When It’s Ok to Drink Beer in Church

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Throughout our travels around the world, we have visited our fair share of breweries, all unique in their own way. What makes Jopenkerk in Haarlem (Netherlands) so distinctive is its setting in a beautifully restored church. (Jopen = the name of the beer brand; Kerk = church in Dutch)

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 Beer enthusiast or not, it’d be hard for anyone to argue that this isn’t one of the most stunning breweries, with its gorgeous and colorful interior, earning Jopenkerk the honorable title of “Best Looking Bar in the Netherlands” in 2013.

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The open design of this brewery allows visitors to feel a part of the brewing process as the massive copper hop boilers are positioned right behind the bar.

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The Jopenkerk restaurant ‘floats’ above the brewing activities below, offering a wide range of delicious entrees incorporating the flavors of the famous Jopen beers. Guests are encouraged to pair their entrees with Jopen beer for an even more enhanced dining experience! The restaurant is open for dinner starting at 5:30 pm (17:30) 5 days a week (closed on Sunday and Monday).

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The cafe/bar is open 7 days a week from 10 am to 1 am (10:00-23:00), including Sunday and Monday when the restaurant is closed.

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Lunch is served in the grand cafe from 12 pm to 3 pm (12:00-15:00)…

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… and of course, their delicious beer is served during all opening hours!

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Jopen’s history goes back to 1407, when the recipe for Jopen Adriaan was first registered by the Haarlem Guild of Brewers. The beer is named Jopen after the 112-liter wooden barrels in which the beer was shipped in the past. The Jopen brand was officially established over 20 years ago (1994).

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In short, the Haarlem Beer Society (est. 1992) found an old council recipe from the 16th century which was then recreated to produce the first Jopen brew- Hoppen. To read the entire history of beer brewing in Haarlem, click here. So, what started as a one beer operation in 1994 has now expanded to offer beer lovers a wide selection of brews, including their famous bock beer, pleasing even the pickiest of pallets (mine!).

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An added bonus if you visit Jopenkerk during the summer months: On Sunday afternoons/evenings from late May through about mid-July, locals and visitors alike can enjoy Kanen bij de Kerk (“eating at the church”).

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 Long tables are set up between a collection of food trucks in the Boerenplein (farmer square) next to Jopenkerk, providing friends and family the opportunity to enjoy great food in the beautiful sunshine!

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As if Jopenkerk isn’t reason enough to make Haarlem a stop on your next visit to the Netherlands, check out our post on why we think North Holland’s capital city is a nice alternative to some of the larger surrounding cities!

Want more ideas for things to do and see in the beautiful town of Haarlem? Take a look at our (printable) Destination Guide.

Check out a quick video of this great town below!

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