16. Netherlands – For the Love of Beer

Long gone are the reverent chants for one church in Haarlem, Netherlands… they have been replaced by the clinking of glasses in Jopenkerk, a beautifully restored church turned modern-brewery. Complete with vibrant aesthetics and intentionally preserved mementos of its sacred past, you can’t visit the outskirts of Amsterdam without stopping in to sample fantastic beers with a front row seat to their entire brewing system.

Walking down the street, this cathedral like fortress will demand your attention. Simple stained glass windows remain, but now the interior caramel arches reflect the glory of Jopen’s immaculate copper brewing tanks.

Photo: Jopenkerk Haarlem


The energy is lively; crowds saunter in from the patio to the Grand Café, which is somewhere between a classy bar and comfortable work space, depending where you choose to sit. Two lofts above the casual mingling room allow patrons to grasp the ambiance like observers of an arena, or opt to fade into the background of more intimate spaces. On the main floor, a creative and comedic touch threads together church history and the progressive Netherlands atmosphere, even in the way they display their list of beers: modeled after the traditional boards that typically announce hymns or scripture references, give us this day our daily brew.

Beer Lists on Hymnal Boards in this Church Turned Brewery

If you find it a little backwards, having a brewery inside an old church, just wait ’til they turn you upside down. Ornate, bold rugs with the red and gold scheme of the barley pop castle climb the walls and decorate the ceilings, rather than cover the floor, overlapping one another with pristine effects. Another specific piece of artwork that drew my attention was a medium sized glass mosaic of wheat shoots, again playing on Biblical tastes in the name of beer.

Photo: Jopenkerk Haarlem

When you find yourself in Holland, plan a day to visit Haarlem. Don’t miss out on this divine gem during your Netherlands journey, (as devoted as you may be to the frites, tulips, canals, or coffee shops that beckon for your attention). Visit Jopenkerk. You’ll come away a believer.

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