|City (with excursions||DATE (yymmdd)||Information|
Amsterdam, like so many cities in Europe and the US, is in the midst of an explosion of new brewing ventures. We visited a few of the new ones in July of 2015.
Brouwerij Troost, Cornelis Troostplein 21, is a new pub only open since November 2015. Newpub beers vary, but the coffee infused porter was superb. Excellent food. Long thin place with a garden out back, on a street corner; the long glass front has an overhang with tables tucked under, and the inside is square but soft black banquettes,brewhouse at one end and bar at the other with serving tanks over it. The burger was good, but the specialty satay was the nicest thing done to a chicken (except spiess) we’ve run into on the continent. Gently spicy lumpy sauce, tender chicken, shrimp chips. It was a fine reminder that we were not in a brewpub in Philadelphia.
Butcher’s Tears, Karperweg 45, is another of the increasingly ubiquitous garage breweries. It’s down at the end of a residential street lined with dead-looking blank apartments on one side and a tire & body shop on the other. Tiny, gleaming white, with odd little bits of black artsy drawings on the white tile walls: out front a couple of random table-lets and mismatched chairs plus a remarkable two-person lounge thing made of horizontal red pipes—possibly uncomfortable, as no one was sitting in it, but also out in unsheltered and lowering sun. Inside were 4 picnic tables (bench one side, chairs the other), a tiny bar at the back, quiet jazz/blues on the sound system—restful and beautiful. Newpubby beers tended to be a bit strong,but we’re a far cry from the “Heineken Experience.”
The Heineken Experience, by the way, has had a facelift. They spent buckets of money making changes that aren’t all that evident. The heart of the “experience” is the same, but there are stations along the way with real live people explaining things in Dutch and English. The guide’s spiel about the horses, we believe, is new. They’ll also sell you a burger and additional beer at their rooftop café.
Craft and Draft, Overtoom 417, features about 40 taps. No food, but if it’s not too busy the fondue place next door will let you carry in C&D’s beers to go with your meal.
Not far away is Jopen’s new in-town outlet, Proeflokaal, down a slightly skanky and alarmingly dark street that looks risky but almost certainly isn’t, thanks to all the bouncers—who were very helpful pointing us the right way, and asking if we’d had a good evening as we came back past. It features much of Jopen’s enormous range and some guest beers, with predictably very friendly service. It’s a good place to pick up a couple of lay down beers for the suitcase home.
|Berlin||15/09/16||Mitte, near Alexanderplatz, has closed. Its sister pub, Lemke, is still open.|
If you’re there for more than a day, take a break from the tourist bustle and sip a bier at ’t Terrastje (listed) and tell Ian we sent you—he’ll take good care of you.
In ’t Nieuw Museum (listed) has upgraded its beer list and steak options as the second generation takes over day to day operations. Try the stunningly tender Picanha steak, but unless you like your cows to still be mooing when you eat them, order it medium.
We had a fine and friendly experience at ‘t Brugs Beertje, Kemelstraat 5 (listed), this time, proving the point that it’s not always the place, but the time and circumstances that make a bar great.
Halve Maan, Walplein 26 (listed), has upgraded its restaurant space and installed a much larger brew house that you can see from the main hall. The tour is still worth the cost in time and money.
The big news was the opening of the Brewery Museum, Breidelstraat 3 (listed), which we thought we had missed, but actually hadn’t opened on our previous visit. Two stories of exhibits are pretty interesting, but the tasting room may be the star of the show. It has a great view of the square below and a wide range of Palm and Palm related beers. Some of the beers are extremely rare—you’ll find at least a few you haven’t tried.
We followed through and stayed at the de Barge Boat Hotel, Bargeweg 15 (http://www.hoteldebarge.be/). Calling the rooms tiny would be exaggerating their size and there’s no air conditioning. That said, it’s cute, reasonably priced, and clean, and it has a decent buffet breakfast. Don’t miss the boil-your-own eggs. There’s a bar, but we found some local craft beers at the Mayflower restaurant next door. The Barge also floats. The location is perfect if you’re taking the ferry to Hull, England—the bus to the port in Zeebrugge leaves a few hundred yards from the gangplank.
Warpigs, a Three Floyds-Mikkeler venture, is Copenhagen’s newest brewpub. Our source says the beer is quite good; it serves American barbecue.
Fermentoren is now brewing on site with a small system. It still carries a fine range of other craft beers.
Karlsruhe make a nice stopover from Paris to Munich. Especially if you need to take a late train out of Paris and don’t want to arrive in Munich after the restaurants have closed, it’s easy to hop off in Karlsruhe. The IBIS is just steps away from the station door. Unlike most of the IBIS hotels we’ve stayed in, this is a reconstruction of an old station hotel and has some character to it. Some of it’s rooms back up to the station and if you crane a bit you can see the trains coming and going. Be warned — you’ll also hear the trains coming and going.
Trams run really late in Karlsruhe. Take one from right in front of the hotel or the station to the downtown area.
London needs its own guide. A decade ago it was one of the dullest major cities in Europe for beer. Now dozens of craft breweries have joined relatively new cask breweries to blanket the capital with good beer. Check the web for the brewpub closest to where you’re staying. We’ll continue to focus on pubs in the center. Our find this year was the Temple Brew House, 46 Essex St. Beers vary from yeasty newpubby concoctions to some very sophisticated and successful brews. Pub food is good and filling at a fair price.
Just downhill is the Edgar Wallace, with less exciting beers but a fine décor.
|Milan||Baladin has opened a bar in Milan. We assume it’s a spiffy upscale beer emporium like the one in Rome — with prices to match. Watch for events, though: it was the venue for the reintroduction of Thomas Hardy’s Ale in December 2016.|
Donisl has reopened after undergoing a major renovation. In a city with hundreds of good drinking choices, Donisl had two points in its favor. Its location at Weinstrasse 1, just off the main shopping and strolling area of downtown Munich made it really convenient. In addition it was one of the most reasonably priced beer halls in town. The location is still prime, but the renovation has inspired an upgrading of the menu that makes it less of a bargain. You can still get a Schweinshaxe or stew for under 17 Euros, but many of the entrees soar well into the upper 20s.
The upgrade in quality, however, is worth the few extra Euros. There are more choices, portions are larger and the fool seems to come from a cook rather than a freezer. Perhaps the best improvement is Hacker Pschor’s beer from the wood– served while it lasts each afternoon and early evening.
The décor clearly cost them some big bucks. The upstairs, which once was quaint, but somewhat constrained now opens up with a huge skylight and a balcony that overlooks the main floor.
|Salzburg||15/12/20||Sternbräu, at Grigasse 3, has reopened after a “remodeling” that consisted of pretty much demolishing the old building and constructing a new one. It’s now a huge complex with well over a dozen rooms and gardens. Happily they preserved the Chestnut trees of the old place and the new construction looks like it’s been there for much longer You can get a typical Austrian meal in the dining hall or courtyard garden or a cheaper and quicker meal in the self-service garden. The location makes it a draw – in the old town convenient to most of what you’re there to see|