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Beer Drinking In Amsterdam, Netherlands

Beer Festivals
Best Beer Bars
Bottle Shops
Breweries and Brewpubs
Drinking Laws

Amsterdam is an amazing place for beer lovers given its close proximity to Belgium. Belgian, Dutch, and other European beers are everywhere. Many of the bars are very old and have a lot of history, making this a very educational destination for beer drinking. The best time to visit is during the spring and summer months when most bars and restaurants offer outdoor seating.

Amsterdam Beer Festivals:
PINT Bokbierfestival - This is the Netherlands largest beer event and is held annually at Beurs van Berlage at the end of October. As the name suggests, this festival is dedicated to Bock beers and there are usually over 50 to be tried. In 2004, there were 58 beers 51 of which were Dutch. 70,000 people attended the 3 day festival in 2004.

Meibokfestival - Since 1997 this beer festival has been held around the end of April. It is located at the Brouewerij De Prael and showcases a variety of bock beers from around Europe.

Amsterdam Beer Bars:
Where do I start? Amsterdam has no shortage of nightlife or bars and too many good ones to list here. Brown Cafes are a must visit and are the equivalent of a neighborhood dive bar. These are some incredibly old bars and they usually have quite a few of the local beers on tap. Below are some of the best bars for beer drinking.

Beer Temple
Nieuwezijds voorburgwal 250
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1012 RR
The Beer Temple claims to be the first American beer bar in Europe with 30 draft beers and 60+ beers in bottles.

Café Belgique
Gravenstraat 2
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1012 NM
Located behind the Nieuwe Kerk, this small bar offers 8 draught beers and 40-50 bottled. As the name would suggest, this is a great place to go if you are interested in Belgian ales.

Cafe de Spuyt
Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 86
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1017 RD
Located in the touristy Leidseplein, this legitimate beer bar has 6 beers on tap and around 180 in bottles.

Cafe Gollem
Raamsteeg 4
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1012 VZ
This is a well known brown cafe near Dam Square that has 9 beers on tap and around 150 in bottles. It is probably the most likely place that you will find the elusive Westvleteren (although they are often out) with the exception of the Cracked Kettle bottle shop across the street. Their bartenders are very knowledgeable and friendly.

Café `t Arendsnest
Herengracht 90
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1015 BS
This bar specializes in Dutch beers and has 30 on tap and around 120 in bottles.

Cafe Westerdok
Westerdoksdijk 715/A
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1013 BX
Sports 10 taps and around 70 bottles.

De Beiaard
Spui 30
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1012 XA
This bar located in the Spui district has a great selection of European beers including a few from local brewery De Bekeerde Suster.

De Zotte
Raamstraat 29
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1016 XL
About 130 beers available, mostly Belgian.

Het Elfde Gebod
Zeedijk 5
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1012 AN
Not only is this a very beautiful, cozy bar, but they also have a nice Belgian beer selection - about 5 on tap and over 50 bottled.

In De Wildeman
Kolksteeg 3
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1012 PT
This bar is located in a small alley about halfway between Central Station and Dam Square. Usually you will find about 17 beers on tap and 200 bottled. This is one of the best bars for beer lovers.

Bottle Shops:
Most stores such as Albert Heijn have a good selection of regional brews and it will take you a while to lose interest in their selections. If you are looking for something harder to find, you should be able to locate it at one of the stores below.

Bert's Bierhuis
Ravenswade 88
(030) 280 00 07
Located in Old-West Amsterdam, this beer store carries around 800 beers from all over the world.

Bier & Zo
An online beer store that will deliver beer, usually the next day. Over 600 beers to choose from.

BierKonking (Beer King)
Paleisstraat 125
(020) 625 23 36
Located behind Dam Square, this beer store has around 1,100 beers in stock, and tons of glassware and other accessories. This is the most likely place to find Westvleteren beers in Amsterdam.

Slijterij Wijnhandel Menno Boorsma
Ferdinand Bolstraat 112
(020) 679 33 04
Located in the Oude Pijp neighborhood, what this store lacks in quantity, it makes up for in selection.

Breweries and Brewpubs:
There are 9 brewers in Amsterdam as follows:

Amsterdamsche Stoombierbrouwerij De Bekeerde Suster
Butcher’s Tears
Brouwerij De Prael
Brouwerij 't IJ
Brouwerij de 7 Deugden
Brouwerij Zeeburg
De Bierfabriek
De Snaterende Arend

Drinking Laws:
The drinking age in Amsterdam is an unbelievably low 16 years old for beer and wine. For liquor, you must be 18. To my knowledge, there are no laws governing the hours that alcohol can be sold. The latest most bars are open is 1am on weekdays and 3am on weekends, although there are sometime exceptions. Bars in the Red Light District will tend to be open the latest. Drinking and driving is a serious criminal offense and will result in fines and a possible license suspension. The limit is 0.05% and includes riding bicycles. Despite Amsterdam's relaxed laws, you cannot have open containers in the street.

Learn more about Amsterdam

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