The term "cozy" comes to mind when describing the Biercafe Labiert in Den Haag, capital of The Netherlands. Two six-tap U-shaped chrome taps pour the beers into impressive beer glasses. A single dartboard masks access to the keg room while Dutch beer paintings cover the visible real estate of surrounding walls. Wooden tables and chairs populate the dark and narrow crooks and crannies of the interior.
The 't Stampertje Tripel from Maasland Brouerij sports a label that would never attain approval from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. American sensitivities must be protected. This medium-bodied brew is a hazy amber with a malty flavor that accompanies the traditional Belgian yeasty characteristics. The tartness end gracefully in the dry finish. The La Trappe Enkel is a hazy dark amber with a malty, slightly sour flavor in a medium-bodied brew. the Gulden Vlies is a hazy pink color, estery, with a light fruitiness that tops the malt flavor. Medium-bodied, it ends with a tart finish. The D'n Schele Os (cross-eyed), also from Maasland Brouwerij, is a hazy gold with a thick head where the even balance matches a nice malt character with a traditional, dry Belgian yeasty character. The bottle-conditioned Brand Sylvester, at 8%, is a clear dark ruby color with estery aromas combined with a great clean malty-fruity flavor in a medium-bodied brew.
Venturing beyond the curtain at the front door you'll find dice games at the bar and Rock & Roll tunes in English and Dutch. The beers come served in an incredible glassware collection. Wheelchair access is out of the question. The 12-page beer menu (bierboek) of Biercafe Labiernt sports 100 bottled brands and should keep anyone with inquisitive tastebuds busy for hours. Beers are listed by country with their brewery, bottle size, alcohol content, price, and description in Dutch and English. Countries represented include Nederland, België, Duitsland, Tcjechië, Denemarken, U.S.A., Mexico, Engeland, Australië, and Frankijk. The Grolsch and Dommelsch alcohol-free products are also on hand. Seven specially crafted "beer menus" are designed to allow two persons to sample unfamiliar beers. Served in the authentic glassware, the beers of each menu should take about two hours to complete. Time to begin the journey through the LaBEERints.
Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - March