What is more enjoyable than drinking a freshly brewed local beer at the brewery itself? In Amsterdam, microbreweries have been mushrooming in the past couple of years, so this is the place to do a little brewery hopping. Some suggestions for cool brewpubs in Amsterdam![This blog has been updated in March 2020]
AMSTERDAM BREWPUBS ON THIS PAGE
Brouwerij ‘t IJ | Poesiat en Kater | Oedipus Brewing | Walhalla Brewing | De Prael | 7 deugden | Kleiburg | Butcher’s tears | De Bekeerde Suster | Gebrouwen door vrouwen | Homeland Brewing | Naeckte Brouwers | Troost | Amsterdam breweries without their own brewpub
1. Brouwerij ‘t IJ: the first of the Amsterdam brewpubs
Of the Amsterdam brewpubs, Brouwerij ‘t IJ is by far the oldest. It was one of the breweries that started the Dutch craft beer revolution (or was it a renaissance?) back in the 1980’s. Inspired by Belgian beer culture, they started brewing in 1985, in a former bath house, next to a windmill.
Their original beers clearly have Belgian roots: Natte is a Belgian style dubbel, Zatte a tripel and IJwit a witbier. By now their collection of brews has expanded to American styles such as IPA’s. The little brewpub of Brouwerij ‘t IJ soon became a popular Amsterdam hangout, and I must admit that I have spent many hours of my life at their sunny terrace.
Despite all this, I was in doubt if brouwerij ‘t IJ deserves a first place in my list of Amsterdam brewpubs. That is because this brewery has grown rapidly during the past decade and I often hear complaints about the quality of their beers. Due to a “cooperation” with Belgian brewer Duvel Moortgat their distribution has improved and it is easy to find brouwerij ‘t IJ beers in supermarkets all over the Netherlands. This kind of takes away the charm of a local brewery for me. Most importantly: the Amsterdam hop-on-hop-off bus now has a stop at Brouwerij ‘t IJ. Now that makes it easy to reach for the lovers of hop-on-hop-off buses, which means that the place is literally flooded by tourists.
Is visiting Brouwerij ‘t IJ a local experience?
No! Though locals do still visit Brouwerij ‘t IJ, they are often a minority. Still, the sunny terrace underneath the windmill is a lovely place to have a beer or two, especially in summer. And despite all the expansions, this is still an original and basic Amsterdam brewpub, without fancy seating or dining. You have to order your drinks at the bar, which at busy times can be a challenge.
Recently brouwerij ‘t IJ has opened a second location in Vondelpark. As they don’t brew beer here it’s a bar, rather than a brewpub. It may help to spread the crowds a bit.
2. Poesiat & Kater brewpub
Do you want to visit a less touristic brewpubs in Amsterdam? The closest alternative to Brouwerij ‘t IJ is Poesiat & Kater, a new brewery that opened in Amsterdam Oost in 2017.
What I like about Poesiat & Kater is that they recreate beers from the historical Amsterdam based brewery Van Vollenhoven (formerly De Gekroonde Valk) that closed its doors in 1949, after over 2 centuries of production. If you are into stouts you should definitely try the Van Vollenhoven Extra Stout! Next to the Van Vollenhoven series they brew Poesiat & Kater beers. These are often small experimental batches that are only available in their Amsterdam brewpub.
An extra attraction to the Poesiat & Kater brewpub is the awesome building in which it is located: an old gas plant from 1887 that has been completely renovated to a modern brewery. When you sit inside you can sometimes see the brewer at work. They serve decent meals here as well. So far I have only tried their lunch, which was excellent and came with good suggestions about the best beer to accompany it. If you’re interested in trying several of the Poesiat & Kater beers, why not order a tasting session of 3 or 5 different beers?
3. Oedipus Brewing
If you are in for a little adventure into the north of town, take the (free) ferry across IJ river and visit the Amsterdam brewpub of Oedipus brewing. This is, in my opinion, the best craft beer brewery of Amsterdam. Oedipus started (experimentally) in 2009 and opened its own taproom in 2015. The brewers were inspired by beers they tasted during foreign beer festivals. So contrary to the older craft brewers in Holland their beers are not based on the traditional Belgian beer styles.
The Oedipus brewpub has that adventurous feeling of an enthusiastic startup company about it. Perhaps this is caused by the vibrant and colorful brewpub, situated in a rather grey area (the contrast!), perhaps by the character of the brewers? Don’t be fooled, because recently big brewer Heineken has taken a stake in Oedipus.
4. Walhalla Craft Beer
If you have crossed the IJ river to visit the Oedipus brewpub, you could just as well pay a visit to the much smaller Walhalla taproom too, because it is just around the corner. The Walhalla taproom reminds one a bit of a garage, as it is pretty small and is located at an industrial site. They are truly a micro brewery, and that has its own charm about it. I am not a big fan of their beers, even though I must admit they have recently won an award with their Shakti-beer. You should try it for your self and see what you think!
