Since the blog is entitled dubbel (as in the style of beer) on the singel (aka- canal), I figured it's time to dedicate a post to beer. We have ventured to a few awesome places in Amsterdam to sample Dutch beer...so here are recommendations:
1) Brouwerij 't IJ - this is an excellent, small brewery located not too far away from Centraal Station (~3.0 km) but tucked far enough away from most tourist sites that getting there feels like a little bit of a trek. One can also get there by taking Bus 22 from Centraal Station - you will know you're there because it's set beside a huge, centuries old windmill. Anyway, in the summer they have a large outdoor space for people to enjoy their beers at picnic tables under the windmill. The beer that they brew is not easily found, even around Amsterdam. It is super delicious so worth seeking out. Our favorite was the Columbus, an amber ale clocking in at 9% ABV. Perfect balance of hops and amazingly refreshing. Since it's been a few weeks since we had it, I asked David if he remembered anything more about it and his answer is, "It was reeeeaaaally tasty." Helpful, eh? So there you have it! They also have a very helpful bar staff: I was able to try a sample of a beer before committing to it, which I always appreciate! A few pictures below at the brewery:
2) 't Arendsnest - this place is located at Herengracht 90, an easy walk from Centraal Station, and features about 30 Dutch beers on tap (and this, thankfully, does not include the more ubiquitous [and way less tasty!] Dutch beers: Heineken, Amstel, Jupiler, etc). The guys behind the bar are more than willing to talk beer with you and really take the time to describe a beer. I was also appreciative of the fact that when one woman walked in asking for a shandy (half Sprite, half beer), he refused to mix it for her - he said he could give her the two drinks and she could do what she wants with it but that he couldn't mix Sprite into a good beer. I know that his attitude may seem (or be!) rude, but I definitely agree with him! It was also at this bar that we learned how convivial the Dutch people can be. The two men next to us at the bar were offering us sips of their beers so as to help in our decision-making process within a few minutes of us sitting down (we both politely refused...random peoples' saliva=no thanks!). We practiced our Dutch with them and they, in turn, tried not laugh excessively at our attempts!! Below, a picture of the DELICIOUS La Trappe Quadrupel (oak barrel aged). I think La Trappe is the only Trappist brewery in the Netherlands. Also, pictures in food/drink establishments will generally be blurry and of poor quality because I am admittedly too embarrassed to whip out a real camera and while I do quick iPhone shots when no one is looking/LOVE looking at food pics, I don't like photography to interfere with simply enjoying the food:
3) In De Wildeman - SUPER close to Centraal Station, a better place for groups than 't Arendsnest. They have an interesting mix of Dutch and international beers - while we had definitely never had any of the beers at 't Arendsnest, there were more that we had sampled before at In De Wildeman. This was our last stop of the night so what I can remember is that I had a cask-aged something or another that went perfectly with the more memorable fresh pumpernickel and oude kaas (old cheese). The rye in the pumpernickel was very coarsely ground and more wet (I am thinking there was no flour in it, unlike American pumpernickel), which made the raisin/barny flavors of rye way more prominent - perfect with funky cheese and beer!
4) The Cracked Kettle - if one lives in Amsterdam, one must definitely frequent this store for ALL of your beer needs. Incredible selection of pretty hard to find beers.