Europe Brewery: Hertog Jan

The Hertog Jan brewery was opened in 1915 and the location was strategically chosen to be close to a natural springs, which provides the main ingredient for the beer.  The brewery took a lot of damage during WW II but was rebuilt.  However, in the 1980s the brewery was struggling and was looking to close.  A team of employees decided to take over the building and started to brew specialty beer instead of the historical pilsner.  These specialy beers are a success and start winning prizes and they haven't looked back since.  Hertog Jan brewery has an informative page about their history, so if you're curious, check it out!

Hertog Jan brews one of the few pilsners that I will drink, but I absolutely love their doubles, triples, and especially their barrel aged  Grand Prestige selection.  At the brewery, you'll have a chance to taste beers from various brew years, and it is amazing how much different they are.

Photo of the original Hertog Jan brewery in 1915. Source: Hertog Jan site

The brewery is just north of Arcen, north of Venlo, and easy to get to by bike, and has a large area to park your bike.   The area is wonderful for biking, along the river Meuse and through several nature reserves.

We found out that the brewery visit is 'tour only' which is not something we enjoy... but the restaurant and the store are open for visit.  The restaurant is highly recommended and has of course a great beer list :)

The brewery is named after John I, Duke ("Hertog") of Brabant (1252-1294).  Supposedly he was a bit of a folk hero, being brave, adventurous and chivalrous, and apparently also amorous given the mention of his many illegitimate children. 

In 1947, two Dutch artist decided to honour Hertog Jan with a song, which possibly borrowing some words from a love poem written by Hertog Jan in Diets - the medieval local language close to German and Dutch.  

Should you be curious - you can hear the song on YouTube

Hertog Jan is not to be confused with the many "St Jan" churches in the south of the Netherlands, which are named after the apostle John (Johannes in Dutch or Jan for short).   

The brewery is well worth a visit, so stop by if you're in the neighbourhood!


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