Ah, genever, you are a pretty one. The last time we met up, I was face down in an infamous brown bar near The Hague. The Dutch know how to drink, and I had spent much of the night in a Kopstootje session. Loosely translated as a “little head butt”, it’s the equivalent of a boilermaker: a shot of liquor with a beer back, always a lager.
WTF genever? Funny you should ask. It’s the booze that inspired the Brits to invent Gin, and both are flavored with Juniper and other botanicals. The difference is that genever is based on an unaged whiskey, rather than a neutral spirit. It’s also dangerously easy to drink. If you can find it, Bols “1820″ Genever is a lovely and malty example of the spirit.
I hadn’t dared seek out genever since that fateful trip to the Netherlands. So, when Tal Nadari of Bols Genever invited me to a Kopstootje session at Farmer’s Cabinet here in Philly, I jumped at the chance. Tal is the definition of a gentleman, with a distinct Dutch manner. What I didn’t expect from the evening was a bit of sacrilege from Tal. Instead of a standard lager, Tal poured me a new beer from Baltimore’s Stillwater Artisinal Ales.
Brian Strumke of Stillwater is something of a mad genius. The beer he crafted is a deconstruction of Bol’s classic genever. The beer offers up a fresh malt note married with wood and spice flavors; a finish of juniper and hops gives the beer a deep savory note. Based on a classic Saison style, the beer remains light and fresh with a moderate level of carbonation. Highly Recommended.