Maastricht is a pretty city on the banks of the Maas or Meuse river, in the southern tip of the Netherlands. It’s absolutely worth a visit during your stay in the Netherlands as it has a completely different atmosphere than other Dutch cities such as Amsterdam and Utrecht. As a craft beer aficionado you may wonder: which local craft beers should I try? What are the best craft beer breweries in Maastricht? And what are the best craft beer bars? In this article I’ll answer these questions!
The south: the pleasures of life?
Most Dutch people have grown up with the idea that the best food and the best drinks in the country are produced down south, in Limburg province. And I guess that for a long time this was true. While the northerners among us grew up with hearty dishes such as stamppot and erwtensoep, our southern friends enjoyed civilized and refined French style cuisine. Accompanied by good wines and locally brewed beers.
Though I have no complaints about the food and drinks in Maastricht, I have noticed that the northern part of the Netherlands has done a lot of catching up in recent years. It seems that Limburg sticks to traditions, while cooks and brewers in other parts of the country have embraced all kinds of new and refreshing trends and ideas.
This shows in the breweries. There’s only a handful of craft breweries in Maastricht and most of them are into recreating historical beer styles, or bringing back to life 19th century breweries. So if you are into exciting modern style craft beer, you’d better head towards Utrecht, Amsterdam or Rotterdam.
Don’t go to Maastricht especially for the craft beer. Go there to see the historical city center, to visit the museums, to hike in the hilly surroundings of town and to enjoy life on one of the busy terraces at the Vrijthof or the Onze Lieve Vrouwe squares. And just in case you start to long for a glass of good (local) craft beer during your stay in Maastricht, use my suggestions on Maastricht craft beer breweries!
Maltezer brewery, Maastricht
The most professional craft brewery in Maastricht is the Maltezer brouwerij. When visiting you may feel confused as the name on the building is Brouwerij De Ridder (“Brewery the knight”). Former brewery de Ridder brewed its beers right here – on the banks of the Maas/Meuse river – from 1857 till it closed in the 1990’s, one of the last strongholds of an old brewing tradition.
Maltezer brewery started its business here in 2018, building upon the brewing tradition of its predecessor. This means that even though the company is quite new, the brewing here is rather conservative. Their flagship beer is the Maltezer, a Dortmunder style beer. They also do a blond, a tripel and a decent stout. Their beers are good, though not exceptional.
The real reason you should visit this brewery is that they do great beer-food pairings. You could order a tasting session of 3 to 5 beers accompanied by matching snacks. Or have dinner with matching beers. The people working here are professional beer sommeliers! There are not too many places in the Netherlands where you would find this level of professionalism. If you are truly interested in beers, don’t miss this opportunity.
Zuyd brewery, Maastricht
The only brewery that’s into brewing hip craft beers in Maastricht is brewery Zuyd. This brewery is a pretty new start up that experiments with new and creative flavors, based on beers the brewers tasted during their travels all over the world. They do a lot of temporary brews, so the beers on offer may vary depending on when you visit Maastricht. Zuyd is the only brewery of this kind in Maastricht. Despite that, they’re pretty small and don’t have their own taproom.
You may stumble upon Zuyd beers in Maastricht craft beer bars. Your best bet however would be a brasserie/restaurant called Tapijn. Tapijn is located on former military base on the edge of the city center. The Zuyd brewery itself is located nearby. Tapijn serves several Zuyd beers. It’s also a really nice restaurant. Check it out!
Brewery Bosch, Maastricht
Back to traditional brewing… Brewery Bosch is located on the premises of former brewery de Keyser, a brewery that existed from 1758 to 1970. The premises have been preserved and the place is now an industrial monument. When visiting make sure you book a tour, during which they’ll show you around.
Be aware: this place is more or less a brewery-museum more than it is a bar. Brewery Bosch is a contract brewer, which means that they let other breweries brew their beers. They have only 2 beers on their menu. These are based on traditional recipes. You can taste them after your guided tour.
Brewery de Klinker, Maastricht
A micro brewery that I missed out on the last time I visited Maastricht. I add it here to be complete. De Klinker doesn’t have its own brewpub. They brew beers based on historical recipes. This seems to be quite a trend among Maastricht breweries!
You may find Klinker beers in local supermarkets and bars, most notably in Café Knijnspiep (owned by the brewer’s dad) or craft beer bar De Gouverneur (see underneath). It would be interesting to hear what you think about these beers! Leave your comments at the bottom of this page.
Craft beer bars in Maastricht
Café de Zwaan
With its huge walk-in beer fridge this is a super attractive craft beer bar in Maastricht. They serve local, as well as other Dutch, Belgian and international beers. You’ll always find something that suits you here. Website de Zwaan, in Dutch only.
A huge beer bar right on the market square in Maastricht. Didn’t get the chance to visit last time I was in Maastricht as the place was packed (despite the corona virus being on the rise!). The place looked nice though, with a huge outside terrace. They’re specialized in Belgian ales. Check out their English website: de Gouverneur, Maastricht.
Hotel and Tapperij de Poshoorn
Close to Maastricht central station you’ll find this bar which is the modern edition of a traditional Dutch brown café. They have a fair amount of craft beers on their menu and do some interesting beer & bite-combo’s. Check out the Poshoorn website (in English)
A golden oldie with over 500 craft beers on the menu. If it weren’t for the busy road you’d be sitting right along the river Meuse/Maas here. The owner has been active in the Maastricht beer scene for a long time and knows his beers! It’s a small place. No website, but check out their menu on Untappd.
A more or less traditional “brown café”, as the Dutch call their old style bars that are usually quite dark and basic. It’s located in one of Maastricht’s narrow city center streets and is a good place to take a break during your sightseeing. They have a reasonable craft beer collection. It doesn’t compare to De Zwaan or Café Frapé yet is better than most other bars that serve only pilsener and perhaps a couple of Belgian ales. Website Falstaff, in Dutch only.