Monthly Archives: September 2007

PHILLIES! PHILLIES! PHILLIES!

Is there no way for me to enlarge the font?  I’d like to be in giant letters, proclaiming the citywide awesome with vigor and volume to anyone who enters my webspace. 

The wildcard is for pussies.  We’re going for the division. 

Hamels, still recovering from injury, starts tonight, the first game of a 3 game SEASON.  The Mets play the Fish, and the Phils play the Nats, but both teams are really facing each other.  The division might take 90 wins.  It’ll almost certainly take at least 89, even with the Mets floundering. 

The Phils have gotten solid pitching the past 2 games, from Lohse and Kendrick and won solid, but fairly close victories.  Tonight, I want a Roman triumph.  I want to win by such a margin that the Mets, who have been in first place for the past 159 games, feel like they can’t catch the team they’re tied with, whether they win or lose. 

I want Murphy’s Law in Shea Stadium.  I want a divine hand at the Bank. 

I’ll be at the game tonight, with Mrs Thursday, and the Brothers Thursday.  I’ll be there on Sunday as well.  It’s Papa Thursday’s birthday.  With a little luck, Sunday won’t be about drama and competetition.  With a little luck, the Phils will just have a day  to celebrate their first postseason birth in 14 years, and their second since I was born. 

With just a little more luck…

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Dead Media

The New York Times long-lived, and world famous slogan is, “All the news that’s fit to print”.  Interestingly, they’ve taken this to a new level recently, having decided that a full page advertisement for MoveOn.org, which attacks US Army Chief of Staff General David Petraeus, was so fit for printing that it deserved at 54% discount

The NYT normally charges $142,000 for a full page advertisement.  MoveOn’s attack ad only cost the organization $65,000.  Naturally, Republican politicians (as well as the usual crew of Republic talking heads) are declaring their disgust for MoveOn and for the NYT.   Democrats, meanwhile, are sidestepping.  According to the above-linked article from the Washington Post, Sen. Hillary Clinton said that she does not approve of attack advertisements, but she would not criticize MoveOn. 

The New York Times has been beset by scandal after scandal for the past several years.  In the meanwhile, the writing has suffered, the journalism has become shallow, yellow, and repetitive, and the political bias which was, I think, once a myth, appears to be coming true. 

For Democrats, MoveOn works as a parallel mechanism to Fox News.  It reaches a large fanbase, hysterically opposing the “other side”, and has the ability to influence a lot of voters on political issues.  Especially voters who are too dumb, lazy, or closed-minded to consider the alternatives to their predispossed beliefs.  To be honest, I’m occasionally entertained by Fox News (Hannity is some kind of comic genius.  His treatment of Colmes is reminscent of the way a 1980s action movie hero dispatches lesser baddies).  I cannot recall ever being entertained by MoveOn.  Nonetheless, they do their thing, as Fox does theirs, and they’re really not to blame here.

Whoever allowed MoveOn to get a $77,000 discount deserves to be fired, and frankly, if I were the editor of The Podunk County Times, I wouldn’t give the man a job. 

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Ah, autumn!

The air is getting cooler–at night, it’s almost downright cold in Philadelphia.  Each day is a little shorter.  The leaves are beginning to change their colors.  The birds are beginning to fly south for warmer weather.  The air is beginning to get a sweet smell from leaves biodegrading and from mothers firing up their ovens for the first time in a few months to bake their children cookies.  Children who will then head out for high school and college, and attend class, and go out afterwards and get recklessly, hopelessly, intoxicated. 

A few of them will get drunk enough to do something stupid.  They’ll jump out of windows and break arms and legs, or pick fights with people far too large for them.  They’ll drive and run red lights and get into accidents.  Of course, the same can be said of almost any age group, but it’s no surprise that it’s the underaged who find themselves in the most trouble, in regards to alcohol. 

When I was underage, drinking was facilitated through a number of means.  First, almost always could an older sibling or friend be found to purchase alcohol with our dollars.  The actual acquisition of alcohol for an underage drinker is remarkably easy.  The summer after my 19th birthday, I estimated that I spent approximately one-thousand American dollars on cheap beer and liquor, for myself and my two closest friends, as well as anyone who cared to come to our parties. 

