If you’re feeling a little parched on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday afternoon, then take a tram to the Plantage for a microbrewery tour, a few beers and some snacks in the shadow of one of the city’s few remaining windmills.
As the afternoon wears on, the voices of Dutch speakers gradually get drowned out by the din of tourists and foreign beer enthusiasts who have come to this iconic building next to the historic De Gooyer windmill to take advantage of the brew tour that’s held here in English every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 15:30 (16:00 in Dutch). Tickets, which are actually plastic tokens good for a tour and a beer, cost €4.50, but bear in mind that it’s best to get here early to sample at least one brew before you learn about how the amber nectar is made. The seating in the tasting room is limited, which is why there are another dozen or so picnic tables outside. What could be more Amsterdam than sipping a locally produced beer with a sausage and cheese plate next to a giant windmill only a short tram ride from touristy Leidseplein?
Inside, hundreds of beer bottles from around the globe collect dust on dozens of shelves above the tasting room’s white tiled walls. Usually at least six of the beers that are produced on the premises are available for consumption and at a much lower price than you would pay for the same beverage at a typical Amsterdam café.
At 15:30 the tour is announced and people begin to gather at the far end of the bar by the green door, which still lists opening times for the former bathhouse that once occupied the premises. In fact, the tiled building that offers plenty of water pressure and lots of drainage was a natural choice for a brewery. A long queue of excited, slightly inebriated happy and hoppy people file in to learn about the brewing process. Your tour guide, who is also an employee of the brewery, will explain the significance of the ingredients (water, hops, barley and yeast) and the science of creating this incredible drink next to the mash tank. He or she will show you the rest of the brewing process as well as the bottling area and in about 45 minutes you’ll be returned to the tasting room where you can sample more brews or have a snack. Although it’s not really advertised, the brewery also sells t-shirts (€20) and other souvenirs. Just ask one of the staff about it. For more information visit www.brouwerijhetij.nl.
Brouwerij ‘t IJ
Funenkade 7, tel. (+31) 206 22 83 25, www.brouwerijhetij.nl. Open 14:00 - 20:00. Take tram No.10 toward Azartplein from Leidseplein, get off at the Hoogte Kadijk stop and turn right.