They say…

Des de Moor
Best beer and travel writing award 2015, 2011 -- British Guild of Beer Writers Awards
Accredited Beer Sommelier
Writer of "Probably the best book about beer in London" - Londonist
"A necessity if you're a beer geek travelling to London town" - Beer Advocate
"A joy to read" - Roger Protz
"Very authoritative" - Tim Webb.
"One of the top beer writers in the UK" - Mark Dredge.
"A beer guru" - Popbitch.
Des de Moor


St Christoffel Christoffel Bok

A shortened version of this piece appears in the book You Must Try Before You Die (May 2010).

ABV: 6.5%
Origin: Roermond, Limburg, Netherlands
First brewed: 2005
Serving temperature: 8-10°C

Christoffel Bok reclame

Dutch autumn bokbier must be one of the most underpublicized beer styles outside its home country: world beer surveys often don’t mention it all, or treat it as a footnote to German Bock, with which it does indeed share a common history. Yet it’s really a style in its own right, and in the Netherlands it holds a special place at the heart of the craft beer revival. Back in the early 1980s when pale lager from Heineken and other big brewers completely dominated the country’s beer scene, the few remaining strong, dark specialities which had been brewed as winter warmers since the late 19th century became the principal cause célèbre for a new beer consumers’ organisation, PINT, set up on the model of Britain’s CAMRA.

That movement also spawned a new generation of innovative microbreweries, of which one of the most respected internationally is at Roermond in the southeastern province of Limburg, a southern peninsula of the Netherlands thrust between Belgium and Germany, where brewing traditions have always been strong. Set up in 1986 by Leo Brand, member of an old-established Dutch brewing family, and dedicated to brewing unfiltered quality lager in compliance with the German Reinheitsgebot, it’s been owned since 2001 by advertising executive (and near-teetotaller) Jeroen Hillenaar.

For years Christoffel’s range lacked a seasonal bokbier, effectively excluding itself from PINT’s flagship annual event, the Bokbierfestival in Amsterdam in late October, which to this day, and not without controversy, is open only to brews that fit a strict definition of the style. Finally in 2005 the brewery unveiled a cold-fermented interpretation of this fascinating and historic style which has since been joined by a stronger bottled Winterbock. The wait was worthwhile, as, true to the brewery’s reputation, the beer turned out to be one of the best, most recently winning top prize in its class in 2008. 

Tasting notes

Clear, deep red-amber beer with a big bubbly foam head and balsamic traces on a light aroma. A very approachable beer for the style, with a notably dry, malty and nutty palate with emerging hops and burnt malt on a dangerously moreish finish.

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