The Arcense Bierbrouwerij is situated in Arcen in the most northern part of Zuid-Limburg, a province in the Netherlands.
March 2nd 1915 was the year the Stoombierbrouwerij de Vriendenkring (Steam brewery the Friendship) was established. Three breweries joined together and started this new brewery with a steam engine. In those days very modern and something the brewers were proud of. The brewery was very successful and soon their VK-Bier was not just locally a hit but national as well. WWII was disastrous for our friends. Cars, horses and all copper was confiscated by the Germans. During the liberation the brewery was almost completely destroyed by a British bombardment. In the years after the war an attempt was made to rebuild the brewery but post war recession resulted in a decreasing consumption of beer. So in 1949 the brewery was sold to Brouwerij de Drie Hoefijzers in Breda. Which in his turn became part of Allied Breweries in 1968. In 1980 Allied Breweries decided to close the brewery in Arcen. But some of the workers had plans to start a brewery themselves and this was their opportunity. They started the Arcense Bierbrouwerij but in their contract it said that they were only allowed to brew top fermented beers! This is why Hertog Jan Pils, Hertog Jan Speciaal and Hertog Jan Oud Bruin were brewed by other breweries like Dommelsch and Artois. In the early 80ís there were only 20 breweries left in Holland. All brewing pilsners. Beer consumption was about 99% pilsner those days. The beer culture was deadÖ But the Arcense Bierbrouwerij managed to start a new trend. Slowly introducing their own top fermented specialty beers and importing several beers from Belgium. A turning point and at the moment there are about 50 breweries. All new breweries brewing everything except pilsners. History repeats itself and in October 1992 the Arcense Brouwerij was again bought by Allied Breweries Holland. But not for long. Interbrew was looking for a market in Holland and in February 1995 the Arcense Brouwerij became part of the concern together with Oranjeboom and Dommelsch.
Hertog Jan Grand Prestige
Brewed from water, barley, wheat, sugar, yeast, hop and caramel and itís 10% alcohol by volume makes it a barley wine according to the brewer. In my opinion you cannot put it under barley wine but itís still a great beer. The aroma is light malty with a mild coffee and chocolate smell. Good hops in the aroma as well with a herbal touch. It has a dark brown almost black colour. An average creamy off-white head and fair lacing. Although bottle conditioned still a clear body with tiny bubbles. The first flavor is moderate sweet. It used to be quite roasted but that has disappeared over the last few years - what a pity. In the finish the hops come in but also a nice alcohol taste. Not too much, just right.