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1989 Amsterdam


Paul, Ray, Mick and Dave.


Visit to the Bokbier Festival.


Amsterdam, Bokbier, Artis (Zoo), Alfa, Brand



The flight to Schipol was delayed and the pilot demonstrated how to make it up - you go straight up then straight down - whilst the attendants struggled to serve drinks, breakfast and duty free in a 45 minute flight. Still we arrived safely and after taking the train into Amsterdam Central walked the 3kms to our hotel - De Stadhouder. Time to get our bearings and try out the Dutch café bars around Rembrandts Plein until the early hours.


Although not centrally located, the hotel was handy for one attraction- it was in the next block to the Heineken Brewery. The brewery occupies a large site, which over the years has been hemmed in by other developments. With no room for expansion and the transport difficulties presented by an inner city location, Heineken have switched brewing away from Amsterdam to a mega chemical plant out in the country. The original brewery does however still have brewery tours, and ours ended with the obligatory free tasting. Fortunately, the Americans amongst us were not beer drinkers, so we helped them out.

We carried on our investigations of the various types of Dutch cafes (including the obligatory gay bar with full tongue kissing) building up our appetite for an Indonesian Rice Table, as recommended by Ray. We had still got no further to the city centre than Rembrants Plein, but had found the owner of a bar near our hotel who knew where to continue drinking locally after he closed at 2.00 am.


Time for the Artis (Zoo), the location of the Bokbier Festival. In Holland, the Bock beer season runs from the beginning of October until stocks run out towards the end of November and most Dutch breweries participate. Dutch bock is generally a bottom fermented dark lager but a few of the regional/minor brewers produce top fermented ales. ABV’s start around 6.5% and go up to over 11%. Along with the majors - Heineken, Amstel, Oranjeboom and Grolsch - some of the regional brewers, such as Alfa and Brand were also there; about 12 brewers in all attended. These beers were not universally liked, but we gave them a go.

This day we did make the city centre and it was whilst enjoying a beer on Dam Square we were befriended by Art Bos a local shop owner. Art offered to take us on a tour of the nearby area and gain us free entry into one of the cabaret clubs. Although we were somewhat sceptical at first, Art was true to his word, and we spent a very entertaining night at one of the clubs, which line Achterburg Wal.


Amsterdam, as well as having over 1200 cafes, is also well served with museums. For a more leisurely day we ventured down Stadhouderskade to the museum area. Unfortunately the queue for the Van Gogh museum stretched into the distance. Disheartened the majority of the group went back to the hotel leaving the tour leader to visit the Rijksmuseum on his own.

The trip was almost at an end but there was still time left for one of the group to fall asleep on the pizza restaurant toilet.


Arriving at Gatwick we were concerned when our bags did not arrive at baggage reclaim. It transpired that as we had booked in early the bags had gone on an earlier flight and when unclaimed were just left in a corner of the baggage hall!

Created on 01/21/2006 12:25 PM by drinking
Updated on 01/22/2006 09:55 AM by drinking
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