A New York style beer bar in the heart of Amsterdam.
Just around the corner from Dam square is an American style beer bar with a whopping 30 beers on tap (unheard of in Europe, but common in many speciality bars in the States) and over 100 in bottles, the Temple specialises in US ales (and I don't mean Budweiser or Coors) but also has a good selection of UK, Dutch and Belgian beers.
On my visit (November 2012) they had all three Westvleteren Trappist beers in stock (some of the rarest and reportedly best beers in the world) and I was able to try all for the first time (an ambition of mine for several years), not sure if these are permanently available or if I just got lucky with my visit but many of the American beers are also particularly rare (Three Floyds, Stone etc) and Brewdog beers (from the UK) appear to be popular here.
If you are a beer lover visiting Amsterdam then this is a must, for the true connoisseur maybe even worth a special holiday.
Right opposite the excellent Café Gollem (a lovely, cosy little bar where you can sample up to 200 Belgian beers) is one of the best beer shops in Holland. Selling about 500 beers from all over the world and specialising in beers from small independent brewers, it's an absolute treasure trove for the beer lover. You can buy Westvleteren there (which is reputedly the best beer in the world and extremely hard to come by), as well as some truly stunning Scandinavian and American beers. Try the Norwegian Porters and Imperial Stouts. Highly recommended.
And once you've bought some for later, why not pop into Café Gollem to try a couple on tap and maybe a Kaasplank (literally a plank with cheese & bread on it). Very satisfying. There's also a second branch of Café Gollem right by the Albert Cuyp Market in the Pijp district.
Both The Cracked Kettle and Café Gollem are on Raamsteeg, a small alley between Spuistraat and the Singel canal. The other Gollem is on Daniel Stalpertstraat, round the corner from the Albert Cuyp Market and the Heineken brewery
This is a former Heineken brewery and despite it sounding like a tourist rip off, it’s actually a great way to spend an afternoon. Not particularly well advertised, but well worth the 10 Euros.
You finally arrive at your hotel after a long journey with your wife and two small children. It's gone midnight and you really fancy a drink, but you can't go to a bar because you've been sent out to buy food for everyone. What to do?
Check out the small hut opposite the Tourist Info stall at the Leidseplein - it sells beer! An 'Ice cold in Alex' moment, albeit with Heineken and not Carlsberg.
If you find yourself in Amsterdam on a bitter Easter day, and your soon-to-be-ex is giving you looks that make the sleet soaking through your clothing seem trifling, then make your way to the Heineken brewery.
There, after a perfunctory guided tour, you can drink all the beer you can manage. The tables of exquisite Spanish teenagers get so drunk, so quickly, they even find your sorry bones fanciable - and the world, for a delicious hour, becomes very good indeed.
Gollem is an excellent little place to spend the night, trying every single one of their various beers. Just before where the Singel meets Spui, you'll find this most cute little place in a side street.
Arendsnest is a unique bar located at Herengracht 90. The owner, Peter van der Arend, is a qualified beerologist dedicated to Dutch microbrewery beers.
His enthusiastic staff are always eager to converse about beer and arrange all sorts of related activities, including tutored tastings. There are 9 taps for guest micro beers and an enormous selection of bottled beers from small Dutch breweries that hardly anyone in England has heard of.
I love English micro beers and if, like me, you care about quality and variety, this is the very best place in Amsterdam to try their Dutch equivalent.
People tend to covet two images of Amsterdam: one is of the sleepy city of culture and canals; the other is of one of Europe's hottest party venues. Rarely do you find a place that encompasses both together, but De Zotte is it.
Tucked away in a side street, there are hundreds of Belgian beers on offer to satisfy the connoisseur, yet the hip young crowd and funky sounds keep away the crusties and coach tours.
If you have to drink mass-produced Heineken, don't worry, there's hundreds of other cafes to choose from.
It may seem rather strange to be drinking Belgian beers in Holland but this little bar is just fantastic.
The bar area is tiny and with wooden tables, stone floor and tan walls covered in old-fashioned advertisements for many of the beers they sell. It has eight Belgian beers on tap and 30 in bottles. The beer menu is very well written, informative but also very amusing, giving you background on where the beer was brewed and also the percentage alcohol content, very important if you intend to stay for more that one or two.
The girl behind the bar was extremely friendly and also knowledgeable about the beers on sale. You can also order bar snacks such as toasties, cheese and mustard (perfect with beer) and extremely spicy sausages.
Gravenstraat 2, just behind the Nieuwe Kerk and Dam Square
In de Wildeman certainly justifies its label as a bierproeflokal (beer tasting house) with its choice of 200 bottled beers and another 18 or so on tap.
Kolksteeg 3 (an alleyway not far away from the Centraal Station/Dam Square); www.indewildeman.nl
Het Papeneiland is a wonderful brown café in a great location overlooking Prinsengracht.
The name – Pope’s Island – reflects the time when a tunnel ran between the café and a secret Catholic Church across the canal.
The eclectic decoration includes blue Delft tiles, a mixture of wooden furniture, ceramic beer barrels and a stuffed bird!
Take a seat near the bar downstairs – if there’s room – or venture upstairs and sit, as we did, in the window overlooking the canal and passing cyclists. Give yourself over to the atmosphere and let the beers flow!
Open: Mon-Thur 10am-1am
This is the brewery-tap of the excellent 't Ij brewery. Spit & sawdust would probably be a step up for the place, but the beers brewed on the premises make it well worth a visit. I particularly recommend trying the Columbus and the Struis, both of which score 5/5 on my personal beer scale. Unfortunately opening hours are restricted - it's only open Wednesday to Sunday, 1500-2000.
Funenkade 7; Tel: 020-3201786; www.brouwerijhetij.nl
Without doubt the best beer bar in Amsterdam, this is a traditional brown cafe with a tremendous range of beer and staff who know about that beer. I understand the barrels at the back of the main room are from the Genever distillery that the building used to house. Unusually for a Dutch bar, there's even a non-smoking room. It can be quite hard to find, being down an alleyway, but there's a map on their website.
Kolksteeg 3; only a short walk from Amsterdam Centraal Station; tel: 020 427 86 60; www.indewildeman.nl
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