Week 16 of 52
(020) 421 20 57
Dutch Beer Bar
BEERS ON TAP (at time of visit) —>
BOTTLE: We didn’t take note of everything, but the list was vast and had a large number of De Molen offerings.
FOOD OPTIONS: No food.
BAR OPINION: In the months preceding the Beer Blotter Euro-trip, a lot of research was done. A lot. I’m sure this doesn’t come as a surprise. Anyone about to embark on a journey to a far off land would do the same. What did we research? Well, we have been very vocal about our priorities on this trip, so I will only rehash them briefly…beer, food, art/culture…well that’s about all that really matters right?
The Amsterdam portion of our trip was at the very end. By the time we had reached the ‘Dam we had already hit Antwerp, Brugge, Gent, Brussels, various locations in West Flanders, Esquelbecq (France, Brasserie Thierez), Dusseldorf, Leverkusen (Germany, Bayer Leverkusen soccer match), Cologne, Paris, Bodegraven (Netherlands, Brouwerij De Molen), and many places in between. Moral of the story…by the time we got to the ‘Dam we were nearly spent, and believe me, it pained us severely. We had all been really excited about Amsterdam, especially since we had chosen ahead of time to forgo any cultural aspects that she may offer. Not that they weren’t worthy, but the ‘Dam seemed like a place for extreme partying, and that is what we planned to do there (I guess that in itself is a part of the culture, but you know what I mean).
I repeat, “planned”. Planned way in advance, without thought of how we would feel after staying up late every night drinking and waking up early every morning to exercise and get a start on the new day’s travels. Bottom line, our trip was grueling. It had to be. There was no way around it. One’s opportunity to travel to Europe is very limited, thus one must pack many things in. I doubt this truly needs explaining. In a nutshell, I…we need to go back. I get teary-eyed just thinking about the prospect of returning. Our experiences have taught us many things, and would surely yield much in a second journey, especially in Amsterdam, where I feel we failed to completely engross ourselves in what it offered.
Never-the-less, there was not a single beer related establishment that I had on my “must visit” list that we missed. How was this list conjured? You will surely not be surprised to hear that ratebeer had a hand, as well as the great Amsterdam Top Ten site. Number 1 on all of our lists? You guessed it, ‘t Arendsnest! Why? Check out the description on the Amsterdam Top Ten site:
One of the very few bars that [s]erve only beer from Dutch breweries. 350 different beers, not counting approximately 250 seasonal beers such as Bokbier, brewed by more than 50 breweries in different parts of the Netherlands. The owner is very knowledgeable and together with his enthusiastic staff is more than happy to provide his customers with information and recommendations.
We knew that this place would provide us with an ample selection of beers that we had never heard of and could never get in America. A true Dutch experience to say the least, just what we were after.
Just prior to arriving in Amsterdam we stopped for dinner at De Molen. This was after a very long drive from Paris, so not only was it late but we were tired, full, and a little buzzed. We decided that we would keep this first night a bit low key, which meant a trip to the number one on the list (which luckily was just a few blocks from our hotel) and a trip to one of the other non-beer related things that you have to do in Amsterdam: a weed cafe. You know…because it’s legal there.
Anyway, we write about beer so we will concentrate on that vice. After sifting through the rainy evening air, along gorgeous shop lined alley-ways and down streets that flank the many canals that bisect the city, we came to stand before ‘t Arendsnest. Finally, we had arrived. Once entering, any and all stresses were lifted from our shoulders. Not only was it dry, warm and bright inside, but it was invitingly cozy and bustling with the soothing din of the local clientele. The lighting, the design, the decor, all aspects of The Eagles Nest fit in just right with what we needed at that moment.
As you can see from the draught list above, our hopes of finding “strange” Dutch brews were realized here, just as we had hoped. Other than the only Dutch Trappist brewery La Trappe (Koningshoeven), Urthel, and the De Molen/Mikkeller collaboration brew Mikkel & Menno that we had discovered just prior to arriving, everything on the list was foreign to us. Though the bartender, like almost everyone in Amsterdam, spoke near perfect English, the place was pretty packed so we didn’t have much time to inquire about many of them. We ordered mostly blind (remember, the use of American iphones is pretty much negated in Europe). This is probably for the better. Sometimes going blind, being spontaneous, is more fun.
The Jopen Hoppen and Extra Stout were both procured. A quick word on the Hoppen – almost any time the word “hop” is alluded to in Europe, Americans need to proceed with an open mind (Alvinne is a clear exception). Something what may be considered extremely hoppy in Europe would be considered a weak pale ale at best to us. The Hoppen fit that mold. The Extra Stout on the other hand was really thick and delicious and would stand up against any American stout.
The Hertog Jan Grand Prestige, a big 10% ale was sampled, along with the Jubel Joop III Tripel, also made by Jopen. One of the favorites of the night was the Emelisse Espresso Stout which had a huge mocha colored head with massive bubbles. Oh I wish I could indulge in one right now! A few De Molen bottles were enjoyed as well such as t ‘Ooievaartje – a fruit lambic and, quite possibly the gem of our visit – Bloed, Zweet & Tranen, or Blood, Sweat & Tears. B, Z & T is a dark concoction that uses smoked malts and minimal hops. It can, quite deservedly, be found in the Netherlands top 50 beers on ratebeer.com.
