While I left Amsterdam just less than a week ago, it’s been so hard to get time to write about all the wonderful beers I’ve been having (yes, there’s been quite a few). Being a happy IPA Day, I figured I’d pump out my last few from Amsterdam before I head to Oliver Twist for a difficult choice of epic IPA’s.

Jopen Damiate DRIPA #1 and Last Drinks at Arendsnest

It was great to have such an impressive range of Dutch beers to choose from at Arendsnest, despite the looming realisation that I’d never actually get to try them all. Last bottle up was the Limited Edition Jopen Damiate, a Double Rye IPA. This 8.5% beauty poured a deep ambery gold, topped with a thin white head. The aroma was full of grassy hops and a sweetish malt background.

The flavour was pleasantly full, with grassy hops and quite a raw feel behind it. There was an almost chocolatey maltiness too. Not a roasty dark chocolate, but something like a smooth milk chocolate. Anyway, it was a nice touch!

This is a really solid beer, which I’d easily have again and one that I recommend to anyone with any slight interest in beer.

Snab Pale Ale

Next up were the tasters. First off I tried the coppery golden Snab Pale Ale, which had a slight malt and rich citrusy hop aroma. To taste, the hoppy citrus dominated, with the malty caramel notes mixed in there somewhere to give a really great Dutch Pale Ale that I’d highly recommend.

De Molen Gelovige Thomas ‘Back to School’

The last, last, last beer from Arendsnest, is the ‘Back to School’ and this is a GOOD one! Brewed FOR Arendsnest, this 12% barley wine will take you for a ride like no other. Pouring a deep amber brown, this badboy throws out a sweet estery aroma linked in with a slight hoppy citrus and rich dark fruity notes.

Then we get to the epic flavour. It’s best to think of this as a smooth, hoppy, thick liqueur. It’s got such a warm and full malt backbone that acts as a sweet platform for the slight hop bitterness that carries it across the finish line.

What an absolute delight to try. They only serve this in small glasses, and it’s no surprise when you actually get to taste it. Even just the tasting glass was enough for me. Neverless, I recommend each and every one of you to give this a go (which will mean you have to come to Amsterdam, but how’s that a bad thing?).

Goodbye Amsterdam. See you in seven weeks with YM and JG.

RS


Bierbrouwerij Emelisse TIPA

Another one enjoyed at the Arendsnest. This Triple IPA is one that will make you appreciate the more mundane, expected things in life, such as sitting down in a chair. Mainly because when you give it a go, it’ll knock you right off your feet. This 10% beauty is as flavoursome, rich, deep and epic as it is vibrant.

The beer pours such an amazingly dynamic cloudy ambery golden hue that you’d think the saturation was turned to full in Photoshop. The beer gives off a large hoppy apricot and tropical fruit scent, along with sweet caramelised malt that lets you know you’re in for a treat.

And what a treat this is. Thanks to the triple hops, this packs a walloping hop flavour of citrus and florally notes. And then, as if by surprise, the smooth, sweet malt backbone comes in to balance it all out so delicately, with a final push by the high ABV. The fine balance of flavours in this beer is comparable to a grotesquely fat person walking a thin tightrope hundreds of metres above the ground with such graceful ease.

What a pleasure to drink. I’d easily have this again, and would highly recommend it if you get the chance. A big thumbs for the Dutch TIPA.

RS


De Molen Vuur & Vlam (Fire & Flames) IPA

Firstly, I have to mention the Arendsnest Dutch Beerbar. As its name suggests, it lives and breathes Dutch beer. The beer that flows through its coppery bronze taps is the blood that circulates its veins, the very lifeline of the bar itself. These veins give access to 30 Dutch beers, with an even greater selection from the bottle. Overlooking the Herensgracht canal, this bar screams cultured cosiness, and despite being in the heart of all tourist traps, you still feel like this was established just for yourself to sit and enjoy the beers. The staff are warm and friendly, with the aim of imparting their acquaintance with the beers they know so well onto the drinker.

On to the De Molen. Why it’s called Fire & Flames baffles me. I knew not to expect a smokey surprise, but still in the back of my mind, there’s a little niggle telling me that with every sip, the smokiness might come out. To cut a long story short… It didn’t come out. It wasn’t hidden behind any secret doors. But I do have a few reasons for the name. The first one is: this beer, the Vuur & Vlam, was the kindling that set alight my full on Dutch beer experience at the Arendsnest. From here I went on to try bigger, bolder and better beers in what turned out to be a two hour beer-scapade at Arendsnest. Obviously this isn’t what the brewers had in mind when naming the beer, but I feel like it was appropriate.

Another reason I feel this beer was dubbed this name is because of the warmth that the beer emits. From the vibrant golden yellow that sets the glass alight, to the large, fluffy white head that acts to contain the fire within.

The aroma imparts a slight yeasty characters, brought along with spices and a touch of citrus. The 6.2% allows for a full feel, with a smooth malt body to carry it through to the end, where a bittery hop finish takes over. The weird thing about this beer though, is that it lacks a flavourful oomph. It seems to be quite a deep and complex beer, but on almost flavourless levels. It’s got the smooth apricot nectary IPA malt feel to it, except without the apricot.