A bigger problem, frequently, was location.  Unlike the of-age crowd, we could not go to bars, if we wanted to, and we didn’t own homes for ourselves.  So, during the summer, we became professional house-sitters.  You’re going on vacation?  Yes, I’d love to stay in your home, clean-up, feed your dogs, and throw gatherings for myself and only 25-50 friends and all the Beast Ice I can afford.  Oh, and you’ll pay me for this?  Lovely. 

When no empty house was available, people resorted to less trusty means.  The most popular method was to travel to the home of some whose parents were heavy sleepers, and early to bed.  Once they sleep, their blessed son calls everybody and within 45 minutes, there’s 50-100 people in the woods behind the house, drinking out of plastic cups.  In fact, houses with woods were always popular places to drink, because even if drinking inside was popular, in the event of a police visit, where does everyone run to?  The woods.  Run to the woods.  Hang out for 30 minutes.  Come back.  Keep drinking.  [In fact, I have a fantastic story regarding this very event, but Mrs Thursday has informed me that this story is not to be repeated where certain parties can find it until 2027.  So, keep reading.  In less than two decades, we’ll get that story to you.] 

Now, personally, I believe that the stupidity of underage drinking almost always occurs because the drinking age is 21, and since parents are liable for their children’s indiscretions, most parents are justifiably unwilling to facilitate underage drinking, even if they, too, disagree with the law.  The common, pithy remark from people who support a lower drinking age goes something like, “At 18 you’re old enough to vote for President, or die for your country, but you can’t sit down with a cold beer.”  It’s not a bad quote.  It does show some confusion regarding what the US Government thinks needs the wisdom of age to do.  However, it’s oft repeated, and while it shows that the law is silly, it fails to show that the law is dangerous.  The fact the the 21 drinking age is dangerous is what people need to see, if anything is to change. 

Why dangerous?  Because of the method of introduction.  Sociologists and psychologists and other people who study high schoolers gauge that the two biggest influences in their lives are their friends, and their parents.  These are people that little Billy has known for most of his life.  There is an inherent trust–even as things may be hostile between a parent and a child, most children can admit that their parents generally look out for them.  However, children are forced to avoid their parents in order to have alcohol.  So they go to their friends, whom they trust almost equally, and who aren’t going to judge them or prohibit their activities.  These friends, however, are ignorant.  At least, they’re no less ignorant than Billy.  And they end up drinking foolishly, irresponsibly, whatever, because there is no one to keep them in check, or teach them responsible drinking. 

Then the child graduates high school, and goes on to college, and all those trusted relationships are gone.  At least, they’re placed on hold.  New relationships are formed, and, at least, at first, they’re not as trustworthy.  Most of the kids who didn’t drink in high school start drinking as freshmen in college.  Again, because they can only obtain alcohol illegally, they drink cheap, disgusting drinks, and drink them quickly, and in large quantities.  When you’re under 21, you only drink to get drunk.  You can’t relax with a beer because, after all, you’re drinking in the woods.

Most of the lower drinking age advocates push for a drinking age of 18.  Honestly, I think this is inadequate.  I think provides a parent only a few scant months to teach a child to drink safely, to appreciate a good beer or wine.  Plus, it’s given Billy far too much time to run around in the woods, avoiding cops. 

I think parents should have the ability to serve alcohol to their children.  A 14 year old cannot buy alcohol, but if mom wants to give her daughter a small glass of wine with Christmas dinner, it’s perfectly legal.  To buy alcohol, I think 16 is appropriate.  A 16-year old can legally consume alcohol, and can legally buy beer and wine.  To buy liquor, or to drink anything in a bar, the necessary age is 18.  Thus, there’s a natural progression.  Alcohol only under the supervision of parents, followed by beer and wine, independantly (but, theoretically, still with some supervision, as they’re going to have to drink somewhere) and then at 18, the kids are adults, and they’re free to drink as they please, where they please. 