In conclusion, ‘t Arendsnest was a must visit for Beer Blotter in Amsterdam, and should be a must visit for all beer lovers.
Here are some sexy shots of recent interesting pulls from the cellar. We are going to be brief, but wanted to let you all know what we liked, and what some bottles are tasting like right now.
Great Lakes Blackout Stout (Imperial Stout): Cleveland, OH
ABV – 9%
Vintage – 2010
RateBeer – 100
Commercial Description –
A Russian Imperial Stout with a hearty malt body and bold hop flavor. Named after the infamous “Blackout of 2003” that left the northeastern United States in complete darkness, but resulted in old-fashioned neighborhood porch parties and fun.
Available in February & March.
One Sentence Note –
This high octane moster has a lot of mocha, coffee, and cinnamon flavor at a smoothness that you expect in your 5% stout, but at 9% you get so much more bang for your buck.
Cigar City Jai Alai IPA: Tampa, FL
ABV – 7.5%
Vintage – 2010
RateBeer – 99
Jai Alai India Pale Ale pays tribute to the original extreme sport. Jai Alai, a game native to the Basque region of Spain, is played on a court called a fronton. Jai Alai players attempt to catch a ball using a curved mitt, whilst the ball travels at speeds of up to 188 miles per hour! Proving they have a sense of humor the Spanish dub this game, with its ball traveling at race car speeds, “the merry game.” Tampa was once home to a busy Jai Alai fronton but sadly all that remains of Jai Alai in the Tampa Bay area is this India Pale Ale that we brew in tribute to the merry game. The India Pale Ale style of beer has its roots in the strong ales sent from England to thirsty British troops in India during the 18th century. To survive the journey the beers needed more alcohol and more hops (which act as a natural preservative). This “big” brewing practice made India Pale Ale one of the first “extreme beers” and a favorite among the Queens military men in India. Eventually it became a favorite style of the new crop of American brewers seeking more flavor and complexity than mass-market brewers were willing to offer.
One Sentence Note:
Sweet sugary hop monsoon batman – this malt goddess has a syrupy complexity with intense hop aromas, while remaining incredibly smooth drinking.
Three Floyd’s Dreadnaught Imperial IPA: Chicago, IL
ABV – 9.5%
Vintage – 2009
RateBeer – 100
A hophead’s dream beer. This Imperial India Pale Ale has an opening salvo of mango, peach and citrus hop aromas that sit atop a pronounced caramel malt backbone. Although Dreadnaught is a strong and intensely hoppy ale, its complex flavors is both smooth and memorable. 9.5% ABV, 100 IBUs.
One Sentence Notes:
In October we bought two, consumed one immediately much to our hop-fiendish delight, and saved the other for 6 months to let the malts develop – a decent idea but its beginning to reach its bitterness decline, so drink up on this incredible beer! (we pushed that sentence a bit)
Russian River Temptation Oak-Aged Sour Blonde: Santa Rosa, CA
ABV – 7.25%
Vintage – 2009 (1st batch of year)
RateBeer – 100
Is it beer, or is it wine? “Aged in French oak wine barrels for twelve months with distinct characteristics of fruit and subtle oak” sounds more like a description of wine than beer. But, of course, Temptation is indeed beer. Actually, Temptation is a Blonde Ale Fermented with a special strain of yeast, then aged in French oak chardonnay barrels. Flavors of wine and oak absorb into the brew throughout twelve months of aging. During this aging process, a secondary fermentation occurs using a yeast strain disliked by most brewers and winemakers called Brettanomyces. The “Bret” gives Temptation intriguing characteristics and a pleasant sourness. Temptation is re-fermented in the bottle to create its carbonation–a process commonly used to make fine champagne and sparkling wine. Spent yeast forms a thin layer of sediment to remain in the bottle.
One Sentence Notes:
We touched on it before, then re-sampled this champagne of beers (seriously, not High Life) whose sourness is not overpowered with intense malt flavors, making it perfect for the purist.
Hopworks Urban Brewery Organic Survival 7-Grain Stout: Portland, OR
ABV – 5.3%
Vintage – 2009
RateBeer – 98
Beer of the Ancients! Barley (Egyptian), Wheat (Mesopotamian), Oats (Egyptian), Amaranth (Aztec), Quinoa (Incan), Spelt (Mesopotamian), and Kamut (Egyptian) sustain the soul with a nutrients cultivated through the millennia. Finished with 15 pounds of cold-pressed Stumptown Hairbender espresso. Unlock the mystery entombed in darkness.
One Sentence Notes:
Holy smokes (literally) we were surprised by how incredibly well-crafted this NW stout could be with SEVEN ancient grains in the mash and a dump load of special Stumptown espresso – top NW single stout in my book, gets you your breakfast HOTD and pick me up.
Any new beers you have been drinking? Pulled something from the cellar that has been there a while and want to share how its doing these days? Please add a comment below.
Beer Blotter editors recently booked a trip to Washington DC. We would like your help finding the right places to spend our valuable time.
Certainly there are a lot of resources on where to visit in our nation’s capital – but we would like a bit more personal of a reflection on the fine establishments in DC.
RateBeer.com does not lists any one DC establishment in its Top 50 for 2010 (though Columbia, MD’s Frisco Cantina is close by).
But what else is out there? What cannot be missed? Please let us know!
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Thanks for the dialogue.