We rented a little car for the weekend so that we could tour around the Dutch countryside. On Saturday we headed to a clog and cheese place first, just outside of Amstelveen - it was very touristy, so we didn't stay long. Next we headed off towards Brouwerij de Molen in Bodegraven. The drive there was a lot of fun - we missed one turn and the GPS re-routed us through some very narrow but beautifully scenic roads.
De Molen Brewery is in a windmill that was built in the 1600's, in fact, 'molen' means 'mill' in Dutch. The brewery is still pretty young, but it's been rapidly gaining popularity. They've been winning lots of awards and are currently ranked #12 on the 'Best Brewers in the World 2012' list on ratebeer.com. The majority of their beer is exported to the US, but are becoming more popular in the Netherlands as well.
We joined them for their tour and our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the beer-making process. I've been at several brewery tours in the past and I always learn something new, especially this time. During our tour we sampled five of de Molen's beers and I liked most of them (just not the extra dark one that had a smoky flavour). My favourite was the Heen & Weer (Come & Go), a Belgian triple. Trev's favourites were Op & Top and their Rasputin. Funny story about the Rasputin...it can only be called that within the Netherlands because de Molen received notice of copyright infringement from a brewery in the US that brews a beer called 'Old Rasputin', so elsewhere in the world they call it 'Cease & Desist' (in reference to the scenario that led to a name change).
The brewery also has a restaurant, so we stayed for a late lunch after our tour. The restaurant was good, but service left something to be desired...everything was just very slow and there were some mis-communications about what we were able to order (or not order) on the menu. Eventually our sandwiches arrived: pate for me and toasted cheese-pesto for Trev. They were both warm and toasty on chewy baguettes with a small lightly dressed salad on the side. It definitely hit the spot (alongside a glass of Heen & Weer). After our lunch we picked up several bottles of our favourites and a few beers we hadn't tried yet and headed back to Amstelveen.