It’s not a perfect system.  Certainly, 16 year olds will buy alcohol and provide it to their 15 year old friends, and so on.  But, at least, parents get the change to teach their children responsible drinking before the children learn from their friends to get blackout drunk, and the children learn to handle lower alcohol beverages before they head for the Wild Turkey 101. 

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Dutch Beer, Part 3: Take Home

 

Going into the trip, I knew very little about actual Dutch beer.  Other than Heineken and Grolsch, I was unfamiliar with actual Nederlander breweries.  The one Dutch beer I was familiar enough with was La Trappe, the only Trappist beer brewed outside of Belgium, which is brewed (I believe) in Koningshoeven, in the southern part of Holland.  I did know, however, that Holland is ever so close to Belgium, where they have more breweries than people, it seems like.  While there are a lot of Belgian beers available in the US, I anticipated being able to acquire some beers unavailable (or extraordinarily expensive) at home.  Most prized on this list were the Trappist beers of the Westvleteren monastary, visible above.

A quick tutorial on Trappist beers (if you know about the Trappists, feel free to skip this italicized section).  Trappists beers are beers brewed by monks.  Not just any monks, mind you–there are hundreds of monastaries all over the world which contain breweries.  The Trappists are Benedictine monks of a special order.  There are 171 Trappist monastaries, worldwide, and only seven of which produce beer.  LaTrappe is the only Dutch Trappist brewery.  The six Belgian breweries are Chimay, Achel, Rochefort, Orval, Westmalle, and Westvleteren. 

All of these beers are available in the United States, though they are expensive.  All of the monastaries export their beers and allow distributors worldwide to sell the beer.  Westvleteren, uniquely, only brews, and sells, enough beer to support their monastary.  As a result, the beer is hard to get, as if it’s bought anywhere but at the monastary, the beer is being sold without the permission of the monks.  That said, you can get a six-pack of the stuff on eBay for about $60, plus an extra $45 for shipping and handling.  Yikes.

I knew of two beer distributors in Amsterdam, both with excellent reputations.  The first is De Bierkoning, or The Beer King.  I found it in a lousy little Amsterdam tourist guide, which reported over 800 beers, sold in bottles.  The internet tells me that Bierkoning sold Westvleteren, so I knew I’d be able to come home with something.  The second distributor is The Cracked Kettle, though I cannot recall the Dutch for the name.  The Cracked Kettle, by reputation, had a lesser selection than the Beer King, but the staff was friendlier and more helpful.

Our experience?  Pretty much the same.  We ventured to the Cracked Kettle during one of our first afternoons in Amsterdam, and met the Scot who runs the place.  Very friendly, and enthusiastic about beer.  We talked about what was available to us in the US, and what wasn’t, as well as what he had, that we couldn’t get.  We told him that we just wanted to scope the place out, so we had an idea what we could get here, so we could come back before we left to get all the bottles we wanted.  When we came back, a few days later, the Scotsman was gone, and in his place was a similarly enthusiastic beer guide.  This time, a Dutchman.  Both gave us honest answers to our questions, with equally honest assesments of any beer we happened to be looking at.  We never got the sense we were “being sold”, but we found more interesting beers to buy while we were there. 

The Beer King, meanwhile, had a larger selection, true to their word.  However, in all the time we spent in there, we were not spoken to by anyone, except the clerk who rang us up.  Of course, the clerk did a fine job of puffing up our egos (“Wow, you guys know your beer.”), but still, the experience wasn’t nearly as pleasant as The Cracked Kettle. 

As to our haul, here are two pictures of the beers we brought from Amsterdam.  Between the two pictures, you can see just about every bottle, and fear not, we’ll give you a little bit of a run down. 

Picture Number One:

 

Picture Number Two:

 

The contents are as follows:

4 Westvletern 12 – The bottle without a label, but with a Gold Cap is the Westvletern 12.  It’s a quadrupel, so it’s probably sweet, and it’s certainly high in alcohol content.  We’ll let it sit for a few months, and then give it a try.  Try to let as much of the sugar disappear as possible. 

