I was back in Amsterdam last weekend and found a place that sold bottled versions of beer from the fantastic Brouwerij’t Ij, a quirky little brewpub which I’ve review previously (see “Best beer in Amsterdam”). Between drowning my BlackBerry in that horrendous Dutch rain and seeing Tom Petty in concert (with surprise guest Eddie Vedder, yes, it was awesome since you ask, although I was forced to drink Heineken), I decided to do a triple-header of Brouwerij’t Ij beer.
While they all conform to that North European style of beer (all a little cloudy with that floral style) they do tend to be a little mid-Atlantic in that they hop themselves up and the branding is also wonderfully contemporary. All the brewery’s beers are unfiltered, unpasteurised and top-fermented, which means you’re not drinking bottom-fermented lager! Hoorah!
On with the beer…
I presume this is named after the dual-purpose Columbus hop, which is used by brewers both as a bitterer early in the boil and to give aroma late on. It is meant to effuse a strong earthy and spicy flavour, and there’s plenty of strength in this beer too, weighing in at a whopping 9% ABV.
The colour lets the beer down a little – it’s murky brown – although the pungent malty/citrus nose kind of dispels the disappointment. The texture of the beer is smooth, which is good, and there are a multitude of different bitter-sweet flavours which are hard to pin down, but there is a hint of strawberry, for sure.
It’s OK, this one. If you’re into a fruity European style beer then you might find a handy companion in the Columbus, but be wary that it’ll blow your head off.
According to Babelfish, the online translator, “natte” means “wet” in Dutch. Another 100% organic beer a very much in the Trappist style, Natte is one of Brouwerij’t Ij’s oldest brews and uses a “soft bitter hop” and 20% caramel malt content. I was taught that beer should only include 10% non-pale malts so that seems fairly hardcore. It’s probably the reason for its red-brown, rusty murkiness.
At 6.5% it’s one of the brewery’s lighter offerings and has a very bubbly head. The floral hops try and fight the malty nose and there’s a slight chocolate hit and a little fruit but not spectacular this one.
“Struis” means “ostrich” in Dutch, which is part of the company’s emblem. The company says this 9% beer is a “great beer to drink during lunch” – not a working lunch I hope, as it could render you a useless gigging wreck for the rest of the day!
It’s moodily dark in colour and there’s a light iron nose. It is wonderfully full-bodied and a smooth, sweet iron tang to it. Very satisfying, my favourite of the three and if you like your dark European beers seek this out in Amsterdam.Tweet