The craft beer revolution hasn’t passed by the southern Dutch town of Tilburg. There’s a lot of creativity going on here, the brewing of craft beer being only one of them. Check out this blog to learn where to find the coolest craft beer breweries in Tilburg.
Tilburg craft breweries
Stadsbrouwery 013 | Tilburg City Brewery
Stadsbrouwerij 013 is a craft brewery located in the (tiny) Tilburg harbor, just outside of the city center. It took us about 20 minutes to walk there from Tilburg central station. Stadsbrouwerij 013 is housed in a former flour milling plant. That sounds way more industrial than it actually is by the way. I immediately took a liking to the place: friendly waiters, pretty interior and they do interesting beer-food pairings. I can imagine that it must be lovely to sit on their terrace on a sunny day.
Stadsbrouwerij 013 is your typical city brewery that does a bit of everything: Belgian style blonde, dubbel and tripel, German style Weizen and British/American style IPA’s. There’s something for everyone. When I visit such a brewery I usually don’t expect too much. When a new brewer brews so many different styles, (s)he won’t excel in anything. Considering my low expectations, I was pleasantly surprised. I drank a refreshing dubbel which went down well in combination with my lunch. My friend, who is a critical IPA drinker, had two different IPA’s that he rated 3,5 out of 5 on Untappd.
Later on I discovered that the guys behind the city brewery of nearby Eindhoven are the ones who started Stadsbrouwerij 013 in Tilburg. I haven’t written about this craft brewery yet (will do in the near future). Let me say for now that that is a pleasant brewery that does some really nice stouts. Knowing this I’m not surprised that the brewery in Tilburg is doing an above average job for such a new brewery. And that they have the funds to start out so big.
Should you visit Stadsbrouwerij 013? If you’re doing a tour of Tilburg craft breweries: yes! If you want to have lunch or dinner accompanied by a nice beer: yes! Are you bringing along your mom: yes! Are you looking for extreme craft beer: no. In that case, choose LOC brewery (see below).
LOC brewery Tilburg
You can find LOC craft brewery in hangar 84 in the Spoorzone, the creative zone behind Tilburg central station. The warehouses and hangars in this area have been converted into restaurants and bars, small businesses and even a library. Check the opening hours before you go! LOC brewery has limited opening hours.
The LOC brewpub is different from Stadsbrouwerij 013 in the sense that they brew more extreme beers, that they are a lot smaller (which means that the brewer is also the one behind the bar) and that this is a rougher place to visit, with bare walls, old stools and benches and no heating to speak of. Perhaps you shouldn’t bring your mom here, unless she has an adventurous spirit.
Beer here is a lot more experimental than in the Stadsbrouwerij 013. They do quite a few different sours (Berliner Weisse and Gose style), IPA’s and pale ales as well as some porters and stouts. As their flavors are more experimental opinions about these beers may differ. Be aware that the LOC brewpub is tiny and that they have only about 4 taps, so the selection to try is a bit limited. They do have some cans and bottles from other breweries in a fridge though, just in case there’s nothing to your liking on tap.
If you love craft beer and visit Tilburg you should visit LOC brewery for sure. It’s a laid back place with interesting beers to try. I wonder what you think of them!
KraftBier | Bank 15 food court
The third of the Tilburg craft breweries is KraftBier. The brewery itself is located outside of the city center. They have what they call a “taproom” inside of the Bank 15 food court. Bank 15 is a small food court with 4 restaurants just a couple of minutes walking from Tilburg central station (city center side).
When we visited, on a Saturday afternoon in November 2019, the place looked creative yet quite empty and lacking in atmosphere. Hopefully this is different at other hours. Though the bar had several KraftBier beers on the menu the girl working at the bar couldn’t tell us much about them. I thought that was a pity. [After writing this blog I heard that since January 2020 big brewery Heineken has taken over many of the taps in the Bank 15 bar and more or less pushed Kraftbier out]
This place doesn’t really compare to the other two Tilburg craft breweries, where you can see the brewing kettles and meet the brewers. I wouldn’t call this a taproom or a brewpub, rather a bar that serves a couple of KraftBier beers. It’s close to the train station though, and not too far from LOC brewery, so you might as well hop in for a drink.
We tried the Goej Klets, a more than decent bock beer. Nothing much wrong with it. On the other hand not something to return to Tilburg for either. Having said that, next time I’m in Tilburg I wouldn’t mind trying a couple more of their beers to be able to judge them better. For now I would say that they resemble Stadsbrouwerij 013 in the sense that they do a bit of everything too. Just without all the money. I hope they’ll manage to sell their beers in more Tilburg bars or open their own taproom.
La Trappe | Brewery Koningshoeven
The famous La Trappe brewery is officially just outside of Tilburg. I mention them here anyway, as this is a famous trappist brewery in an actual monastery! And if you plan to visit them you will have to travel via Tilburg. Want to know more? Then go on and read my previous blog about visiting the La Trappe brewery.
Other places to drink craft beer in Tilburg
Are you more interested in visiting a craft beer bar in Tilburg, so that you can try several brands in one place? Then try one (or more) of these bars that specialize in craft beer:
- Kandinsky at Telegraafstraat 58, 200 beers available! Mind you, this place is tiny and popular, so you may have to fight for your spot 🙂
- Café Bakker at Heuvel 44-45 specializes in Dutch craft beers, specifically from microbreweries.
- The LittleDevilBar at Stationsstraat 27 has a more than decent collection of international craft beers. Hardly any local beers though.
- Stadscafé De Spaarbank at Noordstraat 125. Their beer menu is a bit limited, but this is a pretty historical location with stained glass windows and a garden, so I mention it anyway.
Why visit Tilburg?
As a tourist you may never have heard of the southern Dutch town Tilburg, so you may be surprised to hear that this is the 7th largest municipality in the Netherlands. To be honest, it surprised me too! Most Dutch people know Tilburg by name only and would rather visit neighboring (and much prettier in a classic sense) Breda.
The thing is that contrary to most tourist towns in Holland, Tilburg has no quaint 17th century city center. This was a largely rural area until the 19th century. Then it industrialized as a textile and wool producing town. The laborers lived in cheap housing, so this wasn’t a particularly attractive place to visit from a touristic point of view. Things didn’t get better when the textile factories closed and unemployment rose in the 1960’s and ’70’s.
However, since the 1990’s interesting developments have been taking place in Tilburg. It is a refreshing and creative town to visit if you’re done with all the 17th century Dutch grandeur and if you’re looking for an off the beaten track adventure. I enjoyed hanging out here for a day and plan to return to get to know it even better. Just a couple of the things to check out:
- Museum De Pont for modern art and the Textile Museum where you can learn more about the production of textiles. Both museums are housed in former industrial sites.
- The Spoorzone used to be a place for train repairs. This is now a creative zone with a park, cool restaurants (among those a restaurant in an old train!), bars and events going on. You can find this area immediately north of the Tilburg railway station.
How to reach Tilburg by public transport
There are direct train connections to Tilburg from Rotterdam and Breda in the west and from Eindhoven and ‘s Hertogenbosch in the east. Coming from Amsterdam or Utrecht you’ll have to change in ‘s Hertogenbosch.
What to explore next?
It is possible to visit Tilburg as a day trip from Amsterdam, Rotterdam or Utrecht. If you’d like to hang around in this area think of visiting nearby Breda. This is a completely different city, which makes it into an interesting combination of city trips. Another option is to travel eastward to ‘s Hertogenbosch (also called Den Bosch), the provincial capital of Noord Brabant or to modern Eindhoven, the 5th largest city of the Netherlands.