4 Westvleteren 8 – The bottle is just like the Westvleteren 12, but with a Blue Cap.  The Beer is a dubbel, which is similar to the quadrupel, albeit lower in alcohol and not as sweet.  A more immediately drinkable beer.

4 Westvleteren Blonde – Same kind of bottles again, label-free, and these are the bottles with the Green Caps.  They’re not a blonde ale the way Leffe Blonde is, but rather, just a pale ale.  A session beer, almost, at 5.8% alcohol. 

The bottles with the diamond shaped labels are the IJ Brewery beers: Natte, Zatte, Columbus, Y-wit, Plzn, and Struis.  There are 7 total IJ bottles. 

Almost in the middle of Picture Number Two, and barely visible in Number One, are two bottles of Nieuw Ligt Grand Cru.  It is, apparently, a barley wine.  The bottle informs that the beer will be perfect in 2010 for drinking, though the beer is, apparently, delicious at the stroke of 2008. 

Between the Nieuw Light and the Westvleteren are two bottles of Silly Saison.  This beer comes from the French speaking part of Belgium, and is pronounced like the letter “C” and not the word that means humourous or goofy. 

The white labeled beer thrust between a couple of IJ Bottles is Oesterstout, pronounced Oyster-stout.  The beer is filtered through oyster-shells, but according the the friend Dutchman who recommended it, there are no oysters to be tasted.  I’m confident the beer will be tasty, as the same brewer makes Zeezuiper, a very tasty tripel. 

The final beer, which is easily visible in Picture Number One, and almost out of Picture Number Two, is Narke Kaggen! Stormaktspater Porter.  This beer is brewed by just a couple of people in a small town (small city?) in Sweden.  It’s a very, very rare beer which a very high reputation, and I was not expecting to find it in Amsterdam.  That said, I’m absolutely delighted to have it two bottles of it (two of the last 3 bottles in all of Amsterdam), eagerly awaiting my consumption. 

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Your National League Rookies of the Year.

For the AL race for Bestest Rookie, Like, Evers, check in with The Extrapolater.  Those races aren’t such big old blowouts like ’round here.   

 Anyway, rookies, almost all of ya had to go through something like this:

And only a few of you will be celebrated today.  The rest of you, well, find a place for those stockings, at least YOU won’t have to wear them anymore. 

BESTEST NL ROOKIE TOSSER (and all the Brits chuckle)
by Mr Thursday

There are some who call him. . . Tim?

PITCHER NAME TEAM IP BB SO ERA HR
Tim Lincecum San Francisco 133.33 57 142 4.05 12

I suppose arguments can be made for Kyle Kendrick (Phillies), who has a better ERA and better W-L record.  I also suppose that arguments can be made for Peter Moylan (Atlanta) and Manny Corpas (Colorado) who have been excellent relievers this season.  But all of these arguments fail in the face of my bloated, cross-eyed volume, not to mention in the face of 142 strikeouts in 133 IP. 

He’s got a super-aggressive delivery, a great fastball, a great hook, and his future is ever-so-bright.  The only knock on him, that I can see, is that he walks too many guys.  As it is, if he goes his entire career with his present walk-rate, he’ll be a fine to very good pitcher.  If he, like Randy Johnson and Nolan Ryan and others have done, reduces his walk rate a bit, he could start contending for Cy Young awards very, very soon. 

MEANWHILE, over in the batter’s box…

BESTEST MANGLER OF OPPONENT BOX SCORES BY A MAN ON CENTRAL TIME
by Extra P.

Here are the hitting candidates:

PLAYER NAME TEAM GAMES AT BATS RUNS HITS 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO AVG SLG
Ryan J. Braun MIL 94 378 74 124 21 5 30 79 14 25 92 .328 .648
Hunter Pence HOU 91 387 52 125 28 8 14 56 9 21 77 .323 .545

I felt it necessary to put forth the top two candidates, but Ryan J. Braun is clearly the top choice.  Not only is he putting up incredible numbers in every category, but he’s batting third for a team in a pennant race.  Hunter Pence (batting leadoff) is having the type of rookie season that would probably be ROY-worthy in any other year, but this year he’s run up against a great young hitter in a great young lineup, and that second factor is something that the Astros just can’t match this year.  They bring up the bottom while Milwaukee is battling the Cubs for the express ticket to October.