5. Brouwerij De Prael
The most sympathetic of the Amsterdam brewpubs must be De Prael. De Prael is located right in the city center, close to Central Station. What makes this Amsterdam brewery sympathetic is that they employ people with disabilities. Though the De Prael brewpub looks quite small from the outside, once you walk in you’ll discover it is much bigger than you thought. They serve a wide range of decent craft beers and serve pub food and snacks. Usually the atmosphere is pleasant.
The De Prael brewpub doesn’t have a lot of outside spacing, so that makes it more convenient for the winter season and for rainy days. Luckily we’ve got a lot of those in Holland! Service is a bit sketchy at times, which has to do with the fact that this is a place that employs people without much work experience. Be patient and keep calm!
Recently De Prael has opened a second bar, in the Westerpark neighborhood. This is outside your typical tourist zone (even though right opposite the Westcord Art Hotel, if you really want to go for it). This location attracts more locals, and has much more outside spacing. At the same time, it kind of misses that charm of the downtown Amsterdam brewpub. De Prael has recently opened bars in The Hague and in Groningen too.
6. Brouwerij De 7 deugden
The first time that I visited the Amsterdam brewpub De 7 deugden (translates as: the 7 virtues), then in an old farm outside of Amsterdam, I thought their beers were a little too extreme. Extremely herbal, peppery. An attack on the taste buds, and that was not a compliment. What I did like though was the enthusiasm of the young brewer, that was also quite extreme. And the fact that like De Prael, they work with people who can’t get a regular job because of their disabilities. Yet, however sympathetic, you still got to be able to drink the beer right?
To my surprise, quite a few things had changed for the better the second time I visited them, in 2018, in their new brewpub in Sloten. The taste of their beers had greatly improved, even though they still pride themselves on using herbs and spices. I think they have found the right balance now. The whole place looks quite professional and they are brewing bigger batches than before. Their brewpub isn’t hip or trendy at all. It is just a relaxed place to be, and to talk about beer with the people who work there. I think it is worth the trip Sloten.
SLOTEN used to be an independent village, older than Amsterdam! It was completely annexed by its bigger neighbor in the 20th century so is now part of the city of Amsterdam. It does still have a bit of that village feel about it (ignore the airplanes flying to nearby Schiphol airport). Next to the 7 deugden brewery you’ll find a huge and still working windmill, that is open to visitors. So why not combine your visit to the brewery with a visit to a real windmill?
7. Brouwerij Kleiburg
Brewery Kleiburg is situated in the Amsterdam Zuidoost neighborhood, a location that you wouldn’t normally just pass by, unless you are in town for a soccer match in the Johan Cruijff Arena or a concert in the Ziggo Dome. You may also just have an adventurous spirit and catch a metro to Bullewijk station. In this area of big companies, high rise apartment buildings and big hotels you can find a real abbey, brewing its own beers.
An abbey … that word may evoke images of Belgium’s medieval cloisters. Get rid of that image, because the Amsterdam abbey is modern and located in a flat that was appointed for demolition. However, according to the old abbey tradition, they started brewing beers in 2015, and pretty interesting ones as well, such as a porter-saison and a quadrupel-porter. That actually tastes quite good!
The Kleiburg brewpub is situated away from the abbey, on a piece of no-man’s land close to the Amsterdam IKEA. It’s just a barrack of corrugated iron on the outside, but it’s pretty cozy inside. The actual brewery is in the back of the building, divided from the taproom by a glass wall. To visit the brewery you’ll need to book a tour at their website. The taproom is open for all visitors though. They serve simple lunches and dinners, using local ingredients. And they always have a couple of their owns brews on tap.
8. Butcher’s Tears
Hidden away in a corner of the Amsterdam Zuid neighborhood is microbrewery Butcher’s Tears. When the Swedish and German owners opened this Amsterdam brewpub in 2013 their American-inspired beer styles were a welcome relieve next to the Belgian style brews that were common in Holland at the time. Right now they have a lot more competition.
The Butcher’s Tears taproom is rather small and minimalist, hidden away at an industrial site. This is a brewpub for true beer lovers, who’re not afraid to try something new and who’re not looking for a fancy location. It’s a relaxed place though and if you are around pay them a visit.
Early in 2020 Butcher’s Tears has opened a second taproom in Amsterdam West, at Jan van Galenstraat 10.
9. De Bekeerde Suster
While I was thinking of all those hip and happening modern brewpubs of Amsterdam, I almost forgot old style De Bekeerde Suster! Of course they deserve a place in this list.
They deserve it especially as they represent the old style brewpub, and they are the only one in this style in Amsterdam. When I say old style, I refer to the copper brewing kettles right in the center of their pub and to their beers. They brew blonde ale, triple, bock and pilsner. Nothing surprising. Actually, this brewery is not that old at all: they started in 2003, even though they did take over the brewing installation from an older brewery at that same location.
This is not the kind of brewery that you would run into on a hip beer festival, and you can only get their beers in their own brewpub and in their 3 bars (De Brabantse Aap in Amsterdam and De Beiaard in Hoorn and Enschede). It’s a nice place to visit for a change after all the hip brewpubs and to enjoy the melancholic atmosphere of times long gone.
