Princesse beer by d’Oranjeboom

Oranjeboom PrincesseAnd now, I can announce something that I’m really happy about: Princesse beer is back on the market! This historical Dutch beer, for which I had found a recipe from the year 1866, will soon be available across Holland and beyond. To make it even better, this is done under the centuries old Oranjeboom brand, a brewery that produced princesse beer throughout the 19th century. How and why? Read on…

You may remember that princesse beer was one of the most popular Dutch beer types of the 19th century. It first surfaced at the Dutch East India Company, where it was an export beer for the East, and then it slowly caught on in the Netherlands itself. Just about every Dutch brewery seems to have produced it, until they switched to German-style bottom-fermenting beers. Around the year 1900 princesse beer almost disappeared off the market, as one of the last ‘Old Dutch’ beers.[1]

It required a long search to find out what it exactly was. There was a ‘pale’ princesse beer, but it could also be brown. There was a double princesse and even a ‘princesse-ale’. But a recipe? That wouldn’t surface until I found the book De praktische bierbrouwer (The practical beer brewer) from 1866, in which it was a brown beer (or lighter ‘in function of the colour desired’) with spices like liquorice root, coriander and orange peel. A home-made test brew tasted great. All very promising.[2]