Unexpected surprises abound in Amsterdam. On the city's east side, you'll find one denoted by a tall windmill: Brouwerij 't IJ (the IJ Brewery), a small brewery and pub situated in the former Funen bathhouse, next to the De Gooyer windmill. Opened in1985 by former musician Kaspar Peterson, Brouweij 't Ij prides itself on a large selection of unfiltered, non-pasteurized beers and seasonal offerings. All are certified organic and made on the premises.
Belly up to the bar next to the big mill and order your beer from a chilled tank. Follow the scent of hops onto the large outdoor terrace, where you can enjoy your brew with an order of peanuts, boiled eggs, abbey-made cheese, salami, ossenworst from Slagerij de Wit or Skeapsrond cheese from Dikhoeve Farm. The adjacent pub serves more substantial meals, as well as drinks and snacks. In addition to beer, Brouwerij 't Ij's menu includes wine and non-alcoholic beverages. Guided tours are offered on weekends.
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The Windmill Brewery in Amsterdam
While in Amsterdam we visited Brouwerij ‘t Ij, also known as the windmill brewery. We arrived just in time for their Friday afternoon tour.
The brewery is a casual, small business alternative to the Heineken Experience if you are looking to sample Dutch beer and tour a brewery while in Amsterdam. The tour guide was relaxed and funny. In addition to the standard tour info he shared fun facts, like the brewery was formerly a public bathhouse and the long history of how it got its name.
After the tour you can order the flight to try out five of their beers. Our favorites were the Zatte and Columbus. On a crowded day there is ample outdoor seating, but if you are averse to cigarette smoke you’ll want to wait for a spot to open up inside.