Amsterdam isn't all about sex, drugs and canals. The Dutch know a thing or two about beer as well. We recently had the opportunity to spend the weekend there; while Kavey focused on what the city had to offer in the way of food, I had more alcoholic matters in mind.
First stop was most certainly not the "Heineken Experience". I'm sure it's all very nice, but it's not my cup of tea. Happily, ten minutes down the road by tram is another, more traditional brewery that even has it's own windmill – Brouwerij't IJ.
They have a brewery tour and attached bar, where among other things they offer this wonderful tasting 'rack'; the star of this particularly collection being the second from the back – Ijwit, their 7% wheat beer. It's sweet, light, with so much citrus it's like drinking a lemonade with body.
Of course, as well as breweries Amsterdam has a good collection of bars. Many of these are serving big, mainstream European beers – from the Belgian representation, you'd think the Dutch didn't make any beer at all.
Venture off the main street, however, and you can find gems like 't Arendsnest, a bar which sells exclusively Dutch beers. How many Dutch beers can there be?
Well, enough for 30 taps and over a hundred bottles, for a start. We ended up spending a couple of evenings there in the company of their excellent beerologists, and barely scratched the surface.
From what I can make out from my increasingly scrawling notes, I must have tried a dozen different beers there – from De Molen's Mout & Mocha (sticky black treacle and espresso), to Snab's Roock (rich, sweet, like smoked cheese), to Emelisse's Tripel IPA (floral, rich fruits, big hops – 'simultaneously sticky sweet and dry').
If I had a bar like this around the corner from me, I'd never leave it.
Eurostar UK provided Pete Drinks with return train tickets to Amsterdam and the first night’s hotel reservation. Kavey Eats provided directions to 't Arendsnest!
This post was originally published 13th May, 2012. It was last updated 1st June, 2023.