Brouwerij ‘t IJ

This Amsterdam brewery has been around since the 80s, is located at a windmill, and brews up organic beers. And with a name like Brouwerij ‘t IJ, I just had to visit. They had five beers on tap and one more in a bottle, so it was good I had all late afternoon and early evening to relax with a sampler tray and a small plate of sheep cheese from a local farm where the sheep are fed the spent grain from the brewery. I wanted to ask if they had a file on the particular sheep that produced the milk and if that sheep was happy, had sheep friends, but I didn’t think they’d get the Portlandia joke.

The brewery is open only from 3:00 to 8:00, and they do a free tour Fridays at 4:00. I showed up on Thursday so I just got to drink beer. There were a few folks already enjoying a brew in the sun when I arrived around 5:00, and it just got more and more crowded until it was basically standing room only when they closed.

brewery at the windmill

The very photogenic Brouwerij ‘t IJ — Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Rob’s Picks

  • Plzen – 5% – Bready, slight honey flavor. Good bitterness. Not too light. A good beer.
  • Zatte – 8% – Their Belgian Tripel style. Nutty, smooth, and really nice. Darkest in color of the five on tap.
  • Columbus – 9% – Tastes kind of like a tripel. Complex sweet caramel, strong alcohol, but with a slight spiciness. A beer to drink slowly.
    The Rest

  • IJWit – 7% – Sweeter and smoother than the Plzen. Lemony flavor. Reminds me of a thicker Hoegaarden. Vaguely oily on the tongue, which was interesting.
  • Natte – 6.5% – Less nutty, more sweet, lighter in color than the Zatte. This is their dubbel. Still looking for a dubbel that I really like…
  • Strius – 9% – bottle – Much more like the Belgian dubbels I’ve had. Pretty bock-y, with that sweetness I’m not so fond of.
IJ sampler

Sampler tray at the IJ — Amsterdam, Netherlands

Turned out they had two different logo glasses for sale. A full-size glass and a smaller taster-size glass. I gave in to temptation and bought the small one. It’s small — so it’s not nearly as crazy as carrying around Europe a large glass for a month. I’m just carrying around Europe a small glass for a month…

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