We are proud to present the first ever expatsHaarlem beer review! In this article, we will be reviewing a SMaSH beer packet from Beerwulf.
Let’s meet our testers
From left to right: Nick, Cyriel, Andrew, Martin
Andrew is an Australian who loves running and craft beer. Cyriel is Dutch and is normally a whisky man but also enjoys a good beer. Martin is Dutch and is our craft beer aficionado. Nick is your friendly American expatsHaarlem writer who loves craft beer.
The beer packet
We received a packet of beer from Beerwulf curated by Hollands Hophuis. There are six kinds of beer in the packet all from Dutch brewers and all staying with the theme SMaSH (or ‘single malt and single hop’). The beers included in the packet are:
- De Prael Vienna SMaSH (6.0%)
- Rock City Brewing Sorachi Ace SMaSH (8.0%)
- vandeStreek SMASH Junga (5.0%)
- Bird Brewery Puur Goudhaan (6.0%)
- Van Moll Smash Hit (6.0%)
- Dutch Bargain As Bitter As Ariane Grande’s exes (6.0%)
Getting down to business
The first order of business was selecting the order we wanted to try the beers in. We decided on going from what we thought would be the lightest, simplest tastes to the heavier and more complex ones. We went with the following order De Prael, Bird Brewery, vandeStreek, Dutch Bargain, Van Moll and, finally, Rock City. There were two bottles of each beer and so each of us would each get a half of each beer and then discuss our thoughts.
This was an easy beer to start with – a larger, almost a ‘normal beer’ but then with something a little extra. The beer was a bit darker than we anticipated and had more flavour than you would expect from a larger. There is a slight taste of strawberry but with a slight bitter taste that sticks to your tongue. As most of us prefer our beers to be more flavourful, we scored this beer a 5.5/10. This beer would be preferred over other lagers but our group wants something with more flavour.
Next was the first of the two pale ales in the packet. This is an easy drinking afternoon beer, nice and refreshing and perfect for a sunny summer day. There is a bit of a melon flavour to this beer that starts out tasting good but has a bit of a strange aftertaste. This beer came in at 6.5/10 for us.
The second pale ale was next in the lineup. We all commended on the nice colour of this beer as soon as the first glass was poured. The beer was fruity and fresh – and just easy to drink. This pale ale along with the previous one is great for a warm day; it’s crisp and refreshing and hits the spot. We gave this beer a 7/10.
As Bitter As Ariane Grande’s Exes
Thumbs up to Dutch Bargain for being the only can in the packet and for having the most unique name out of the whole batch. Apart from the name and the cool can though, there was not much else to this one that was all that exciting. This is an IPA but was not all that hoppy. We did taste a bit of a peer flavour in this one that did give it some uniqueness, however. This beer got a 6/10 from us.
New England IPAs are a favourite of a couple members of the panel and this one was highly anticipated. We first noticed that this beer is not as hazy as some NEIPAs. So far this beer had the most complex flavour and Van Moll was able to create a good balance between sweet and bitter flavours that made for a nice a smooth drink. This is a fresh and fruity classic NEIPA that was just good and easy to drink. Props for the best label in the packet too. This beer came in at a unanimous 7.5/10.
Sorachi Ace SMaSH
With this beer being a double IPA, it’s logical that it had the most complex flavour of all the beers in the packet. The beer is full bodied and heavier than the other beers but was still crisp and refreshing. The beer has a slight umami flavor to it while still maintaining a fruity flavour. We all agreed that this beer was a good finisher. This beer comes in at 7.75/10 and was our highest rating of the packet.
To sum it up
We were happy with the order that we picked and found that drinking the beers in the order made it so the beers did not take away from each other, as perhaps would have been the case if we had sampled those with stronger flavours before those with more subtle ones. The packet provides a nice mix of styles all centred around one central theme: SMaSH. We enjoyed tasting and critiquing these beers and found them all to be easy to drink and agreeable, but there was also not much excitement in the flavours either. If you want to give this beer packet a try yourself, you can purchase it exclusively from Beerwulf’s website for €39.99 and it will be shipped to your house free-of-charge. The package includes six different beers and you will receive two bottles (or cans) of each.