No German beer in Amsterdam, no Stella Artois in Brussels.

Wife and I spent 5 days in Amsterdam and 3 days in Brussels back in April. Been reflecting on something I noticed.

In Amsterdam Heineken is everywhere to an absurd ridiculous extreme (I like Heineken but when I’m overseas I like to drink beer I can’t get in the states). But what we didn’t see (in stores nor bars/restaurants) was any German beer. All over Europe you at least see Becks. Didn’t see it anywhere in Amsterdam. Nor any other German brew.

In Brussels I was stunned to find very few bars/restaurants/stores selling Stella Artois. I like it, but once again, wouldn’t have drank it there as I can get it in over abundance here.

I did, of course, see Budweiser. I’ve seen Bud in a zillion places outside of the USA. What I never see outside of the states is anyone actually drinking it.

Any reason for these observations?

In Spain Heineken was sometimes a offering, Beck’s what’s that, don’t recall seeing it. And yes sometime Bud - why-Oh- why. Wondering if Bud was better in Europe, but never wanted to step down to order it.

I’m not up to date on the trademark dispute- is there any chance that Budweiser currently sold in Europe is American Bud and not “real” Budweiser?

ETA I mean I’d assume a Budweiser ordered in Austria or Czechia to be the Czech version.

WAG: suppose you go to Köln. People drink a lot of beer. But if you walk into a random place, they will probably only have Kölsch and Pils on tap, and maybe some miscellaneous bottles of Weissbier. People just aren’t going to drink Becks when they have perfectly good local beer.

On the other hand, Beck’s Brewery is huge and export a lot of beer, so it should not be surprising to find it regularly on the shelves in non-German supermarkets.


Thanks for the posts. But I’m talking specifically about Amsterdam and Brussels.

Didn’t see any German beer in Amsterdam, didn’t see hardly any Stella in Brussels.

Wondering why.

When I was living and working briefly in the U.K. in 1996, American Bud was inexplicably popular. I came to Britain to escape American beer, and here I was working at a Michelin starred restaurant and drinking Buds after hours with the chefs, because that’s what they bought for themselves. No idea how popular the brand is there today. It tasted pretty much the same as Bud in America.

Now Czech Budweiser, aka Budvar or Chechvar, is another story. That stuff was good, but the branding is quite different, so it’s unlikely to be mistaken for American Budweiser, other than sharing a name (although the label more fully says “Budweiser Budvar” on it.)

Heineken was a pleasant surprise in Holland. I don’t like it here, but I very much enjoyed it there. Unfortunately, I don’t remember looking for German beer the few times I’ve been there, so I can’t comment as to whether the OPs experience was unlucky or not.

Fwiw, I’m seeing Beck’s on the menu of the first few pubs i googled in Amsterdam, so it’s not non-existent there, at least.

Man, if Belgium and the Netherlands ever ask me to arbitrate in a political dispute, I’m going with the former as they have better taste.

That we sell Heineken to tourists doesn’t mean we like it.:slight_smile:

I have trouble believing that not every third or so bar has a nice “Weissbier” on draft.
Or that you really coudn’t find anything from brewery “'t IJ”.

The two mega breweries merged about 18 months ago to create a super mega brewery company. So both brands are now owned by the same corp.

I suppose it depends on what kinds of bars you went to. Last time I was in Amsterdam I used the book Around Amsterdam in 80 Beers as a guide. The bars we went to featured mostly Dutch and Belgian beers. The only time we had Heineken was when doing the brewery tour.

In Brussels we used the Good Beer Guide Belgium as a guide. A favourite spot was Delirium with over 2000 beers. The guide says “As well as over 700 Belgian beers, there is a wide range of German, British, Dutch, French and so on.”

Asking for Stella in Belgium or Becks in Germany is like asking for Fosters in Australia. The locals don’t drink it, they just export it.

I certainly saw Stella in Leuven, Belgium, when I was there! But, then again, that’s where it’s brewed, so that’s to be expected. :slight_smile:

You’re right about Beck’s. I can’t remember really seeing it anywhere in Germany.That said, at least 10 years ago it apparently was the fifth best-selling beer in Germany, though I can’t get my hands on the original article. I do remember seeing Ottinger, Krombacher, Warsteiner, and Bitburger (“bitte ein Bit”) regularly, but no recollection of Beck’s. And ten years ago would have been fairly close to the time when I was traveling that general region (more like 15 years.) So, weird. Or maybe it was more a drink-at-home beer than something you’d buy at the pub.

Wikipedia has Beck’s as fourth best-selling, now, barely edging out Warsteiner. A good thing, IMO, as Warsteiner is terrible. (I had it on a Lufthansa flight, as it was the only beer they had, and I hated it. Tasted like stale Bud. That a German brewery could make beer worse than American macros caused me great surprise at the time.)

You might have just gotten a bad batch. I don’t think Warsteiner is amazing or anything, but it’s head and shoulders above American macros, IMO.

One of my favorite lines in the movie Beerfest:

Gunter: He stole it und now instead of Deutschland’s greatest beer we merely have fourth best behind Steinemarzen, Rottenburger, und… und…
Rolf: Und Beck’s?
Gunter: Und Beck’s? Ja, UND BECK’S!!

+1. I really enjoy Warsteiner. Much more than Beck’s or almost any American macro.

Really? I thought that they were still separate. The American Budweiser is owned by AB InBev (which now owns all the Anheuser-Busch brands) and the Czech Budweiser is owned by Budějovický Budvar —

Budweiser Budvar Brewery - Wikipedia

The one question I had in regards to that is that it seems a little unclear to me whether all those hectoliters of beer are headed for the domestic market, or whether that includes all beer produced for local and foreign markets.

In Amsterdam we went to a zillion bars down in the canal zone and a bunch in the museum quarter and some in the boonies on the way to Keukenhof. (I know, I know. All touristy areas). I wasn’t looking to drink German beer, I just noticed it was conspicuously absent unlike every other European country I’ve been to.

In Brussels we stayed mostly in Grand Place area but we did go to a couple areas in the city. Again, German Beer was not to be seen nor was Stella.

We originally were going to spend the entire 8 days in Amsterdam but got bored with it, so we took the train to Brussels where we hadn’t been since 1980. Glad we did.
Stayed at the Hotel Mozart. The rooms aren’t great but the place is kitschy.

Food in Brussels was crazy good!:slight_smile:

Both the Dutch and the Belgians still have a serious hard-on for Germany, even after all these decades. Perhaps that’s why you don’t see many imports there.