Saturday, 22 October 2016

Two Good Brewpubs

I'm not quite finished with Amsterdam. I'd always wanted to go to Brouwerij 't IJ after an abortive attempt to do so many years ago, thus it was that on a warm sunny day, E and I hopped on a tram from Dam - we did - honest -and headed out there to meet that rarest of beasts, a Stockport person that knows everything there is to know about Dutch beer - or so he tells me.  Yes, it was the one and only John Clarke, en route to yet another Dutch Beer Festival.  He was already getting stuck in when we joined him on the outside terrace and enjoyed nipping inside from time to time to refill the generously sized glasses of relatively cheap (for Amsterdam) beer. It really was rather pleasant and the place was comfortable busy, in and out, with non real sign of the supposed gruff service that some commentators remark on.  I do wonder why so many foreign brewers make somewhat inferior versions of IPAs, Double IPAs. etc, but hey, that's what sells folks.  All the beers were pretty tasty actually and jolly good value.  It was a pleasant afternoon and it's always gratifying to go to a place you've always wanted to visit and find out you like it.

Now I haven't always wanted to go to De Prael, but had looked in the door of the bottle shop while heading for the Hidden Catholic Church, more or less next door. I mentioned this to Mineer Clarke who soon set me right. The pub was just a few streets down from the shop, hidden in a somewhat austere alley near a canal. Now everything is near a canal in Amsterdam, so I know that doesn't help, so just look it up.  This is a brewery with not only a mission to brew good beer, but to help those with psychiatric problems and it is worth a read here to see what this is all about. Suffice to say it is a great place to visit in its own right and its social conscience does it credit as a bonus.  We enjoyed several beers here from a somewhat baffling menu which seemed to have as much missing from it as included, but it had some lovely beers, again at decent prices. The venue is fantastic really, with the bonus of really interesting customers to gawp at and the staff here seemed no more  confused or confusing than any Dutch bar. The Dutch are a rather nonplussing lot in my experience and always seem to keep a bit of information back from those that aren't their compatriots, which is rather charming I find.  I like to be mildly disoriented when in a foreign bar. Adds to the overall experience I find.

Well that's it for Amsterdam.  Jolly good place, but take plenty of dosh. It isn't cheap.

I love the little bar snacks in Dutch boozers. A few cubes of cheese, the odd sausage. Perfect. 

If you didn't get the message in previous posts, avoid Heineken and its pubs. Rotten beer and high prices.


RedNev said...

A friend of mine went on a brewery tour of the Heineken brewery in Holland. When the tour guide asserted that their beer was brewed to the same high standard all over the world, my friend disagreed.
"Where are you from?" he was asked. When he answered England, the tour guide simply said, "Ah ... yes."

DaveS said...

To be fair, when you live two hours drive from Westmalle and fourteen hours flight from San Diego, US-style IPAs are probably going to be the easier market to break into...

Paul Bailey said...

I didn’t have time to visit Brouwerij 't IJ on my recent trip to Amsterdam, but I was really impressed with De Prael. You are right about it taking a bit of finding, but it was well worth it.

Excellent beer coupled with friendly and knowledgeable service; oh and my cheese and tomato combination sandwich was just what I needed before heading off to the airport.

Erlangernick said...

Missed this post somehow. Only been to t' Ij once or twice, in winter, so was unaware of the terrasse. Will have to go back for that someday.