Tuesday, October 16, 2012

B.O.R. Abroad (Nederlands): Brouwerij't IJ

Should you find yourself in Amsterdam, congratulate yourself with kaas, bier, and many pats on your back. Indeed, that's what the Bottle Opener Review does when on holiday. While the Netherlands may not strike you as a bottle opener / beer destination (1), the international city, canal-crossed countryside, and maritime culture inspired the consumption of more than a few adult beverages.

(1) Belgium has the best beer and Germany the best beer culture, but guess what lower-than-sealevel country touches them both!

While Dutch beer might be synonymous with Heineken, we casually skipped their tour, floated down the canal, and docked ourselves at the Brouwerij't IJ, shadowed by the De Gooier windmill in Amsterdam. This brewery holds all the appeal of a micro establishment with its rotating small-batch taps, clean design, surly bartenders, and oh-so scrumptious cheese / beer combinations. Not only could you sample their beer on tap, you could buy any combination of their suds in bottle form - the form we like best!

They of course offer tours: in Dutch at 2PM, English at 3PM, and never in French, as a sign on the wall proudly proclaimed. But we didn't need a tour as much as we needed 12 beer samples and 1 bowl of stinky cheese.

Our flight, from lightest to darkest, included the Plzen blond, IJ Bok, Natte double, Struis organic, and Columbus double IPA. These beers proved to be a hit for our crew's varying tastes and having two flights meant we could trade beers like fisherman trade tall tales(2). And, the alcohol content of these brews rose steeply into the 8-9% range after the first draft (3). Not surprisingly, the memories of the rest of the afternoon remain cloudy.

(2) Which is freely. 
(3) Making "beer for lunch" the best idea we've had while in the Netherlands! Our plea for startchy salvation at the brewpub went unanswered and we careened home like a landed crew on leave.

2 flights of beer and stinky muenster with celery salt.

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