My pick – Ryan J. Braun.  The Hebrew Hammer shows no signs of slowing down or buckling under the pressure of a playoff run.  He crushed his 30th home run last night to put the Brewers one up on the Cubs in the NL Central.  He wears my favorite number.  I look forward to seeing his steely gaze at the plate for years to come. 

Uh-oh.  Mancrush Alert.

And don’t forget to check out the AL half of this post over at The Extrapolater, going up today!

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Dutch Beer, Part 2: Bars

 

As is the case in most touristy places, the bars of Amsterdam running along fairly common themes:

  • Overpriced, generic “Irish” pub.  Serves Guiness, and maybe Harps.  Employs no actual Irish people.  Generally has TV with some kind of sports on it.
  • Even more common generic “Dutch” bars.  I put Dutch in quotation marks because these bars are genuine Dutch the way the Great American Pub epitomizes Americana.  These bars serve either Heineken or Grolsch, and are usually overcrowded with tourists who want to be drunk AND high.
  • Neighborhood bars.  Might get some tourists on the weekend, but they’re not a hotspot–no big lights and all that.  Usually with a small selection of drinks and snacks, and the staff frequently knows the customers by name.
  • Good bars.  Usually harder to find, to avoid the average tourist.  Good atmosphere, good beer selection, possible some decent snack food.

Mrs Thursday and I ventured into these Irish pubs on two occasions.  Once, while trying to kill 45 minutes before dinner, we ventured into a “Temple bar”, which I’m told is a chain of Irish pubs.  Anyway, the music was terrible, generic pop shit, the beers were overpriced (5 Euro for a Guinness?  Seriously?), and the bathroom was dark, and had what I’m guessing was piss on the floor.  The second was O’Reilly Pub near Dam Square (a highly touristy area), which we came to strictly to watch the Liverpool-Derby game on Saturday afternoon.  The service there was terrible, but the beer and food were tolerable, and we had a good view of the multiple screens.  Furthermore, at the moment of kickoff, the music in the bar is shutoff, and the game is piped in through the loudspeakers.  Wonderful stuff.

Generic Dutch bars… I’m not sure if we ended up in any of these.  Maybe to use the bathroom?  Maybe, briefly, to kill time for something?  None of them were memorable, if we did go to one. 

Neighborhood bars.  Our hotel bar was such a place (the Hemple Temple Bar).  It was tiny–the bar itself had enough room for about a half-dozen people.  Friendly staff, generally.  They had a decent array of your basic liquors, as well as Heineken, Hoegaarden, and Leffe beers.  A bar down the street from us, Oosterling, which had an ENORMOUS selection of liquors, and mostly Brand beers, was a similar place. 

As for good bars, we found three–two of them at the recommendation of the same Scotsmen from the Cracked Kettle who sent us searching for the IJ Brewery.  The first we visited, Cafe Gollem, is located just across the alley from The Cracked Kettle. 

Cafe Gollem is small.  The bar holds about a dozen people.  The cafe has a sort of split-level arrangement, so there are a few cramped tables for more drinkers about 4 steps up.  The place has a dark, smoky atmosphere, and it’s really not ideal if you prefer some privacy and fresh air.  The beer selection is vast, as chalkboards on three walls fail to capture the entirely of their stock.  When we were there, we had a female bartender who was kind enough and very knowledgeable.  The bar also has a cat (black, for you superstitious types), who was friendly enough to come and sit in my lap as Mrs Thursday and I enjoyed our tripels. 

The second fantastic bar we found is The Wildeman.  To be fair, we didn’t spend a lot of time there–people were tired and grumpy, and I, for one, didn’t give the place a fair shake.  The beer selection is similar to Cafe Gollem’s in legendary size, and the interior appears to be more spacious.  There’s a room for non-smokers, as well, though when were there, there was no one sitting in it.  We spent our time in the few outdoor seats, sipping our Trappist beers (Rochefort for me, La Trappe for the Mrs), and watching the hoardes of people passing through the (apparently highly trafficked) alley.  If we were in better spirits, I imagine we would have had a wonderful time. 

