The history of cycling and beer in the Netherlands is far-reaching. Think of the classic Amstel Gold Race and riders with a glass of Kwaremont beer on the podium after a stage race in Belgium. Kwaremont beer is named after a hill in the Flemish Ardennes after all. In this Collection, I present four rides to give you even more reasons to go on a cycling adventure.
For a small country, the Netherlands has a lot of breweries – 650 to be precise. You can find places where beer is brewed up and down the country from the tip of Zeeland to Groningen. There are even breweries on three of the inhabited Wadden Island! Four basic ingredients are processed to make beer: water, grain, hops, and yeast. Sometimes, herbs or fruit are used for extra flavour. In alcoholic beer, the yeast and sugar ferment into alcohol. But, what about alcohol-free beer? This is brewed in two different ways either by using a special yeast or filtering alcohol out of the beer.
In this Collection, I have created four rides to and from some of my favourite breweries. The rides vary in distance and difficulty. The first two routes mostly follow along well-surfaced bike paths. I’ve tried to design the routes to be as bicycle-friendly as possible with plenty of places to eat and drink as well. However, bear in mind that you will ride through central areas of Rotterdam and Amsterdam which can be busy. But, once you’re out of the city, you can enjoy comfortable roads at your own pace.
The third ride is very different from the first two routes. The fast asphalt is replaced by gravel trails and off-road tracks as you ride from the city of Deventer through the Hoge Veluwe National Park. The final stage is a unique ride. You won’t find a brewery here, but rather abbeys. There are only 12 abbeys in the world connected to a monastic community where beer is brewed. Two of these can be found in the Netherlands, near Tilburg and Breda.
As the rides start close to large cities, the start and finish points are easy to reach by train. If you come by car, you can also find (paid) parking. Wonderful bike rides in beautiful surroundings await you here. Nothing beats a cold beer after a long ride, but remember to drink in moderation!
The start and finish of the route is in the heart of Rotterdam, at the Cape Brewers to be precise. Via a loop around Zoetermeer, The Hague and Hoek van Holland and a visit to the Kompaan brewery you arrive back at square one.Bierbrouwerij Kaapse Brouwers is located on the Katendrecht peninsula. Where this part of Rotterdam used to be sailor's quarter and red light district, the rough edge has now disappeared. Today this is one of the hippest parts of the port city. With the shining center of the Cape Brewery brewery, where they say they serve the best Rotterdam beer in the world.Via the Willemsbrug the route leads over the Maasboulevard in the direction of the Kralingse Bos. From the Maasboulevard you have a great view of the architecture of Rotterdam. You can make speed on the Maasboulevard because the cycle path is clear of the road and has hardly any traffic lights. After you have passed the Kralingse Plas, the route runs for quite a few kilometers along the Rotte. Here too you can accelerate on the tight asphalt.After a loop around Zoetermeer and the Zoetermeerse Plas you drive towards The Hague. About halfway through the route, a break is made in the Hofstad. This is where brewery number two today is located: Kompaan Bieren. This brewery is located in the industrial district of Binckhorst in The Hague. In addition to twenty different beers on tap, you can also come here for lunch in the form of a barbecue.You can reach Meijendel via the Haagse Bos and Clingenbosch. Meijendel is a beautiful nature area with good cycling paths. Nature consists of forests, water features and dunes. On the west side of the area, the route runs into the seaside resort of Scheveningen in The Hague. Along the boulevard is a perfect piece of asphalt. You then dive back into the dunes via a small detour over clinkers around the harbor.
The stretch of road and the area up to Hoek van Holland are beautiful. The route winds through the Hollandse Duinen National Park. Once you have arrived in Hoek van Holland, the route bends to the left and runs parallel along the Nieuwe Waterweg. The enthusiast of the necessary climbing can enjoy themselves on the so-called Côte de Maeslant. About 100 kilometers away is a 300-meter climb to a viewpoint on the Maeslantkering: the last Deltawerk in the Netherlands.The last part continues the route along the Nieuwe Waterweg. As you get closer to the finish location, the traffic gets a bit busier. Rotterdam is in sight. You can reach the brewery on Katendrecht via the iconic Erasmus Bridge. Time for a well-deserved beer. Cheers!
