Beers of Amsterdam – Bier Fabriek

I am already deeply suspicious of any venue that makes its staff wear a uniform. Having spent seven years at quasi-military boarding school wearing several variations on British Royal Navy uniform, I have an unusually acute ability to sense when your clothing restrictions are necessary and when they’re enforced to make sure everyone looks sufficiently kitsch.

In this particular case, with the checked shirts and braces, the owners should probably check what their employees think and brace themselves for some assertive feedback.

In other circumstances I might view the monkey nut shells carpeting the floor as a quaint nod to times gone by, when Dutch sailors roamed the streets quenching their thirst before a long night in the red light district. Combined with the uniforms, however, it contributes to a general tourist trap ambience. If I weren’t here on a research assignment I’d be out looking for better options.

Puur, 5.2%, 3.00EUR

An unfiltered, unpasteuristed pilsner, Puur sounds like it has the potential to be pretty good. Having walked briskly to get here, I’m looking forward to something that will quench my thirst.

Check out the entirely intentional jaunty angle

Straw yellow and somewhat cloudy, Puur looks worryingly like the first pee of the day. How’s that for efficiency? It looks the same going it as it does coming out.

On the tongue it’s smooth and refreshing – there’s a hint of buttered popcorn, and a pleasant roundness to the mouthfeel. I didn’t arrive expecting to enjoy this beer, but before I know it I’ve drunk the whole thing and I’m ready to order another.

It’s simple, but it’s certainly not bad. A great thirst-quencher on a hot day or after a long walk, but if you’re looking for a little more complexity you may need to look beyond. 3/5

Rossi, 5.6% 3.50EUR

After wolfing the pilsner, I feel like I should try something with a little more flavour to it – and so I end up on the red beer, a Bier Fabriek brew named Rossi.

Shamefully I must admit I added my peanut shells to the pile on the floor. When in Rome…

It comes out copper with a head that doubles in size immediately after the beer is handed to its drinker – if I need a reminder of the flavour I can always suck on my sleeve.

The Rossi maintains that buttery, ester flavour we spotted in the Puur earlier without adding all that much. There’s a touch of bitterness from the Czech hops they’ve added, but I can only find those because I’m specifically searching for them. It tastes a bit like a pilsner in unconvincing fancy dress, like my last attempt at drag. 1/5

Venue

Bier Fabriek feels touristy and tacky. It’s probably fine for big groups looking to tank up before heading to the Red Light District nearby, but if you like to enjoy your beer in a pleasant atmosphere there are better options available. If you aren’t on a stag or hen, I’d head elsewhere.

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