Beer Traveler: Amsterdam

Brouwerij 't IJ in a former bathhouse beneath Amsterdam's tallest windmill.

Brouwerij ‘t IJ in a former bathhouse beneath Amsterdam’s tallest windmill.

“Beer” and “Traveler.” Inherent in each word is a sense of adventure. Where does the beer/travel begin? Where will it take you? Will you enjoy it? Will it be relaxing or will it challenge you? Ideally, you go into each with expectations, yes, but also with an open mind. Furthermore, once they’re done, those things have somehow changed you, shown you something exciting and enjoyable, and affected the way you participate in future beers/travels the next round. Best of all, there’s always a next round/go-around. That’s what I signed up for when the company my wife works for offered to relocate us to Amsterdam. New travels and new beers. New adventures and opportunities.

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Brouwerij De Prael in the Red Light District. It lives up to it’s folk music theme.

This installment of my column (AAB vol. 35.2, 2014) is 90% guide, 10% impressions of our new if temporary home in the Netherlands’ world-famous city of Amsterdam that’s still trying to develop a world-class beer culture. If I may quote myself from this story: “To be honest, I expected that this country—one that shares borders only with Belgium and Germany—would have a robust brewing culture. There is absolutely some great beer being made here, but you have to really dig deep to find it.”

Overall, it’s a beautiful city with some watering holes that are downright gezellig. My top recs for tasting rooms, breweries, and other spots to taste the local flavor will be missed once we head back home.

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