10. Gebrouwen door vrouwen
Literally “brewed by women”. This small Amsterdam brewery is run by women who brew only beer styles that they like themselves. In the case of Gebrouwen door vrouwen this means they don’t do IPA’s and they don’t do any dark beers such as porters or stouts. Most of their beers are light and herbal. I really like their ginger beer, which is one of the most gingery beers I’ve ever tasted. Their pumpkin beer wasn’t too bad either. Otherwise, I personally prefer stronger flavors. Luckily tastes differ and their are enough Amsterdam brewers on the market for such specialized breweries to exist!
Gebrouwen door vrouwen has its own little bar at Jan Pieter Heijestraat in Amsterdam West. Strictly speaking it’s not a brewpub, as they don’t actually brew beer at this location. But practically all of the beers on tap in this bar are Gebrouwen door vrouwen beers, so I’ve decided to add them to this list anyway. Gebrouwen door vrouwen beers are available in some supermarkets and in other bars all over the Netherlands too.
11. Homeland brewing
Located on former navy grounds in Amsterdam, Homeland Brewing is a new player on the Amsterdam beer scene. Their place is not like your typical brewpub. It’s more like a hotel with its own restaurant and bar, that happens to serve home brewed beers, next to coffee and tea. It’s a perfect place to stay for beer aficionado’s of course. Imagine sleeping so close to a brewery!
I haven’t tried a lot of their beers unfortunately, as I had already moved away from Amsterdam when they opened in 2017. I visited their TAB beerfestival though, which they organize once a year, right next to their brewery. It’s quite a cool area, close to the maritime museum and with views of the old harbor of Amsterdam. Check it out!
12. Naeckte Brouwers
Brewery Naeckte brouwers is – strictly speaking – not in Amsterdam, but in the neighboring town Amstelveen, just south of Amsterdam. Amstelveen serves more or less as a suburb for Amsterdam with huge residential areas. Normally not the kind of area that you would visit as a tourist, though you might go there for an exhibition in the Cobra Museum for Modern Art. If you do, don’t forget to visit the amazing taproom of Naeckte brouwers, which is not too far from the museum.
The Naeckte brouwers taproom is situated in the former St Anna church and is quite spectacular, with high vaulted ceilings. The conditioning tanks and brewing installation form an almost organ-like shape in the back of the church. It’s pretty overwhelming when you first enter the place. They have about 20 beers on tap and some more bottled.
13. Brouwerij Troost
Troost is not my favorite of the Amsterdam brewpubs, because I don’t like their beers so much. It’s not that they are bad, it’s just that in the huge amount of craft beer now on the market they don’t stand out. For some reason though they have rapidly expanded from 1 to 4 (!) taprooms in Amsterdam. I guess that if you are not an experienced craft beer drinker their beers are good enough, and that their taprooms are nice places to be.
Pijp: Cornelis Troostplein 21, Amsterdam
Oost: Land van Cocagneplein 1A, Amsterdam
Westergas: Pazzanistraat 25-27, Amsterdam
Oud West: Bilderdijkstraat 205 hs, Amsterdam
brouwerij Troost website (English)
Brouwerij Troost on Untappd
More craft beer brewers in Amsterdam
Amsterdam brewpubs that I haven’t checked out yet
- Bird Brewery, a rather recent addition to the Amsterdam beer scene with remarkably good beers. They opened their own brewpub in Diemen, right next to Amsterdam recently, Hous of Bird.
- KRUX brewery has a taproom in Amsterdam Oost at Cruquiusweg 83D
- Brouwerij de eeuwige jeugd, that has its own bar at Linnaeusstraat 37A in Amsterdam Oost.
- Friekens brewery a microbrewery in Amsterdam Noord (at a rather remote location)
Amsterdam restaurants with their own beers
- Asperius brewing, a recent addition to the Amsterdam beer scene. You can drink their beers in restaurant Zest at Bilderdijkstraat 188 in Amsterdam West.
- Two chefs brewing, beers created by two cooks who wanted to have beers to pair with their cooking. They have a restaurant called Bar Alt at Stadionplein 103. This is not a brewpub though. It’s a place for fine dining with accompanying beers! Their beers are available in 500 bars all over the Netherlands.
- The Lion’s head gastrobar & brewery at Van Woustraat 34 in Amsterdam Zuid serves a combination of South African food and German style home brewed beers.
Amsterdam breweries without their own brewpub
- Cinema brewers, brew beers of reasonable quality. No taproom or brewpub however. You may find their beers in Amsterdam bars.
- Brothers in Law brewing, decent but not too exceptional craft beers. You may come across their beers in bars all over the Netherlands.
- Bruutbier (not tasted this yet)
- Mokums Mout (not tasted this yet)
- Zuidas bier (not tasted this yet)
- Roots Radics, which apparently has been brewing ginger beers since the 1980’s and is run by a Surinamese gentleman.
- Heaps of hops (not tasted this yet)