23 Jun Urban Breweries in Amsterdam – Where to go?
If you ask for a beer in an Amsterdam pub, you will receive the yellow transparent yellow liquid known as lager, but most pubs to have an extensive beer menu with all kinds of varieties like triple, double, blond, pale ale, IPA and so on. These so-called specialty beers are usually twice as expensive. If something is twice as expensive, you can only afford half of the beers you’re used to. So why would you even think about it? Well, this blog argues that you should go on a strict diet of specialty beers and offers some helpful tips to finding the best beers brewed in Amsterdam.
The IJ Brewery
It’s Friday and you have just finished the last exams of the period. With your friends you’re chatting about the exam questions. One of your friends proposes to drink a beer somewhere to celebrate/forget the exam. You immediately understand that this is the perfect situation for the specialty beer experiment. Therefore you suggest to visit The IJ Brewery (Brouwerij T’IJ). Within ten minutes you and your friends arrive at the proeflokaal (translated: tasting room or brewpub) in Amsterdam East. Even your most diehard-veggie-friends can join, the brewery is certified organic! You open the entrance door of the proeflokaal were you observe a vast crowd of people. It seems like the entire population of Amsterdam East plus some lost tourists had the same plan. The second thing you notice is that the beer menu doesn’t offer anything but cryptic names like Natte (The wet one), Zatte (The wasted one) or Struis (Ostrich). Behind the name of the beer the percentage of alcohol written on the chalk board: 7%, 8%, even 10%. Whatever, this is going to be a long night!
- Taste: Within the panel the opinion are divided. Zatte seems the winner of the day. The more you drink, the less you care. Even IPA’s were tolerated after a couple of beers. Which is usually not the case. But it was certainly good.
- Price: Very reasonable, for €3 you receive a glass of well-tasting beer.
- Location: Ideal for Science Park veterans, 10 minutes by bike.
- Crowd: A great variety, not many students. Is often crowded.
- General advice: Do this every Friday.
It’s Friday again! After spending ten Fridays in a row in The IJ Brewery, you might be tired of the proeflokaal. At the same time, your love for ordinary lager beer has been irreversibly damaged. The next candidate is Oedipus Brewing. This brewery is working on a brewpub as we speak, so we have to cycle to a regular pub. You enter a random pub and right-away order the whole collection of Oedipus brews. The barman hands you a collection of colourful bottles with names like Gaia, Mama, Mannenliefde (Man love) and Thai Thai. Do these names make sense or were they invented after the brewers drank too much of their own brew? Well, let’s go. You fill your glass with Thai Thai and swallow the first mouthful of this brew. Your brain and taste buds disconnect, what on earth is this? Time to read the label. Ingredients: Water, barley, hop, yeast (sounds familiar), Galenga root, orange peel, coriander seeds, lemongrass and chili pepper. What’s on the Mannenliefde label? Lemongrass and Szechuan Peppercorns?? Tacitly you drink on. After a while your brain and taste buds reconnect and you decide that this is actually a very awesome experience. The taste is so unique, unlike any other beer you ever tasted. Which is not so strange, you only just discovered the world of specialty beers. As the afternoon turns into evening, the beers accumulate in your stomach in a slow pace.
- Taste: Be open-minded and curious. I can’t help you with this one.
- Price: Around €4 in most pubs. Twice as expensive, but only a barbarian beer drinker can drink this art in the same pace as lager.
- Location: Spread around the city. There were some rumors about a brewpub in Amsterdam North, but I haven’t heard any news on this plan since last spring. Keep your eyes open!
- Crowd: Depends on the pub.
- General advice: Become an adventurous beer drinker and forget about lager. Start a philosophical discussion about something. Write the best programming code ever. Invite you favourite lecturer.
Brewery De Prael
Yet again it’s Friday (Hurray)! Time for another adventure. Let’s go to the city centre. With your friends you cycle into a vast crowd of people swarming around in the Red Light District where the brewpub is located. The sparsely dressed women wink you, but there is no time to waste. The addiction to specialty beer is now a serious issue. The brewpub is dressed up in a traditional Dutch fashion which attracts many tourists. It’s crowded with dogs, children and parents. But since we’re here for the beer, we order them right-away. The beers have names like Johnny, Willeke, Mary and Heintje (all names of Dutch folklore music artists). We start the night in this crowded but somehow very cosy atmosphere. Since the Red Light District is nearby, the night lasts until the first sun beams hit your face again.
- Taste of the beer: Good in general, similar to The IJ Brewery. The legendary Zatte remains unbeaten however.
- Price: Around €4. Reasonable regarding the location of the brewpub.
- Location: Has advantages like the Red Light District nearby (could be a disadvantage as well). But there is a certain risk of tourist saturation.
- Crowd: Diverse, children and dogs.
- General advice: Maybe not the best place for a Friday afternoon social drink (The traditional Dutch VrijMiBo). Would be better on a Monday morning 😉
Share your experience in the comment section! There are more brewpubs in Amsterdam, have you ever visited one?