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.