While any tourist to Amsterdam should definitely take a tour of the Heineken museum and factory, the true beer lover should head elsewhere. In fact, real beer snobs, once in Amsterdam, tend to seek out the smaller labels, the micro-breweries and artisanal beer producers. In terms of beer culture, Holland may not be quite as respected as its neighbor, Belgium, but there are definitely beer brands that aficionados should know about here.
Let’s start with the Trappist Monk beer, Le Trappe, which, out of the seven certified Trappist beers, is the only one from Holland (the rest are Belgian), and still produced within a monastery. And Amsterdam is the perfect place to taste it, as well as other refined brews: most of the “brown” cafés (whose name comes from the colour of the smoke-stained walls) feature a selection of truly excellent, niche-label beers.
One of the best is Cafe Hoppe, located in the characteristic neighborhood of Jordaan and has been open and running since 1670. But if you’re looking for a very Dutch experience, the right place is the artisanal Brouwerij'T iJ whose red-brick exterior (an ex-public bath house next to an authentic windmill) surrounds an organic brewery with highly fermented beers produced on-site. Try the light beer and the famous Ijwit, although all of their 7 brews are excellent – like the sweet amber Columbus or an orange-coloured.
Another place no beer-lover should miss is 't Arendsnest, the only beer café to serve only Dutch beers. Among the 350 proposals, 50 are artisanal and come from all over the country.