Two Places You Must Have a Drink in Amsterdam

No, not Heineken. Although I will openly admit that the beer tastes wonderful when it hasn’t been shipped all the way across an ocean. And of course there’s always a time and a place for a Heiney.

BUT I want to focus on two other places in Amsterdam that I believe are worth your time but could get missed if you don’t know about them – a distillery and a brewery.

Proeflokaal A. van Wees

Traditional handmade jenever distillery (that also serves Heineken according to this photo…anyway).

Proeflokaal A. van Wees, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Proeflokaal A. van Wees, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Every culture has it’s own spirit (in the liquid sense). Sometimes this is specific even to cities, like Malort in Chicago! In Amsterdam and the Netherlands, it’s Jenever (also spelled Genever). It’s basically how gin got its start. Some English dude lived in Amsterdam and loved the stuff, but when he was back in England he didn’t have access to it so he had some people try to recreate it and they made gin. Although it has ties with the more common juniper drink, Jenever is in a league all its own. For real. And apparently, there aren’t many places in the Netherlands still making it by hand. A. van Wees IS, and it’s GOOD.

Proeflokaal A. van Wees, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Proeflokaal A. van Wees, Amsterdam, Netherlands
liquer selection with moulder cheese

Proeflokaal A. van Wees, Amsterdam, Netherlands

When you go, do the 8 tasters option: 4 from young to old and 4 liqueurs. It’s important to taste a range (especially the aged ones) because the drink changes so much as it gets older. Younger jenever reminded me more of gin, but it was tastier (like, I didn’t want to mix it with tonic kind of tasty), whereas older jenever is more comparable to a single malt scotch. Hubby loved that one. Our server was super knowledgable, patient with all of our questions, and the tasting came with some delicious homemade sausage and cheese. We were so lucky to stumble upon this place I had to share it!

Brouwerij ‘t Ij

If you’re one of those people who only like IPAs and judge a brewery based on how they do that one style, you probably shouldn’t travel to Europe (although their IPAs are getting good). If, however, you like various types of beer and are interested in trying what the locals stick with, come to Brouwerij’t Ij, which translates to “Brewery at the Ij” – a river. It’s a brewery in a windmill, so there’s that cool aspect, but it’s definitely a “mecca” for beer geeks from all over the world. The reason? It’s delicious.

Brouwerij't IJ, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Brouwerij’t Ij has a great mix of traditional and modern, with their decor and their beer. One of my favorites that we tried was the Ij Brett – a seasonal with wild yeast and super refreshing. They’ve also got snacks like cheese and peanuts, do brewery tours, and have a little gear shop to buy sweatshirts and glasses and things. Friday afternoon the patio will be pretty busy and you may see the occasional bachelor party. Sit back, relax, and Prost!

Brouwerij't IJ, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Brouwerij't IJ, Amsterdam, Netherlands

There are many small breweries in Amsterdam, or restaurants that have one or two of their own on tap, but if you’re looking to try a lot of different things in one place and experience some local gems, I recommend these.

Any other Amsterdam drink suggestions? Let me know!

Lydia Jane


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