Get your beer goggles on: it’s the top five Amsterdam beer bars

Admittedly, being a foodie doesn’t necessarily make me an expert on bars. But let’s face it: most foodies know how to enjoy the good life – in more ways than one. So here’s the fourth in my series of posts answering my readers’ FAQs – this time on my second favourite hobby: drinking.

Question: Where can we go to get decent beer (basically not Heineken)?

Answer: Two of these places are local breweries, two are Belgian brown cafes (and believe me, the Belgians know their beers) and one is an American beer bar. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, ok?

1. Brouwerij het IJ (Funenkade 7): housed under a windmill in Amsterdam Oost (east of the centre), the brewery serves its own-brewed beers and various lekker hapjes (including my favourite sheep’s cheese from Dikhove in Ransdorp) between 3 and 8 pm daily. You can take a tour round the brewery too.

2. Brouwerij de Prael: in the heart of the Red Light District, de Prael brewery was set up to employ people suffering from psychiatric problems. In the proeflokaal at Oudezijds Armsteeg 26, you can taste the beers named after famous Dutch singers; the brewery itself is located at Oudezijds Voorburgwal 30.

3. Gollem (Raamsteeg 4): dark and musty, this beer bar down an alleyway off the Spuistraat demands that you drink out of one of those funny test-tube-shaped glasses in a wooden stand. I think the beer’s called Kwak and you’ll spill it everywhere, but it’s just sort of tradition. You’ll understand when you go there, I promise.

4. Zotte (Raamstraat 29): not to be confused with Raamsteeg, this Belgian brown cafe is actually in a completely different location near the Leidseplein. The food is decent too.

5. Beer Temple (Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 250): the most recent to open, this American beer bar totally changed my perception of Stateside beer. No Budweiser here; all small, specialist brews that have been specially imported. They even have their own house beer: Tempelbier. Just tell them what you like and they’ll make you recommendations – wow, American service to boot!

Beer from de Prael

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