It's been eight years since I spent the summer drinking too much beer (and doing a little bit of chemistry research) in Amsterdam. I still remember the taste of my first small, cold, foamy beer. On my most recent return visit I found some time to drop in to one of my favourite haunts: Brouwerij 't IJ, a brewery situated in a windmill. The beers here are strong and liable to have you up in the middle of the night sweating if you overindulge but that doesn't usually stop me. The bar part of the brewery is a good bit bigger than it used to be and with the addition of the tables outside there is no need to sit on the ground by the river/canal anymore.
Even after four months living in Amsterdam, my dutch is limited to "bar speak" as my dutch friend Jitte witheringly told me at the weekend. Oh well, I'm quite proud of my ability to order beer and say the classic phrase: "Eentje maar voor de smaak" (just a small one for the taste). The tasting tray was the perfect way to get reacquainted with a whole selection of small ones; my favourites being the Zatte, Natte and the Ijwit (wheat beer). A few more slightly larger ones were had as the afternoon wore on - a perfect day in Amsterdam.
I've spotted bottles of Brouwerij 't IJ beer at Bacchanalia on Mill Rd in Cambridge but if you can, get yourself to Amsterdam and experience the Brouwerij 't IJ for yourself. This Fabulous Friday I raise a (small) glass to my favourite beer spot: Proost!