The third and final bar, my favorite, is the Arendsnest.  Unlike the Wildeman and Gollem, which have large selections of world beers with an obvious emphasis and the Belgian brews, Arendsnest has a large selection of almost exclusive Dutch brews.  Mrs Thursday and I went there our last night in Amsterdam, and found the place comfy and cozy and quiet, with a friendly bartender, and a wonderful beer selection.  At least, the recommendations we got from the bartender were excellent (we both tried the Czaar Peter, an outstanding imperial porter, and also Zeezuiper, a delightful tripel).  The place has soft, bright light, and a high ceiling, so it doesn’t get too smoky in there.  With Belgians being so widely hailed, it was fun to explore some of the beer of the Netherlands a little more thoroughly.  Highly, highly recommended. 

The next installment will address Amsterdam’s two best (and perhaps only) specialty beer distributors, as well as what beers Mrs Thursday and I have brought home to add to our “cellar”. 

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Dutch Beer, Part 1: The IJ Brewery

 

What you see above is the Gooyer Windmill.  Underneath it sits the IJ Brewery.  It’s almost picturesque, isn’t it?  A wonderful little brewpub sitting underneath a nearly 200 year old windmill, in Holland?  Well, beyond the excellent beer (which we’ll get to in a moment), I’d just like to take some time to explain the trouble Mrs Thursday and I went to trying to find this place. 

Here is a map of Amsterdam

Now, if you on the little arrow to make the big sidebar disappear, you should have a decent sized map of Amsterdam and the surrounding area.  You see where it says “Amsterdam” all nice and big?  Just above that you should see a little box that reads “s103”.  That’s Central Station, where our journey begins.  We were given some very vague, and uncertain instructions from the fascinating Scot who runs The Cracked Kettle on how to reach the brewery.  We were told a tram to take, and he pointed on a map where it was.  We assumed that we’d be able to see the giant wooden windmill from the tram, and we’d just get off at the next stop upon seeing we the windmill.  We know the windmill was west of the city, but we weren’t sure where. 

So the next day we get on tram number twenty-something, headed west, and I’m looking left, Mrs Thursday is looking right, and we’re both giddy with anticipation to try the new beers.  Several stops go by, and no windmill.  It’s only about half past noon (don’t judge us, we’re on vacation), so we’re not worried.  We pass over a bridge or two and through a tunnel.  Still nothing.  We’re in a large industrial park kind of area, with lots of concrete and general greyness (unlike most of Amsterdam, which is brick and colorful).  Eventually, we come to the end of the line, just the two of us on the tram, and the conductor cheerfully kicks of off the tram.  Still, we’re feeling pretty good, and we figure we’ll just walk back the way we came, and ask someone where the windmill is.  It can’t be far. 

Look at that map again.  On the far right side of your screen, you should see the words “Haveneiland-West”.  Zoom in on that a bit.  Adjust your map so you can see all of it.  That’s an island called Ijburg.  Or maybe IJburg.  Regardless, our final stop dropped us at the far end of this island.  From there we walked and walked and walked, back the way we came.  About halfway up the island, we stopped in a bookstore and asked a kindly, middle-aged bookkeeper about where the IJ Brewery or the Gooyer Windmill were.  She said, “A windmill?  On Ijburg?  There are no windmills on Ijburg!”.  We were saddened, realizing that we had missed our stop long, long ago.

So we continued walking, reaching what the map calls Steigereiland.  There we find a gas station, and we buy water and ask for directions.  The teller there, thankfully, knows the brewery, and gives us instructions.  Through the tunnel, and hang a left.  Naturally, we go through the tunnel, somehow miss our left, overshoot the next one by a longshot, back track a whole bunch, and we find our windmill. So, to recap, we went from our hotel to Central Station, to the end of IJburg, all by tram.  We then walked from the end of IJburg to Kattenburgstraat, and all the way around to the brewery.  After 3.5 hours of walking, we came upon the windmill, as seen 600 words above here.

