Oh Amsterdam, how I loved you. After a series of hilarious unfortunate events, like almost taking the wrong train into the city centre, losing my 72-hour tram pass 2 hours after I bought it and our tram taking forever to arrive no matter where we were, we actually got settled into our Airbnb. For a minute. We promptly ran out the door as our beer tour was starting soon. We booked our beer tour with Urban Adventures, which promised to be a small group walking tour with lots of beer history. We thought it would be the perfect way to beat the jet lag and get a quick glimpse of the city on our first day. When we arrived to the meeting place, the tour had already left! All because of our tram being late (again!). I quickly turned on my roaming (ARGH) and called our tour guide, Sean. He was really understanding and told us that they were only a few blocks away. He met us on the sidewalk in front of the pub after giving us directions. PHEW.
Sean was super knowledgeable about the local beer scene, something that made Alex very happy. The beer scene in the city is often overlooked since it has to compete with big companies like Heineken. There are some great places around to drink good craft brews that won't break the bank. We have a pretty exciting beer scene in Atlanta right now with microbreweries popping up everywhere. We have a couple within walking distance of our home! So, we are always looking into new beers and breweries. [If you're interested, our pal Drew has blog where he reviews beers brewed in Atlanta and elsewhere. It's really great.]
Our group consisted of an older couple from Australia and one man traveling on its own. It was a fun group despite the age differences. As previously stated on their site, this is definitely not a bar hop, but you do drink a lot. The tour includes a full pint of beer, of your choice, at each bar. We stopped at three bars and at the last one, we were offered a plate of meat and cheeses. We made the rookie mistake of not eating beforehand, that was fun!
Our first stop was Cafe Belgique. It's the cutest bar. It's a small pub, one of the smallest in Amsterdam actually! They have 8 beers on draft, mostly from Belgium. The decor is a bit quirky, yet stylized. Alex and I got a glass of La Chouffe and it was awesome. So crisp and smooth. Luckily, we can find it in the States!
The next place we stopped by was a brew pub called Bierfabriek, where their specialty is chicken. They also serve other tapas and vegetarian options. The place was set up family style with giant wooden tables and benches. We sat up at the bar and everyone ate peanuts while we waited.
We ended our tour around 10 p.m. when the rest of the folks left. At this point, Sean took us to one last bar before he left for the night. We really enjoyed talking to him about his adventures in Colorado, Atlanta and everything in between. It didn't feel touristy at all being on this tour, which I appreciated immensely. I feel like it's a good way to experience the local scene while sharing some stories and getting to know people over brews.
And of course, we ended our first night with a waffle covered with dulce de leche. So good! Thanks Urban Adventures for the fantastic tour!
Have you ever done a beer tour abroad?
These pictures were taken in August 2014.