De Bierkoning

"Specialist beer shop, Bierkoning, opened in Paleisstraat opposite Amsterdam’s Royal Palace in 1985. In those days, the Dutch word for ‘beer’ just meant ‘lager’."

"Since then, thousands of different types of beer have found their way onto our shelves – every conceivable brew. Our Amsterdam customers can sample not only strong or mild Dutch and Belgian beers, but also German Altbier, Lambiek, Vienna Lager, Baltic Porters and Vlaams Rood.

Beers are defined by the brewing methods and ingredients used. Nowadays, enthusiasts are well acquainted with all the variations of malt and hops but the invisible yeasts and bacteria still largely remain a mystery. This is despite the fact that the right choice of yeast lies at the very heart of any beer recipe. The yeast is the hard worker that provides not just the alcohol and carbon dioxide but the nuances of taste as well. It is these that set different beers apart from each other. The major difference between a Belgian blond and an ‘ordinary’ lager is the yeast and how it reacts at different temperatures. And what can you say about a German Weissbier with yeast that gives the beer its typical banana taste when subjected to high fermentation temperatures. And we haven’t even got to the Lambiek beers yet: sharp brews and dry as a bone, fructified by yeasts and other bacteria, deprived of air more or less ad hoc. To think that yeast just plays a part in the brewing process could not be further from the truth. Even though their names that sound like nasty diseases, Lactobacillus, Pediococcus and Acetobacter can be the purveyors of glorious tastes.

Although we at Bierkoning mostly just adore the taste of beer, we are also really interested in the theory behind the brew. Without know-how, there is no good beer. If that know-how is not handed on, there will be no new generation of ambitious brewers. That is why we sell a range of informative books alongside our beers. It is also the reason why we organise an annual festival devoted solely to Brettanomyces, a rather capricious yeast which, when treated with care, can produce what could be described as the most well layered beers.

There would be no life – and no beer – without micro-organisms. That is why we are truly proud to be a part of this ambitious project to lay bare their invisible but powerful world. We see Micropia as a new step towards knowledge and enjoyment. True to form, we can but raise our glasses to that."