View Larger Map

Naturally, just outside the brewery, we find another tram that goes DIRECTLY to our hotel.  Damn. 

Anyway, onto the beer, and the pub. 

The pub has a few long tables outside, though there weren’t any chairs available for these.  Inside, the bar is fairly long, and manned by a very cheerful middle-aged Dutchman, and a younger Dutch lady.  There are no stools or seating of any kind between the open doorway and the bar, which is lovely, as it makes it easier to get to the bar and get a drink.  On the far end of the bar there are a few stools, and a number of small tables for patrons to drink and smoke and enjoy themselves.  I am genuinely a big fan of their basic, but practical setup. 

As with most European bars, IJ serves the bare minimum, food-wise.  They offer a plate of cheese (Gouda, obviously) and meat (dry salami), and give some delicious spice to go with it.  Mrs Thursday and I bought the spice before we left Amsterdam, but neither of us can find it in our bags (tears and sadness).  It’s a tasty snack, and it goes well with the beers.

While there, we had three beers each: the Y-wit, the Columbus, and the Natte.  I believe there should be some dots about the “a” in Natte, but I don’t know how to do that, and I’m not looking it up.  Let’s address them one at a time, in brief:

Y-wit

The Y-wit came highly recommended to us by the Scot at the Cracked Kettle, who knows his beer much better than he knows his public transit systems.  It’s a wheat beer, but what makes it immediately, and obviously distinct is it’s high alcohol content, for the style (7%).  The beer has the natural wheat haze, though it’s a good deal less cloudy than most of its wheat-brethren.  The beer smells very sweet, with a lot of orange scent–almost the way oranges can smell when they’re freshly squeezed, pulp and all. 

The beer tastes, well, really good.  The sweetness and tang we know and love about wheat beers is right there, of course, but the high alcohol content brings out a sort of spicy, warming, peppery flavor that is usually faint, or non-existent in such beers.  Very unusual beer, and all by itself, it was worth the visit. 

Columbus

The Columbus is a, well, I can’t remember what kind of beer the Columbus is supposed to be.  It’s another hazy beer, with a lot of orange in the color, almost like a pumpkin.  The beer has a wonderful, white, thick foam, that laces the glass as it settles.  Just looking at it, and knowing the alcohol content (9%), I’d guess it’s a tripel, but it doesn’t quite have the same taste.  Of course, Y-wit doesn’t taste like your everyday wheat beer, so this could be a tripel, or it could just be the ambiguous “Belgian Pale Ale”, which is a blanket term for basically any lighter colored beer with a high alcohol content. 

Anyway, the Columbus has a distinctly sour smell.  I used to be very putoff by sour scented beers, but over the course of this summer, I’ve come to appreciate a little tart in the nose.  The beer tastes almost fruity when it hits your lips, but tastes very dry by the time you swallow it.  Lots of flavors mixing it up in there, but well balanced, and very mellow.  On one sip, you may taste honey, on the next, perhaps some malt, or some pepper.  The alcohol is almost entirely undetectable.

Natte

This beer is a dubble, and unlike the last two beers, everything about it seems to indicate the style.  It’s a dark brown color, with a little bit of a muddy red tint.  The alcohol content is, again, fairly high, this time 6.5%.  The beer smells sweet, like chocolate and maybe something else.  Cherries? 

The beer’s sweetness definitely remains in the taste, this time the cherry-sweetness coming to the forefront, and the chocolate fading a bit.   Not nearly as exciting as the other two beers, but very tasty all the same. 

To Sum Up

A wonderful little brewery in Amsterdam, and worth looking for, for certain.  We were happy to bring home a few bottles of the beer, though if the internet doesn’t like, the beer loses a lot as it goes into the bottles–alas.  Certainly, the draft offerings at the pub are fantastic, and, without trying their bottles, I’d definitely recommend trying out the Y-wit and the Columbus, if you ever get the chance. 

Next, we cover the bars.

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