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Day Two: Exploring Amsterdam

April 23, 2012

Harpoon brewer Matt DeLuca (who recently brewed the 100 Barrel Series #40 Black IPA), along with 20 other Harpoon employees, is hanging out in Europe this week! He’ll be blogging about their experience in The Netherlands this week – so stay tuned!

Although most of us were stunned and a bit over tired when we landed in Amsterdam, the mood was bright and the energy was high.  We were able to drop off our luggage at the hotel, but couldn’t get into our rooms that early, so different groups broke off to start chipping away at what Amsterdam had to offer.

My group managed to find it’s way up along one of the canals to a sturdy little drinking hole that happened to have cheap breakfast options.  Grolsh was the beer of choice here with a side of scrambled eggs.

Amsterdam is an incredible city.  I can’t say that enough. What amazes me the most about it is how perfect the architecture is…for miles the city just sprawls out and every street and every stone is meticulously placed and the canals add a sophisticated charm.

After our first few hours free we met back at the hotel to go to the original Henieken Brewery, which is located just blocks from our hotel.  The Henieken Experience, aptly named because of it’s tourist-driven appeal, was actually pretty great.  It was basically an interactive museum complete with the original 200+ hectoliter brewhouse, brew-centric arcades, and even a motion-odyseey type movie ride describing the brewing process which is what I really enjoyed the most.  The ‘Experience’ was capped off with a few fresh Heniekens in the brewery’s pub.

After the Experience the majority of us walked to a nearby beer bar that offered outdoor seating which was what we looking for since the weather had really improved.  Here we drank a bunch of Palm and Grolsh and haphazardly met a local guy who happened to be a technician from Henieken.  Apparently he saw us all come in with our Harpoon jackets and then curiously googled ‘Harpoon Brewery’.  Dan and Rich’s picture showed up, which was pretty funny, and some good conversation ensued.

After that I managed to sneak away with a smaller group up the street a bit, to a beer bar called “Bier Temple” which was awesome.  They had an incredible array of European and US craft beers for sale and a very enthusiastic staff.  I was surprised by how potent the US craft beer market is over here and how European drinkers are in to them.  It was a really good feeling to walk in and see the respect.

Our first night in Amsterdam was fun to say the least.  Everyone did their own thing and we lost a lot of people to sleep deprivation and over-indulgence. I met a couple of Israeli’s at an Irish pub and they directed me to a cool live music venue in the square near my hotel.  The city was jumping and the beer was fresh.

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