Old School Specialty Beer in Utrecht

We can probably thank hipster Millennials for the surge of craft beer places around the world. Most of them look more like the Starbucks' for beer, all-the-same, instagram-eye-candy, exposed-brick-and-salvaged-wood "pubs" where the latest local micro-brew on tap is. We're not here to tell you about those places, we're here to point you to the oldest, realest pubs in Utrecht where the craft beer, or as they refer to it, Special Beer, is served. The Netherlands, Belgium & Germany are Europe's most prominent beer-countries, and that is for a reason, beer is in their blood, it is a centuries-old tradition ranging from small productions in monasteries, to churches, to mega corporations.

These are NightGuide's essentials on the best places to go out for craft (specialty) beers in Utrecht

Ledig Erf

  • What: an old-school Dutch brown bar
  • Where: Tolsteegbrug 3,
    Google Maps
  • What is it know for: remains an old-school staple of Utrecht, it's beer selection if a classic one but a great one.

In addition to its great beer, Ledig Erf has one of Utrecht's best outside terraces

Sporting one of Utrecht's biggest (and nicest) outside terraces, Ledig Erf remains faithful to its origins as a typical, cosy, brown Dutch bar. It has one of the best beer selections in town, and is sure to quench your thirst for that one "speciaal biertje" that is elsewhere hard to find.

De Luifel

  • What: an old-school Dutch brown bar
  • Where: Tolsteegbrug 3,
    Google Maps
  • What is it know for: more than 70 craft beers on tap

A terrace, board games and more than 70 beers on tap, what more could you want?

De Luifel is another great brown café in Utrecht. Known for it's broad beer assortiment, it's been part of the city since 1606! It's a quite cosy place, where somewhat old-school music completes the atmosphere. Great place to unwind or just play some board game, accompanied, of course, by some great beer.

Café Lijn 4

Cosy atmosphere at Lijn 4

Named after the old tram line that once drove past here, Lijn 4 (Line 4) is open every day of the week. Its cosy atmosphere attracts mostly young professionals and people of working age and less the student crowd. It has a Pub&Music Quiz on the second and last Mondays of every month.

De Drie Dorstige Herten

-What: this incredible living room, which happens to be a bar dating back to the 1600s -Where: Lange Nieuwstraat 47,

Google Maps -What is it know for:
its living room setting
, more than 140 different beers (bottled)

Nothing says "amazing beer tasting" like a true, down to earth, living room setting

Enjoying good beer, requires sometimes less of a party and more of a quiet setting. At the Drie Dorstige Herten, quite doesn't have to mean uninviting. This literal living room, is the peak of Dutch

Gezelligheid. Its small space maybe doesn't allow for lots of different taps but they have 9 solid ones, of which 8 change regularly. If that's not enough for you, try one of the more than 140 bottled beer kinds they have to offer. Our advice: call before you go there, as the opening times can vary (their number
+31 30 888 4430
). In addition to beer, whisky and wines are also available.

Café Jan Primus

  • What: the oldest specialty beer café in Utrecht (according to them)
  • Where: Jan van Scorelstraat 27-31,
    Google Maps
  • What is it know for: 10 taps, 80 kinds of bottled beer

Primus' frontyard

They call themselves the

oldest specialty beer cafe in Utrecht, whether that's true or not they sure are one of the best. It has remained a staple of Utrecht's beer scene since before anyone can remember. Its walls are adorned with the classic blackboards noting what's on tap today, and its bar stools mostly filled with locals. Primus has remained a solid choice over the years and is still so today.

Kafé België

  • What: probable the best Belgian Beer café in Utrecht
  • Where: Oudegracht 196,
    Google Maps
  • What is it know for: Belgian beer

As in most pubs, sports is a big part of what brings us together to enjoy some of the best beer in the world

Maybe saving the best for last we have Kafé België. Belgian specialty beer is famous around the world, and for good reason. It's always surprising for foreigners when they come to The Netherlands, that they don't find literally everyone drinking Heineken once they get here. Whereas that might be special where you're from, here really special beer means one thing: Belgium. Kafé België lives up to this fame. It has infamously more than 200 beers available, whether bottled or on tap. This is combined with a no-nonsense vibe. Though maybe not as old as the other places on this list (it's only been open since 1984) its huge range of beer and its tribute to Belgian culture earn this pub a spot on our list.

NightGuide Utrecht is an initiative for locals by locals, where we answer the question where to go out in Utrecht. Where to find the best craft, specialty beer in Utrecht. We aim to have a comprehensive guide on festivals, bars and clubs, covering Techno, House, Rock, Indie Rock, Top40, HipHop, Rap and more. Check our other articles for the latest parties, pubquizzes, pubcrawls and more in Utrecht.