Het Uiltje, or ‘The Owl’ in English, is a one man brewery based over in The Netherlands in a city called Haarlem. Run by Robbert Uyleman, who handles everything from brewing the beer to all the creative bits and bobs, the brewery aims to produce “f*cking good beer!”
Hop head Robbert brews a variety of different beers but is becoming famous for his UPA (Uil Pale Ale or Owl Pale Ale) and for the wise old owls that adorn each and every bottle. After purchasing a couple bottles in Amsterdam’s De Bierkoning, I was pleased to talk to Robbert recently about his brewery.
How did you get into brewing?
I worked in a brewpub behind the bar for one day a week and started home brewing. With some friends we made a few batches and everything started. All the other guys stopped and were not so keen on brewing more than that. But I was addicted and so I started contract brewing!
What were you doing before you started Het Uiltje?
I worked as an account manager in an audiovisual company. Camera’s, lights, and audio equipment that was my job. I studied in that too.
Did you have any prior brewing experience before this?
I did both home brewing (still doing that sometimes) and freelance brewing in another brewery. When someone was sick or couldn’t make it, I would be the substitute brewer.
What is your favourite style of beer?
Definitely double IPA; some sweetness, full bodied and a lot of hops. Then again, you could wake me up for an imperial stout aged on a whisky barrel or a Belgian lambic.
What is your favourite beer?
I don’t really have a particular beer that I like best. Like I said, a double stout and IPA are my favourites. They have to be good though, I hate it when someone says double IPA on their label but there is not the slightest bit of hop to taste.
When you aren’t brewing beer what are you doing?
Busy with beer. I’m busy with it 24/7. Creating new beer, labels and creating new ideas. I am very creative and I do most of the things by myself. There’s always something to follow up or start on. So my work and my hobby is beer.
If you weren’t a brewer, what would you be?
Probably the same thing, something in the audiovisual branch. Or in a restaurant/bar I guess. I have always been busy with alcohol in general. I have a fascination for whiskeys and other spirits, so in that area there could also be something.
What’s the best thing about being being a brewer?
I get to be creative; in brewing and making recipes to exchanging ideas and beers with others. I love to get up in the morning and figure out something new. When it is all realized, brewed and bottled that is awesome. Something you thought of under the shower is available in shops, it’s a proud feeling again and again.
What’s the worst?
Nothing is really bad. I could get some more sleep here and there but that’s my own fault. As a contract brewer I always have to rely on others. That is shit sometimes, but hell it’s going good so I can not really complain!