Amsterdam Brewery: Free tours of the Brouwerij ‘t Ij
Amsterdam’s “Brouwerij ‘t Ij” brewery has been serving up a selection of Belgian-style organic brews since 1985. Located in an eastern corner of the city, the brewery is worth the trip for those seeking flavorful, fresh beer at a surprisingly low cost.
Plus, if you swing by Brouwerij ‘t Ij on Fridays, you can take a free guided tour!
The Brouwerij ‘t Ij stands beside an enormous, classic Dutch windmill once used for grinding oats. (Now a private residence, the windmill serves as a helpful landmark for those looking for the brewery.) As for the brewery, it was once a large bathhouse, yet the only remains of its soapy past are the old tiled walls inside.
The brewery was founded by Kasper Peterson, a Dutch citizen who spent years as a “beer engineer” in Belgium. Peterson’s first beer creation was the floral, blonde tripel named Zatte, a Dutch term for being “a bit drunk” — and still available on tap.
While the Brouwerij ‘t Ij’s logo is a humorous cartoon ostrich standing in a desert with a windmill in the background, the name “Brouwerij ‘t Ij” literally translates to “brewery on the Ij” due to its location near the Ij River.
The brewery produces only about 200,000 liters per year, a small amount compared to Heineken’s massive 220 million liters.
Cozy and beer buzzy
An assortment of beer enthusiasts flock to the “‘t Ij” brewery on sunny, warm weekends to sample the beers, snack away, and chill out. Tourists, locals, and families brew up a chatty environment, and the staff is a friendly bunch of connoisseurs who honestly enjoy their job. It’s a relaxed and pleasing setting for even the quietest of introverts: everyone has a new best friend after a few rounds at Brouwerij ‘t Ij.
Inside, the decor includes a sizable collection of beer bottles from around the world. Old photos of windmills, ostriches, random faces, and news clippings are pinned above the beer-logged tables. (There will never be enough coasters to keep the counters clean, so stay outside if you can’t handle the scent of stale beer!)
A pure and simple beer recipe
Regardless of beer type, the Brouwerij ‘t Ij’s recipes strictly adhere to just three organic ingredients: water, hops, and malted barley. Yeast acts as a natural preservative and filtering system, making additives unnecessary, and giving the beer a cloudy, smooth, and frothy body.
Following the introduction of “Zatte,” Brouwerij ‘t Ij has added six Belgian-style beers available on tap year-round, plus a few seasonal specials. The list includes:
Plzen: A light Czech pilsner. Cost: €1.90. (ABV: 5%)
Natte: Dubbel and mildly bitter. Cost: €2.20. (ABV: 6.5%)
Ijwit: Citrusy wheat beer. Cost: €2.20. (ABV: 7%)
Zatte: Tripel with a floral aroma. Cost: €2.20. (ABV: 8%)
Columbus: Bittersweet amber. Cost: €2.40. (ABV: 9%)
Struis: Dark stout-like ale. Cost: €2.70. (ABV: 9%)
The Brouwerij ‘t Ij will be interesting to anyone who considers themselves a beer devotee. It will be enjoyed by anyone who wants to sample the Dutch tradition of sipping something bubbly while relaxing in the sun with friends.
Free tours every Friday
Guided tours revealing the ins and outs of the brewery are offered for free on Fridays by the current brewmaster. Tours start at 4 PM.
And don’t worry–you won’t go hungry. Trappist cheeses dipped in beer, sliced salami meats, and local sheep cheeses are a few of the snacks served while sipping the aromatic brews.
Brouwerij ‘t Ij
Transportation: Tram 10 and 14
Phone +(31)(0) 20 6228325
Open daily: 3 PM – 8 PM
More information is available on the brewery’s website.
Heineken Experience (The Official Tour)
Trams: 7, 10, 16, 24 and 25
Phone +(31)(0) 20 5239222
Hours: 11 AM – 7 PM, daily
Tour prices: €15 (no discounts given, except for groups, in advance)