The route starts from the Amsterdam Brewery 't IJ. After a little more than 100 kilometers round through typical North Holland polders and the dunes of South Kennemerland you finish again in Amsterdam.Brouwerij 't IJ has been brewing specialty beers for a number of decades. The tasting room is located in a former bathhouse under the windmill in Amsterdam East. The route starts in the direction of the river of the same name; The IJ. Here you take the free ferry to the Buiksloterweg. The fast bike path along the Noordhollandschkanaaldijk takes you straight through Amsterdam North.After less than eight kilometers, the city has made way for nature. Here the route runs straight through the North Holland polder landscape. You then cycle west along the edge of the water-rich recreation area Het Twiske.A beautiful cycle path runs along the river Zaan through a typical North Holland setting. On your right you will find straight stretches of peat bog completely surrounded by water and on the left you will find the countless windmills of Zaanse Schans. This is one of the oldest industrial areas in the world with industrial mills and craft shops.The route continues and you cross the North Sea Canal by ferry. The beautiful Zuid-Kennemerland National Park starts just below IJmuiden. This area is one of the largest dune landscapes in the Netherlands. The cycling possibilities here are endless. The road curves up and down along beautiful forests and valleys. The section from Bloemendaal aan Zee runs directly along the dunes. Every now and then you even get a glimpse of the North Sea.The route retreats into the South Kennemerland via the edge of the town center of Zandvoort. You eventually enter Haarlem on a sloping bike path. The Jopen beer brewery is located here. This brewery offers no less than 46 different beers and is located in a beautiful old church. This is perhaps one of the most special places in the Netherlands to drink a beer. Besides a beer you can also go here for something to eat.Immediately after departure you drive again along the southern border of the nature reserve Zuid-Kennemerland. Here is an iconic climb on the program: the Kopje van Bloemendaal. This one and a half kilometer segment in which 45 altimeters are conquered is a real calf biter. Especially after a break.The last part of the ride goes via Spaarndam and a part along the Haarlemmerweg. This way you enter Amsterdam via the west side and it is still a short distance to the final destination. Narrow streets, authentic canal houses and long canals form the backdrop towards brewery 't IJ. Here you can sit on the terrace and reward yourself with a delicious cold beer.
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The day starts at the DAVO city brewery in Deventer. In approximately 80 kilometers you pass no less than 13 gravel strips over the Veluwe. The ride is easy to do on the road bike, although slightly wider tires than 23 millimeters are recommended.The city brewery DAVO is located in an industrial building where many own beers are brewed. You can also get to know other beers in the tasting room. Many of these come from smaller Dutch breweries. In addition to beer, they are said to have the tastiest burgers in town.Immediately after departure you cross the IJssel river and cycle south. The first gravel strip is already waiting for you after eight kilometers. Strip number one is a beautiful country road along farms and agricultural fields. Beware of crossing tractors. Strip number two is not long in coming. There is a two kilometer long strip through the forests of Klarenbeek. Halfway you pass the railway between Zutphen and Apeldoorn.The route continues to the southwest. At the location of Loenen you make a loop over the National Park Veluwezoom. A beautiful 2.5 km long strip is hidden here. The path runs through the moors and you will encounter a bench along the way. Here you can relax and take in the natural beauty.
Via the Molen-Allee and Zilvensebroekweg you again reach a beautiful strip. Here you will not find gravel, but a cart railway through the woods. This adventurous segment is doable on the road bike, although it can safely be called an "adventurous part". Both on your left and right hand you have a view of swamp areas.The route continues via the Kanariestraat, which runs straight through Landgoed Brummen. From this point you cycle the remaining part of the route back to the north. You will encounter two gravel strips until the finish. You will reach the Wilhelminabrug via the floodplains of the IJssel. Here you can squeeze out the last bits of energy in a sprint and then plop down on the terrace benches of the DAVO brewery. ''A beer please''.
When you hear the names Koningshoeven and Maria Toevlucht, a bell may not ring immediately. But the last drive of less than 100 kilometers takes you past the two only real Dutch abbeys. Here, real Trappist beer is brewed in an abbey. Abbey beer is brewed in an abbey. When the beer is also brewed under the strict supervision of monks, you speak of a Trappist beer. A condition of this is that the monks are affiliated with the order of the Cistercians. Only 12 of these breweries can be found worldwide.The route starts from the De Koningshoeven brewery, just below Tilburg. Beer has been brewed on the grounds of the Our Lady of Koningshoeven Cistercian abbey since 1884. And not just any beer, but La Trappe Trappist beer. You will have to be patient for a while, because you have to cycle first.The route runs counterclockwise and even runs a little bit over Belgian territory. The Bels Lijntje is located just outside Tilburg. The Bels Lijntje is a former rail connection between Tilburg and Turnhout. Along the route you will find some old signalmen's houses. The cycle path runs almost straight on a perfect piece of asphalt. Here you can make nice speed.After Baarle-Nassau, where you cycle through Belgium for the first time, the road bends to the right. Although the old railway line continues for a while, you cycle towards Ulicoten. After a beautiful but sometimes sandy piece of gravel road, you are now really crossing the border.
After about 10 kilometers you will reach the Netherlands again. When you arrive in Zundert, you may know what time it is. West of Zundert is the Trappist brewery De Kievit of the Maria Refuge Abbey. An amber-colored beer with a high fermentation is brewed here. Recently the beer won a gold medal in the category "heavy dark" during the award ceremony of the Dutch Beer Challenge. The beer can therefore call itself the best heavy and dark beer in the Netherlands. There is no restaurant, but there is a shop where the beer is for sale. Taking a bottle in your saddle bag or bikepacking bags is of course a good idea.The abbey is also the farthest point. The way back goes eastwards and partly follows the Scheldt-Rhine Route. After Rijsbergen, the route splits from the Schelde-Rheinroute and then picks up again at Chaam. The final destination comes into view via a beautiful cycle path through the woods near Gilze. But not before a real cobblestone strip has to be overcome. Tilburg South is one of the longest cobblestones in the region; a kilometer. From here it is about ten kilometers to the abbey Koningshoeven. A tasty Trappist beer is waiting for you here.