Going for a pint in Amsterdam has been a must-do for centuries. Building on these strong traditions, the city has recently seen a revival of top-quality craft breweries. On this 3-hour walk, we tap straight into the story of brewing in Amsterdam, from ale and lager to distilled spirits. With the help of a local expert, this Amsterdam beer tour takes you beyond your previous experience with Dutch beer (Heineken, e.g.). It introduces you to the breadth of quality Dutch craft brewing and what this can tell us about the cultural and social history of Amsterdam—think craft beer tasting meets history tour through the streets and pubs of Amsterdam.
Amsterdam Beer Tour
Amsterdam is known for its nightlife, and rightly so. As a historical port city, the harbor once welcomed sailors seeking the pleasures of the Red Light District. Today's visitors are more likely to be celebrating a bachelor party or enjoying a weekend getaway in this city known for its relaxed regulations and tolerant social policies. (If you want to learn more about this neighborhood, our Red Light District Tour
can help.) But beneath the debauchery and indulgence is nightlife as the Dutch really do it: casual and locally brewed.
Our tour begins on the Zeedijk. Today, this street forms the gentle arc of the border to the Red Light District, but it is the historical location of the old "sea dike." In fact, the dike's construction in the early 1200s was instrumental in allowing Amsterdam to develop as an urban center. We'll actually be standing in front of a bar that itself has a history nearly as old as the city: Cafe In 't Aepjen. Having survived the 15th-century fire that leveled the rest of the city, it is a strong contender for Amsterdam's oldest bar. Old recipes dating back to the Middle Ages are still in use at some breweries today, and we'll have the chance along this tour to try traditional Dutch beer. The interior of 't Aepjen is also brimming with odd objects, many with their own legends—like the story behind the pub's name, which translates to "In the Monkeys."
(Want to go more in depth into how Amsterdam's economic star rose as a European capital? Our tour on the Dutch Golden Age Tour
is the walk for that.)
Continuing along our route, we'll visit a selection of favorite local bars and food stops to different brews and typical snacks. The small size of our group means that we can find a table at the kind of places that locals really go themselves, so we'll take advantage of this. The pubs themselves have often been the backdrop for social movements, known as gathering places for figures across the political spectrum.
There's also a beer for every palate on a different sort of spectrum: golden blondes, complex IPAs, and full-bodied wheat ales, among many others. To keep ourselves energized for the evening of tasting, we'll try simple pub fare along the way as well. Depending on how adventurous you're feeling, we might try sausage, fresh herring, and fries the way Amsterdammers like them. We'll also stop for a Kroket, a deep-fried Dutch guilty pleasure.
A Genuine "Jenever City"
There's another side to Amsterdam's brewing tradition that cannot be left out: jenever. This distilled spirit, lightly scented of juniper berry, comes in subtle colors from golden to clear. Depending on whether it is oude or jonge, old or young jenever, which is determined by the method of distillation, the liquor takes on very different tasting notes. We'll have the chance to choose from a whole menu, including distilled fruit versions. The tulip-shaped glass will be placed on the counter in front of us, full to the brim. That's our cue to "bow" to the jenever and bend down for the first sip.
During our exploration of Amsterdam brewing culture, we'll learn how the Dutch drink (and eat), and try the local favorites for ourselves. But we'll also dive deep into the social history behind these streets, pubs, distilleries, and bars. By the time we finish, we'll have a sense of how life has been lived out in these streets over the centuries and how traditions persist today.
Where do we meet?
The tour starts in the area near Central Station. Your confirmation email will have the exact meeting point, as well as our 24 hour number.
Are there gluten-free options available for this tour?
Unfortunately, this walk is not well-suited to those with gluten restrictions. We may be able to arrange an experience on a custom basis. Please inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is it possible to book for more than 6 people?
Yes - but the route of the tour will be adapted. This tour visits several small, intimate venues, some of which simply can't accommodate large groups. For groups of larger than 6, please inquire at email@example.com for advice about alternative options.