The Drinking Person’s Guide to Amsterdam

September 18, 2014

Amsterdam’s reputation as a party city is legendary, but away from all of the (red) lights and sounds of the Dutch capital’s liveliest clubs lie some absolutely fantastic bars for those of us who take our beer a little more seriously.

If you are a British tourist visiting Holland, then chances are that you will already be familiar with Grolsch, Heineken and Amstel – arguably the country’s most popular exported beers. So why settle for something you can get at home, when even the most particular beer drinker can find something they will love? After all, if any city in the world is about trying new things, that city is surely Amsterdam…

Cafe Belgique

Tucked away in a side street just off Dam Square, Cafe Belgique is a small-but-perfectly-formed bar hidden in plain sight amongst some of Amsterdam’s most famous tourist destinations. As you can probably guess from the name, Belgian beers are the order of the day here, with a huge selection of draught and bottled beers to choose from as you admire the spray-painted murals of anglo-dutch street artists The London Police, which adorn the walls of this cosy establishment.

Brouwerji’t IJ

Located in the east of Amsterdam’s city centre, Brouwerji’t IJ is difficult to miss as it adjoins the De Gooyer Mill, which just happens to be the tallest wooden windmill in the Netherlands. Tours of the brewery are very reasonably priced at €4.50, and even include free samples! The bar attached to the brewery is open every day from 2pm-8pm and features a comfortable outdoor seating area where you can enjoy cheese, salami, peanuts, and other snacks while sampling some of the finest craft beers available in the city.

Beer Temple

A slice of Amsterdam craft beer culture slap-bang in the middle of Amsterdam, the Beer Temple’s selection of transatlantic ales and lagers would be envied almost anywhere in the world, with over 30 varieties on tap and around 100 bottles to choose from. Should you find yourself spoilt for choice then the bar has its own house beer, simply called Tempelbier, which is a European-style pale ale made on the local De Snaterende Arend brewery. Upturned beer kegs also double up as seating in this quirky and friendly bar, popular with locals and tourists alike.

Cafe Gollem

Cafe Gollem (pronounced “hollem” for those not in the know) was the first bar in Amsterdam to sell beers from Belgium, Germany and other European countries, something which has become standard practice now. The first Cafe Gollem was so successful that two more opened, selling over 150 bottled beers from all over the world, many of which are not available anywhere else.

Proeflokaal Arendsnest

If you are looking for a truly authentic taste of the Netherlands, then you can do no better than this wonderful brown cafe based on the beautiful Herengacht Canal. While most of the bars in this list have specialised in world beer offerings, Proeflokaal Arendsnest stocks over 100 bottled beers, 30 draught beers and more than 40 gins as well as ciders and whiskeys all brewed in one of the Netherlands’ 107 breweries. However, with that sort of range on offer, you may have to move here to try them all…

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