A trip to Amsterdam is always a welcome excursion, not least because of the city's beery treasure. Unfortunately, this particular visit wasn't as jam-packed with beer activity as previous ones which, coupled with the disastrous closing of the Bierkoning on the last day, had a tragic effect on the return leg's suitcase.
Thankfully I'd picked up a few bottles in the Bierkoning for the stay itself, so all was not lost.
First up is Bierkoning special Vlo. This is a typical IJ beer in that it delivers a generous amount of coriander and lemongrass on the nose to introduce what seems to me to be a bitter, spicy blonde. There are some sugary malts underneath, mainly expressed through candied apricot and peach, but the beer remains largely in the arena of IJ's special, spiced and fruity way of doing things. Delicious.
There wasn't much Motueka Pale Ale left on the shelf which suggested to me that this limited edition beer, also from IJ, had something special going on. The first sniff verified this; a gorgeous shedload of oily pine needle and bitter tropical fruit attacks the nose in the nicest way possible, showing flashes of grapefruit pith and mango atop orange and lemon marmalade. The palate is equally spoiled by a bright and bitter hop attack to the fore delivering citrus peel, pine needle and some lingering tutti-frutti, balanced by some light marmaladey sweetness and carried on a pillowy, medium-full body. Noticeably absent is the IJ's classic spice/yeast profile, making this a clean-cut hop forward pale ale of Howling Gale proportions.
Yet another IJ special next, this time a collaboration with De Molen. This 9% DIPA is not wholly unlike the Motueka in that there's plenty of punchy tropical fruit on the nose. Lemon sherbert and a soft, earthy roundness is the difference. It's beautiful to taste too, being quite smooth and balanced with plenty of round toffee malt beneath some US-style pine and peel stuff. Unlike the Motueka, this beer does have the IJ's characteristic herbal, spicy-sweet fruitiness, making it a highly complex and enjoyable drinking experience.
My timing was atrocious for this particular trip, so I ended up being pretty lucky to stop by the Beer Temple at opening time on the last day.
I just had two halves, the first of which was Fort Point Villager. This Californian IPA tastes very much like an IPA from California; grapefruit skins and the typical pine/peel profile is perfectly executed, balanced beautifully by mango, apricot and candied pineapple. A gorgeous IPA at a reasonable 6.5%.
|Beertography by The Sober Destrier|
I brought a few bottles home, but thanks to my leaving the beer-shopping to the last hour of the last day, only one of them was Dutch. The rest were readily available Belgian beers for whose cheapness I couldn't leave behind. I'll get to those bottles next.