Our beer of the week column has now reached number 20, so we thought a holiday was in order: a quick trip across the channel to one of our favourite cities, Amsterdam. At the top of our Amsterdam ‘to do’ list – above anything Van Gogh related, higher than the coffee shops, and even beyond a tiptoe through the tulips – is ‘visit a brewery’. And we don’t mean the brand brainwashing tour of the Heineken Experience, we mean one of the many exciting craft breweries springing up all over the city.
We’ll run you through some of our favourites in another blog, but this post features a beer from a brewery offering one of the best days out any holiday can find – Brouwerij ‘Tij. It’s in the east of the city, behind the zoo, and is adjacent to De Gooyer Mill, the tallest wooden windmill in the Netherlands, giving you the perfect excuse to drag the family along for an authentic view of Dutch windmill heritage. While there you can take an informal tour of the brewery, munch on some traditional Dutch snacks (we can recommend the cheese. And the worsts. And the eggs) and, of course drink some fine beers at the bar or under the windmill’s sails in the beer garden.
Brouwerij ‘Tij was one of the first Amsterdam breweries to successfully break the dominance that big breweries held across the city, starting back in 1985, and steadily growing from strength to strength. Among others, their range includes a mean plzen, only available at the brewery bar; superb IPAs, wheat beer (ijwit) and barley wine (struis); and their first two beers – a Belgian style triple called ‘zatte’ and the star of this blog, ‘natte’.
This dark, nutty brew is a ‘dubbel’, with smooth, toasty malt flavours, a hint of bitterness and just a touch of sourness to balance it off. It’s a proper, grown up beer, brewed along traditional Belgian lines with 20 years of heritage already stacked behind it. A perfect accompaniment to those worsts.
You may struggle to track down a bottle in the UK, but if you ever fancy a trip to Amsterdam make sure drinking one is right at the top of your ‘to do’ list.
Brewery: Brouwerij ‘Tij, Amsterdam
Beer name: Natte