Ronald van de Streek, Founder/Brewer/Commercial Director at vandeStreek bier talks to SLTN
Q: Where do you work?
A: I work in Utrecht, in the Netherlands, in a fully custom-built brewery which I designed with my brother, Sander (pictured left below).
Q: Which brand do you produce?
Q: How long have you worked there?
A: We started homebrewing back in 2010 without any intention of brewing commercially. Over the course of three years, we taught ourselves how to brew, while continuously improving our knowledge and brewing techniques. In 2013, we started brewing our beers commercially in other facilities. Finally, after four years of contract brewing, we were able to open our own brewery.
Q: What’s a typical working day like?
A: On Monday I am at home with my kids. However, I do try to pick up the phone and take a trip with them to the brewery – they love it there too! Tuesday through to Friday is very unpredictable, but normally spent in my office, hanging around the brewery and speaking to the teams. I try to avoid emails as much as I can, but I often fail at this. Almost every week there is a ‘DIY day’ because we always have projects that need to be done; for example, we just built our own taproom.
Q: Describe the production process.
A: We are most famous for Playground – our non-alcoholic IPA. This is a unique beer because it offers the full IPA experience – bitterness and full hop aroma – while still being under 0.5% ABV. In all our beers we use a lot of American hops, some of the best malts and selected yeasts. We are able to brew our non-alcoholic beers through working with very specific yeast strains that aren’t too adjusted to the sugars the malt produces.
Q: Please provide brief tasting notes for your product.
A: Playground Non-Alcoholic IPA is simply a very good American IPA. Even alongside some great full-ABV examples, the beer stands out. At first you smell the hops we’ve added during fermentation. It has a full body and delivers a nice bitter kick.
Q: What would you say sets your products apart from others?
A: We love to play. Playground Non-Alcoholic IPA is just one result of our playfulness. We want to encourage people to play more.
Q: What one fact should bartenders know about your brand?
A: Playground Non-Alcoholic IPA has been awarded European Revelation in the annual international beer competition, Brussels Beer Challenge. This means it was rated the overall best beer in the competition, which is an amazing honour!
Q: What’s your favourite part of the job?
A: Doing what I love every day with the greatest team in an amazing industry.
Q: What’s your favourite way to drink your product?
I love pub culture just as much as popping open a beer on the couch while watching Netflix. If I had to choose, I’d go to the pub with friends and family.
Q: What’s your career highlight so far?
A: Quitting my day job.
Q: Who do you admire in the industry and why?
A: I love how we, as an industry, are always looking to innovate further. Almost nobody sits still and many new products are launched – and this forces us all to remain sharp.
Q: How do you relax outside of work?
A: What’s relax?
Q: If you could invite anyone for a drink who would you ask, where would you go and what would you drink?
A: I would love to drink a Playground with Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone.