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It's every beer drinker's dream

 
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Johnny
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 7:34 pm    Post subject: It's every beer drinker's dream Reply with quote

Only here for the beer

Feb 6 2006

By Evening Gazette

It's every beer drinker's dream ... a pub with a direct pipeline from the brewery; a bar where the lager's so fresh you half expect it to sneak out of the glass and pinch the barmaid's backside.

And it's no beery fantasy - it actually exists in the little Dutch town of Arcen where the Hertog Jan brewery can trace its history back to 1915.

Today this small brewery produces a range of speciality beers, including some of the strongest in the Netherlands, as well as a popular Pils lager beer.

And it's the Pils which is fed direct to the brewery's own bar-café via a pipeline. It emerges from the side of the brew house and crosses a road before dropping down into the bar where it's poured from a tap direct into the glass. Delicious!

You can enjoy a guided tour around the brewery - and sample the beer - for just a few Euros.

And there's plenty more to see and do around Arcen - a little known jewel in a part of the Netherlands which is only just embracing tourism.

Arcen is in the northern part of Limburg, a province which, outside of its bigger towns like Maastricht and Valkenburg in the south, is little known to British visitors - so much so that, in some places, you may find it difficult to find literature with English language translations.

Don't let this put you off though. The Dutch are friendly, helpful and have plenty of time for us Brits - and almost everybody knows some English.

So you'll have little difficulty in getting around to places like the stunning Kasteeltuinen where a 17th century castle is the centrepiece of a novel recreation park cum garden centre. Here you can wander at leisure around 60 acres of horticultural attractions including ten rose gardens with every conceivable variety on show. Other features include a children's farm and a sub-tropical nature reserve.

Amongst the area's other attractions are the Arcen Thermal Baths where brine water is pumped up from a depth of almost 900 metres into outdoor pools heated to 36 degrees Celsius even in the middle of winter.

Limburg is close to the German border and an ideal place to explore as part of the Drive Dutch, Drive Deutsch self-drive travel programme which is operated by the Dutch and German tourist organisations in conjunction with UK ferry operators.

We travelled on P&O's luxurious cruise-ferry from Hull to Rotterdam.

With evening sailings, Hull is an ideal starting point for anyone living in Scotland, the North and Midlands and there's plenty to do on board a huge and comfortable ship which has live entertainment and disco, a casino, cinema, several bars and even a Langan's Brassserie a la carte restaurant to help you while away the overnight crossing.

Disembark early the next morning and you can be on the motorway system within minutes, giving you a full day for sightseeing - plenty of time to take in the delights of Limburg which is about a three hour drive from the coast.

And while the countryside and villages around the River Meuse in the north are largely unexplored and uncommercialised, you can't visit this area without taking in the historic city of Maastricht or the "mountainous" area around Valkenburg, where you'll find the highest hill in the Netherlands and be able to explore a network of caves - by bike if you wish!

Close to Valkenberg is the only zoo to be designed and constructed in the 21st century. GaiaPark at Kerkrade is more of a conservation project than a traditional zoo with 80 species of animals living in large enclosures which provide near-natural habitats.

You can almost literally take a journey around the world here in just one day and learn about the wildlife in a fun and informative way - and it'll cost you just 15 Euro for adults and teenagers and 12 Euro for children aged from 3 to 12.

Maastricht is a magnet for tourists - and not just because it was the "birthplace" of the Euro.

Holland's oldest fortified city is a cultural melting pot sitting on the borders of Germany and Belgium and has a laid-back, romantic atmosphere with its narrow, winding streets, wide main square and pavement cafes. There's plenty here to explore including the Bonnefanten Museum with its collection of old masters and archeological remains.

It's only a kilometre from here to Germany but a three hour drive down the autobahn will bring you to another historic gem - the ancient university town of Heidelberg.

This place is steeped in history and much of the old town has survived - not least the imposing 14th Century castle which dominates the town.

Walk round by yourself to get a flavour of the place, but if you want the full low-down on the role Heidelberg and its castle played in laying the foundations of the modern Germany, it's best to take a guided tour.

It's a story of romance, intrigue and violence; of liaisons, jealousies and wars which ultimately left most of this imposing building in ruins. Some areas have been restored including the cellars where you can stand on top of the world's biggest wine barrel.

The views from the castle, down over the old town and the River Neckar, are commanding and simply stunning, especially at sunset.

Little wonder that successive Prince Electors lorded it over the area from here for 500 years, amongst them Frederick V who brought his English bride, Princess Elizabeth Stuart, to the Castle and built gardens and a gate - still standing - for her as a token of his love.

It was one of the early Prince Electors - Ruprecht the first - who founded Heidelberg University in 1386.

It's Germany's oldest seat of scholarship and still plays a pivotal role in city life - particularly at night when the narrow cobbled streets around University Square come to life as students mingle with tourists in the old town's traditional eating houses and bars.

A visit to one or two is a pleasant way to wind down after a day taking in Heidelberg's history.

In fact you can even combine the two. Book a table at the Guldenen Schaf Hotel and Restaurant on Hauptstrasse where owner Dr Kischka has built a mini-museum which encapsulates the city's rich past in one room.

And in Heidelberg you can even go one better than taking a beer in a bar with a pipeline from the brewery.

The Hotel Kulturbrauerei on Leyergasse has 21 rooms, a restaurant - and its own micro-brewery on the premises with freshly brewed pils pumped directly from the cellar to the restaurant.

Now that's what I call the complete package. Prost!

P&O Ferries: Car and two passengers plus standard cabin, Hull-Rotterdam, from £200 return; food extra - dinner from £14.20 per person. Details and bookings - www.poferries.com

Useful web sites:

Motoring breaks in Holland and Germany - www.seemoredriving.com

North Limburg - www.tourism-limburg.info

South Limburg - www.touristinformationlimburg.com

Maastricht - www.vvvmaastricht.nl

Heidelberg - www.cvb-heidelberg.de

http://icteesside.icnetwork.co.uk/travel/news/tm_objectid=16672498&method=full&siteid=109975&headline=only-here-for-the-beer-name_page.html
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
It's every beer drinker's dream ... a pub with a direct pipeline from the brewery; a bar where the lager's so fresh you half expect it to sneak out of the glass and pinch the barmaid's backside.


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