the city of Haarlem was preparing for the celebration of its 750th birthday. They asked inhabitants to come forward with ideas for the celebration. The Haarlem Beer Society suggested brewing historical Haarlem beers for the occasion and went into the city archives to look for the old recipes. This is how Jopen Hoppenbier and Jopen Koyt were born. Jopen being the old name for beer barrels of a specific size.

This is one of my top 10 Dutch craft breweries! Check out my 2019 top 10 breweries in Holland here.

Jopenkerk (brewpub)

The Jopen brews were such a success, that Jopen became a brewery. They continued brewing Koyt and Hoppenbier and added many more beers to their menu. In 2010 they opened their own brewpub in Haarlem: de Jopenkerk. I have visited many brewpubs in Holland and abroad, but I can honestly say that the Jopenkerk in Haarlem is one of the the most beautiful ones that I have ever been to. It is located in an old church. It has stained glass windows, so on sunny days the light is just amazing. Even though they brew most of their beers at another location now, they still brew a couple of beers in this building. You can see the fermentation tanks behind glass walls in the brewpub.

The quality of Jopen beer is always good, even though of course you may not like every style. You should definitely try Jopen Koyt, one of the original historical beers brewed with herbs instead of hops. Or one of their strong barrel aged brews! Not too many though, this is heavy stuff.

On the first floor of Jopenkerk there is an excellent restaurant where they do food-beer pairings. In case you are bringing friends who are not that much into beer: they serve wine and non-alcoholic beverages too.

Address: Jopenkerk, Gedempte Voldersgracht 2, Haarlem
Website Jopenkerk for restaurant bookings and brewery tours
Jopen on Untappd

Jopen brewery

Most of the Jopen beers are now being brewed in the Jopen brewery in Waarderpolder, the industrial area of Haarlem. This is a bigger and less atmospheric location outside of the city center of Haarlem. This is also where they do their brewery tours, in case you are interested in learning more. Be aware that Jopenkerk is a busy brewpub and that while you can taste a lot of Jopen beers there, staff may not have time to answer your questions. So if you want to learn more, go for a tour in the brewery. Check out the Jopen website for the possibilities.

Uiltje brewing company in Haarlem

Much newer in the craft beer scene in Haarlem is Het Uiltje brewing. They started in 2012, when craft beer had become more mainstream in Holland. However, their beers are not mainstream at all. They experiment a lot with different flavors, which is not always a success by the way. Het Uiltje is more or less the wild younger brother of Jopen. A couple of their brewers used to work at the Jopen brewery and were looking for a place where they could experiment more. They do nice (and sometimes extreme) IPA’s, and don’t scare away from high in alcohol porters and stouts either.

This is one of my top 10 Dutch craft breweries! Check out my 2019 top 10 breweries in Holland here.

Uiltje bar, Haarlem

If you don’t have much time, the easiest way to taste some of the Uiltje beers is to visit their bar at Zijlstraat in Haarlem city center. It is a cosy bar with 30(!) taps. They serve mainly their own beers and usually have a couple of guest beers on as well.

Uiltje brewery, brewpub and shop

Uiltje brewery

If you are interested to learn more about Uiltje craft beer, you should head to Waarderpolder, the industrial area of Haarlem. Right next to the Jopen brewery, you’ll find the much smaller Uiltje brewery (you may even combine the 2). Despite the off the beaten track location, this is a nice place, with a tiny brewpub, pleasant (English speaking) staff, some outside seating, an Uiltje beer shop and the brewery itself. They do a couple of tours each day.

Address: Uiltje bar, Zijlstraat 18, Haarlem
Taproom and brewery: Bingerweg 25, Haarlem
Website Uiltje Craft Beer
Het Uiltje on Untappd

Bierlokaal de Uiver in Haarlem

In case you want to taste craft beers from several Dutch breweries, visit bierlokaal De Uiver. In my opinion this is the best bar for craft beer in Haarlem. They have 40 taps, with an ever changing offering of craft beers. And perhaps more important: their staff know what they are talking about and can help you find the beer that suits you best. Note that there is another bar called “Den Uiver” just around the corner at the central square of Haarlem. This is a historical bar. Nice too, though not the place for discovering great craft beer.

Location: Lange Begijnestraat 10, Haarlem
Website Bierlokaal de Uiver (in Dutch)
Bierlokaal de Uiver on Untappd

How to get to Haarlem by public transport?

Haarlem is easy to reach by train from Amsterdam, Rotterdam/The Hague and Alkmaar. You could of course also decide to stay here, Haarlem is a great alternative to Amsterdam.

Check your schedule on the public transport website and read my tips about using public transport in Holland. Mind that there are extra rules for users of public transport during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example: you have to wear a face mask when using public transport.

Read more blogs about Dutch micro breweries & brewpubs by Exploring Holland

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