Monday, September 10, 2012

Amsterdam's Brouwerij ’t IJ




For my second day in Europe, I wasn’t worried about going to another brewery. Especially since I only had one day in Amsterdam, and I wasn’t going to make it just about beer. So again, my friend Mike, his wife Willemijn, and I headed that way.

The trip took about 45 minutes, so we got to the city around 11 AM and just walked around the town. This isn’t a blog about cities I’ve been to, so I won’t say too much about it, but I loved Amsterdam. Absolutely loved it. It’s just an awesome town. We did walk through the Red Light District, and since it was noon on a Friday, it wasn’t crazy or even as “dirty” as I’ve been told it was. It was basically some alleys off of the main streets that did have women in the window, but it was pretty tame in my opinion. I am sure it gets crazy at night, which would be interesting to see, but I didn’t really need to see whores and I don’t do drugs, so the walk-through was fine.

After that, we walked over to the train station just to check it out, as it is beautiful building. We grabbed some lunch, and then decided to take a canal tour. I know that that is a pretty touristy thing to do, especially for Mike and Willemijn who live in the Netherlands, but they were up for it. And it was tremendous. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would, and I would definitely recommend anyone to do that if they ever go there.
When we got done with the tour, they asked what I wanted to do. I said that my friend Travis suggested a brewpub to me that we could check out if they wanted, but that I was down for anything. I wanted to at least see the Anne Frank house, but I didn’t need to take the tour if it was busy. They both said that since their kids were at Willemijn’s parents’ house, that a beer or two would be nice. So we decided to head over to Brouwerij ’t IJ for a little while.

     Making dorky faces when getting ready to drink IJ's beers

I am glad we did. Mike and I each got samplers (he shared his with Willemijn), and even got a couple of cheese plates. Every beer was fantastic, even the styles that I normally don’t enjoy like their Plzen (pilsner) and Ijwit (their wheat beer). Of all of the beers they had, I probably enjoyed their Struis (which was only available in bottles) the most. It was a Belgian Strong Ale, and very tasty. Their Columbus (Belgian Pale Ale) was solid too, and paired well with the cheeses we had.

                                  IJ's Beer List

The vibe of the place was incredible as well. We got their early on when they opened, so we were able to grab a spot at a picnic table, and as we sat there, the place started to really fill up. They offered tours on Friday afternoons at 4 PM, but we decided that we were fine just having our beers at the table, so we passed on that. We ordered a couple of more beers, since it seemed like Mike and Willemijn really liked it, and it was definitely a place I could hang out at all day. It was one of my favorite brewpubs I have ever been to, and was just a great time all around. I definitely want to go back if I make it to Amsterdam.

After that, we went over by the Anne Frank house but didn’t take a tour as the line was way too long. We took some pictures and then went down the street to have a nice dinner. When we finished dinner, we found a postcard at a store and I wrote a drunkenly handwritten postcard to my family that my wife has made fun of me about a half dozen times since I’ve been back home. It was getting late, so we decided to head back to their house. When we got there, we drank a couple more of the Dutch beers we bought, along with one of Mike’s Cantillons. We had to leave their house for the airport at 4 AM the next morning, so even though I don’t think any of us wanted to call it a night. We did. And just to be clear(as if I wasn’t already), it was one of the best days of my life. Great time!

     Notice the closed eyes and bloated stomach of a happy Dan

Cheers!

Dan