Sunday, 20 July 2008

Five beers for five pubs

I'm meeting anti-American Mike in Wildeman tonight. He's keen to experience a smoke-free environment in his favourite places. I think Ooievaar tops his list.

Which got me thinking. I've done "10 Amsterdam pubs to visit this summer" and "10 Dutch beer you should try". What about a combination list? "Five Amsterdam pubs to visit this evening and 5 Dutch beers to drink in them". Or isn't that snappy enough?

Ooievaar/Brand Up
I'm never disappointed by a visit to Ooievaar. The barmen are friendly and attentive, the atmosphere intimate and the clientele varied. You could sit next to a suit on his way home from the office or a girl taking a break from a very different type of work. Or both. Despite being tiny and really a Jenever bar, it still has a decent lineup of draught beers. La Chouffe, Brugse Zot, Gouden Carolus Classic. And Brand UP, of course. Should you ask "Ron, which Dutch Pilsners are worth drinking?" my answer would be brief. Grolsch, Christoffel Blond, Amstel 1870 and Brand UP. UP is very plae in colour, dry and with a delicious hop character. It was recently returned to its classic recipe after the bitterness had been ratcheted down a few notches some years ago. I find it goes very nicely with one of the boiled eggs they sell.

For the pisshead: a Kopstoot Royale of Brand UP and Wees 5 jaar jenever.

Cafe Belgique/Vlo
Me and Café Belgique have grown apart in recent years. I blame fag smoke and Mike. I used to be a regular feature at the end of the bar. Many assumed I was part of the fittings. It's a super little pub, which is great for atmosphere, but not for the atmosphere. get 3 or 4 smokers in there during the winter and the air was blue as a caribbean sky. Now fags have been banished, I'm looking forward to getting reacquainted. Given it's name, it's no surprise the choices of Dutch beer are limited. But it does have one that is both a rarity, distinctive and very good: 't Ij Vlo. As I wrote about Vlo yesterday, I'll limit myself to just one additional detail. Vlo is Dutch for flea. "Two fleas please, barman."

Pisshead combination: Vlo and Filliers 8 jaar jenever.

Haven van Texel/Texels Skuumkoppe
Beer from Dutch micros, 't Ij excepted, are rarely spotted outside specialist beer bars. This is an exception. Haven van Texel is, for its old town location, quite spacious, with effectively two rooms. I'm impressed that the owner went to the trouble of getting beers to match the pub's name. They sell most of the Texels range, split between draught and bottled. I've chosen witbeier Skuumkoppe mostly because of its crazy name. The canalside outdoor seating area is particularly pleasant and has a great view of some of the oldest parts of the city.

Steady your hands with: Texelse Skuumkoppe and Bols Korenwijn.

De Balie/Columbus
I'm not a fan of the Leidseplein. Crap pubs filled, later in the evening, with threatening drunks. I prefer my crap pubs filled with unthreatening drunks. When in the area, the one place I can drink with pleasure is de Balie. Stylish, modern and trendy. Sounds like a description of me, doesn't it? Columbus is one of their permanent tap selections. It's a powerful, tasty beer and the occasional random touch of brettanomyces does it no harm. Not for me. Purists may disagree.

Pisshead special: Columbus and Bols Korenwijn.

De Beiaard/Manke Monnik
Last time I dropped by here with my kids, I was disconcerted when the barman immediately shouted out "Korenwijn" to his colleague. I didn't think I drank that much of it. Being close to Heiligenweg, me and the kids often pop in after they've conned me into buying lego. Manke Monnik is a Tripel brewed at Bekeerde Suster, also part of de Beiaard chain. It's a pleasant, lightish beer, with a touch of orange and some hoppiness in the finish. Though I believe they've toned down the bitterness since it first appeared. A long glazed wall provides excellent views of the passing trams and the bikes that weave suicicdally between them.

For the alcoholically challenged: Manke Monnik and Bols Korenwijn.

De Ooievaar
Sint Olofspoort 1,
1012 AJ Amsterdam.
Tel. 020-420 8004
Opening hours: Mon - Thu 15:00-01:00
Fri - Sat 15:00-03:00,
Sun 12:00-01:00.

Café Belgique
Gravenstraat 2,
1012 NM Amsterdam.
Tel. 020-625 1974
Opening hours: Mon - Thur: 12:00-01:00
Fri - Sat: 12:00-03:00
Sun: 14:00-01:00

De Haven van Texel
St. Olofssteeg 11,
1012 AK Amsterdam.
tel: 020 - 427 07 68
fax: 020 - 427 07 68

De Balie
Kleine Gartmanplantsoen 10,
Tel. 020 - 553 5131
Fax: 020 -
Email: Homepage:
Opening hours: Sun - Thur 10:00-01:00
Fri - Sat 10:00-02:00

De Beiaard
Spui 30,
1012 XA Amsterdam.
Tel. 020-622 5110
Opening hours: Mon - Thu 11:00-01:00,
Fri - Sat 11:00-02:00

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Grolsch is only worth drinking when you consider its competitors.