Plop...plop...plop...

The foreigner looks around in the semi-darkness, unable to discern anything that might encompass such a sound. The thought of opening a champagne bottle on new year's eve slips briefly past his mind's eye before it makes place for the more interesting flickering of the big screen...

Two hours later, and slightly uncontented ("Why did they have to have Dutch subtitles?"), the foreigner walks out of the relit theatre, past the concessions stand, suddenly noticing the Grolsch recappable bottles - with contents - being sold...

The Dutch moviegoing collective sees a mind plop, opening it to beerly influences of a good kind;

"Ah, Another enlightened foreigner."

A friend of mine from Holland tells me that there are two major brands of beer there -- Grolsch and Heineken. People there are either Grolsch drinkers or Heineken drinkers and it's rare to find someone who bats for both teams, as it were. He's squarely in the Grolsch camp, as their brewery is in a neighboring town to his.

The English-language Grolsch website can be found at www.grolsch.com.

Grolsch is made in Groenlo, where beer has been brewed for 375 years now. At the end of the 19th century the brewery became the property of the family Groen. In three generations they made the local brewery grow into a national company, that later on became strongly internationalised.

The Grolsch beer has stayed the same throughout the years, with the exception that nowadays it is brewed at the highest possible technological level.

The 'normal' pilsener, Grolsch Premium Pilsener, is available in 'pijpjes' (standard beer bottles) and the recappable bottles mentioned above. The caps on the recappable stoppered bottles, or 'plopjes', used to be made of porcelain but are now made of plastic (polypropylene).

The funny thing about Grolsch is that it's a very normal kind of beer to order in The Netherlands, while abroad it's a specialty beer. This makes for funny scenes where Dutch people are very amazed at the price and presentation of the beer they just ordered (I heard of a pub in Ireland where the Grolsch had its own little fridge and its own special beer mats).

Apart from the pilsener, Grolsch brews:

  • Grolsch 2.5, a light beer with a lower alcohol percentage (2.5%). This beer is also available with lemon or pink grapefruit flavour.
  • Lentebok (Spring Bock), a bock beer brewed only in spring containing 6.5% alcohol
  • Zomergoud (Summer Gold), a summer beer with a faint lemon and elderberry flavour, 5%
  • Herfstbok (Autumn Bock), a red bock beer for the autumn, 6.5%
  • Wintervorst (Winter King), a winter beer made with honey, orange rind and clover, 7,5%
  • Grolsch Special Malt, a malt beer with only 0.1% alcohol
  • Oud Bruin (Old Brown), a dark beer with a full, sweet taste, 2.5%
  • Gladiator
  • Het Kanon (The Cannon), a powerful beer with 11,5% alcohol

On the Grolsch website (www.grolsch.nl) you can find information on their products and promotions, as well as a Beer Guide to Amsterdam.

The brewers of Grolsch run a series of memorable TV commercials in Great Britain. A bunch of clueless (that is to say non-Dutch) people are making a rush of something and getting it totally wrong; in steps The Guy From The Grolsch Adverts™ to show them that things must be done slowly. In Holland, he explains, they wait until everything is just right - "Grolsch: We only let you drink it when it's ready."
For example:
  • A bunch of robbers are planning a bank job, but the place hasn't even been built yet; it's just an empty lot. "This bank isn't ready yet!"
  • A porn movie is being filmed, but things are clearly being rushed - no one seems to have a clue how these things work. "This blue movie isn't ready yet! Where's this guy's moustache? And why is he actually fixing the fridge?" Our Dutch hero puts them on the right track.
  • A wedding. Just as the guests are being asked if there is any reason why this couple should not be married, in storms the Grolsch guy. "Stop! This bride isn't ready yet!" He lifts her bridal veil to reveal a monkey. "She needs to evolve... for at least a few million years. Haven't you guys ever heard of Darwin?" In Holland, of course, they don't rush things like that.
  • A gang of toughs is bringing someone in to get him to squeal, but he's telling them where the diamonds are before they've even touched him. "What's with the rush to spill the beans? Let us first rough you up a bit. You never know - you might not crack. In Holland, we brew the Grolsch slowly... to die for." The victim is then set upon with an electrified feather duster.
  • Somewhere in the Far East, a brave young man confronts a local warlord, determined to seek revenge for the murder of his father. Unfortunately he hasn't taken time to learn the first thing about martial arts, and the Grolsch guy tells him it's too early. "First you must train with a wise master, paint a fence..."

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