Amsterdam windmill brewery draws crowds

Wandering the streets of Amsterdam, you might wonder why the city has such a long-held connection to windmills. You'd be hard pressed to find any of the wooden centrepieces beyond cliche ceramic souvineires - until you head to the east side of town.

Nestled on the water at Zeeburgerdijk swings the huge blades of Amsterdam's only windmill. But next door is where the action is, at the organic craft brew centre, Brouwerij 't IJ.

The brewery is so close to the windmill, that locals and travellers alike identify the drinking establishment as simply the 'windmill bar.' And what a bar it is!

Boasting homemade, organic brews made on location, the bar is akin to a tasting house where beer enthusiasts sample their five standard, unfiltered, unpasteurised and top-fermented brews.

The brewery also produces four seasonal beers as well as a handful of specialty varieties throughout the year.

Beers range from the hoppy blonde Plzen (5%) to the red double Natte (6.5%) and the ultra strong amber Columbus (9%). All pair excellently with the brewery's small list of traditional Dutch beer snacks, including peanuts, meatballs and cheese cubes.

Throughout the summer, it isn't uncommon to see the outdoor terrace bustling with drinkers. Their chatter is usually accompanied by live bands ranging from rock to reggae and even classic tunes.

The bar inside is ultra cosy, with groupies sharing long picnic tables and becoming fast friends with fellow drinkers.

Converted from a public bathhouse in 1985, the brewery has a fascinating history. Daily tours take visitors through the brewing facilities where the barmen put on their guide hats and reveal quirky anectdotes about the beer's rise to fame.

Brouwerij 't IJ is the best kept secret in Amsterdam. The trek out east will show you a whole new part of the city, introduce you to a great flavoured beer and - of course - it's an unbeatable photo opportunity!


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