Fortunately now I’m far enough from the city centre to escape the persistent Bob Marley soundtrack – here in Asperius Brewery’s taproom, Cafe Zest, we listen to chilled out rap.
Another upshot of being a little further from the tourist hotspots is that it’s much quieter here. At 6pm, I’m the only person in the bar. Whether that’s a good or a bad sign remains to be seen.
IPA, 6.6%, 4.80EUR
I start with Asperius’s IPA, which pours a pale, slightly cloudy brown with a very lively head. Fortunately my host spots this and tops me up.
The aroma is very hop-forward, with herbaceous notes, biscuit, and ginger. It smells ever so slightly funky, and distinctly American in style.
More of that ginger biscuit on the palate, with a rounded, caramel sweetness to the body, but it’s marred by a dry, floral mealiness – it tastes a bit like how pot pourri smells. The finish is warm and alcoholic. Not a bad beer, but not especially memorable either. 3/5
Hell Yes, 5.5%, 4.50EUR
Moving down the menu I get stuck into Asperius’s helles, a pale gold, slightly cloudy light beer.
The aroma is starchy, and slightly sour in a similar way to dry cider – Savannah, perhaps, rather than the proper cider you buy in unmarked plastic cartons from a pissed up Somerset farmer.
Given the smell, the flavours come as a bit of a surprise. It’s very smooth, softly carbonated with lagerish esters dominating – banana, mostly. It’s got that edges-sanded-off feel of a Coors or a Fosters, rather than any real flavour, sadly. A bit like they’ve taken a stronger beer and watered it down. 1/5
Unfortunately the beer they’re serving at Cafe Zest doesn’t seem to be up to scratch based on what I’ve tried. But the atmosphere is far lovelier than the central city bars in Amsterdam, with a more mature approach to the design and music than the reggae-dominated pubs in the centre. For that, and the tasty looking food menu, Cafe Zest might be worth a visit. Purely for the beer though? Perhaps not.