Amsterdam is famous for many things – its canals, tulips, red-light district, cafes and, of course, its beer. If you enjoy the odd pint or two, I’d recommend paying a visit to a couple of the city’s breweries.
As well as learning a bit more about how beer is made, you’ll also have the chance to sample some of the local tipples. If this sounds like your kind of thing, search for a cheap Amsterdam hotel close to the breweries you want to go to, so that you only have a short walk (or stumble) home.
Here are a few of the breweries I think it’s worth heading to if you’re staying in the Dutch capital.
The Heineken Experience is in the former brewery of this famous lager and has been declared a National Monument. This is a great place to begin your education into the brewing process, as there are numerous exhibits here detailing how beer is made, as well as providing you with more information about the history of Heineken.
In 1988, this brewery stopped producing its famous drinks on a commercial scale, but a mini brewery remains, as well as a tasting bar. One of the quirkiest things about the Heineken Experience is that it has stables where it keeps shire horses that are used to deliver beer throughout Amsterdam.
It does cost €18 (£14.71) to get in (or €16 if you book in advance online), however, this includes two drinks, so you’ll get your money’s worth!
Brewery de Prael
The Brewery de Prael prides itself on using traditional techniques that are hundreds of years old to create its tipples. All the grains used are 100 per cent organic and no artificial flavours or carbonation is added to the finished product – the fizz in these pints comes from the carbon dioxide that occurs naturally during the fermentation process.
Even though the owners have introduced modern equipment to help with the brewing process, they stick to traditional methods as far as possible. Tours start from €7.50 with one beer included, or you can opt for their four-beer package priced at €16.50.
Brouwerij ‘t IJ (or the IJ Brewery)
This small brewery is located next to a windmill, so it shouldn’t be too hard to spot. It’s a fantastic place to visit on a sunny day, as it boasts a large outdoor terrace where you can sip on a drink and enjoy the atmosphere.
As with most of Amsterdam’s breweries, it too offers tours of its facilities, at the bargain price of €4.50 including a beer! There are ten beers produced and bottled onsite (although not all of these are available year-round), giving you lots of tasting options once you finish your tour and sit down for a drink.
Among the regular brews are Zatte, which was the first to be produced here, Plzen, Natte, Ijwitt, Struis and Columbus. The last two of these aren’t for the faint hearted with alcohol content of nine per cent.
This is one of the newest additions to Amsterdam’s brewery circuit, with all of its brews produced according to traditional recipes. While the beer is certainly good enough to warrant a visit to Jopenkerk, its setting in an old church only adds to the appeal of an afternoon of drinking here.
As well as the brewery and bar, there’s also a cafe and restaurant onsite, so you can easily spend a day enjoying the atmosphere and working your way through the many beers produced using centuries-old recipes.