Bringing the Dutch beer experience to the heart of London is De Hems Dutch Bar in Soho. It’s not alone in bringing European beer to London, what with the likes of Belgo/Bierodrome dotted around the city, but it is conveniently located in Soho and nicely laid out.
There are some famous names in this post, so let’s start out with the well-known Belgian beer Leffe Blonde. It’s a golden-amber colour with an extremely sweet citrus nose and it’s almost sickly sweet to drink, too. It carries that floral note throughout and is pretty strong at 6.6% ABV. It’s very comparable to the Hoegaarden white beer in both look, taste and – alas – price! If you have a sweet tooth then this is for you.
I then moved on to the Lindeboom, “the beer from here” (“here” being Limburg in southern Netherlands). Like many Dutch beers it often comes in a novelty glass but for me this pilsner was just a little too lager-like. I know most pilsners are, but those great German ones always seem to have a certain lightness to them that I didn’t find in the Lindeboom. Again, it’s a very sweet one and would be better suited to lager drinkers.
Next up was my personal favourite of the Low Countries beers – the Pauwel Kwak. Unfortunately, De Hems didn’t have any of the famous Kwak drinking glasses – the round-bottomed mini yard of ale vessel with wooden handle frame – but the taste on its own is satisfaction enough. At 8.4% it’s a knock-out but the amber ale goes down smoothly with the most delightful caramel notes. If you want the ultimate European beer experience, Kwak is it.
Finally, my apologies to Duvel, I did try one of those but lost my notes.
I’d love to hear your recommendations for Dutch and Belgian beer for us to review.Tweet