The Vuur and Vlam carries its name through the flavour too, being very warm, full and easy to drink. It’s just the anomalous flavour that let it down in my books. While I wouldn’t really recommend this beer, and wouldn’t get it again, I loved trying it and I’m looking forward to trying more De Molen beers.


Belgian Beers at Gollem’s Proeflokaal - Amsterdam

I’ve been to some amazing bars in Amsterdam. Each one draws you in for a particular reason. For most it’s been the feel of the bar; the relaxed ambiance, the setting overlooking the boat strewn canals, the carefree locals enjoying a beer to celebrate the end to a long summer’s day. However, it never tends to be the beer that draws me in. Each serves nice Belgian beer, like Leffe, La Chouffe, Westmalle and Duvel, but nothing that stands out.

Now we get to Gollem. For this bar, it was the beer that induced me to walk through the doors. When it comes to beer and Amsterdam, Gollem is the bar where you want to be for an overwhelming amount of Belgian beers to choose from. Tucked away just off the Singel canal, down a dank, dark alley sits this pub. Look the other way and you’ve missed it.

Having walked passed the bar several times before realising it was Gollem, and that it only opened at 4pm, I made a dedicated trip only to find that it has been relocated… However frustrating this initially was, it then dawned upon me that this new location turned out to be a two minutes walk from my hotel.

Walking in you’re greeted with a low ceiling, dark wooden floorboards that have seen many feet above them and old wooden tables and benches that seem to have grown from the room itself. The beer fridge at the back spans half the width of the room, allowing the wide selection of beers to shout out to you, crowding your eyes with different labels and a multitude of choice (not to complain or anything). On tap there’s about 15 beers to choose from, most I’d never heard of before.

Houblon Chouffe

Wanting a beer that tended towards an IPA, I was ushered to try this Dobblen IPA Tripel. It poured a cloudy golden straw colour from the bottle, with a fluffy white head sitting on top. The aroma introduced a farmhouse style yeast to the nose, along with some subtle spice and tropical banana.

The flavour of this one is what you’d appropriately call multi dimensional - an initial bitterness, along with Tripel-y banana, which smooths out graciously into a sweeter malt body, helped along by the big alcohol presence. The flavours just dance around in your mouth, making this full beer a pleasure to drink. I can definitely recommend this DIPAT, and would gladly have it again. There are very similar notes to the Little Creatures Quiet American, but with this, the Belgians just know how to hit the nail on the head in every aspect of the beer.

Troubadour Magmar

Moving on to something with a bit more fruit to the hops, I went for the 9% Magmar from tap, a cloudy orangey amber sitting under a fluffy off-white head. The aromas are malty, giving away a dried apricot with a zesty lemon. The flavour is a big smooth malt, with apricot nectar hops and caramel. The alcohol is very well hidden with this beer. It’s only at the end of the glass, when you breathe in and out, that you can feel the alcohol in your mouth. Again, I recommend this and would have it again.

So if you’re in Amsterdam, and feel like something that serves beers that stand out from the rest, its definitely worth the extra walk to make it to Gollem.


Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA in Vondelpark

Having just arrived in Amsterdam to a spot of amazing summer weather, we took to the bike paths in search for some grass, a beer and food. We eventually (after a few shortcuts that didn’t actually turn out to be shortcuts…) found ourselves enjoying a thirst quenching IPA and a delicious, yet amazingly messy, roll in Vondelpark, just south-west to the array of canals the city is known for, along with what seemed to be the majority of Amsterdam.

If you’re ever in Amsterdam and find yourself with a hankering for a roll, you’ve got to head to Broodje Bert on Singel and Wolvenstraat. Not only for their mouth watering rolls, but because two minutes away awaits De Bierkoning - a beer shop that puts others to shame, and one that wears its name with pride.

So, after purchasing a beer glass that should see me through to the end of this holiday and a Snake Dog IPA that totaled to €5.25, we sat on the soft grass next to a not-so-clean-looking-yet-extremely-popular lake, ready to dig in and sip away amongst the sunbathing Dutch.

Thanks to the use of the bike lock as a makeshift bottle opener ( I knew I forgot to pack something!), I set free a clear, deep golden beer with a halo of white fluffy head that proudly rested on top. The aroma gave off grassy hops and an almost English aley malt scent. Along with this, the 7.1% poked it’s head through, adding a nice alcoholly touch.

Right up front this beer is rich and full, with that alcohol helping to drive this strength. This is accompanied by a nice fresh hoppy bitterness to take it across the finish line, while all along there’s the malt backbone, giving the beer hints of a strong English ale again.

This was a perfect intro to the Flying Dog beers, and I can’t wait to try some more now that they’re available - and so cheap! I definitely recommend this one, and would happily get it again, especially if I get the chance to bring it along to a sunny Vondelpark.

RS