Kimchi Farm Festival just a tram ride away. Then the following weekend a brewery tap opening that was a mere walk away. Result.
Breweries are popping up like the hollyhocks that sprout from the cracks in the pavement in my neighbourhood (Hoofddorpplein buurt, if you're wondering). Two have addresses no more than a ten-minute walk away from my flat. One of those being Butcher's Tears, who officially opened their tasting room last Saturday.
I'm beginning to really spoil Dolores, taking her out two weekends in a row. We struggled to hit that number in a year after the end of the Happy Time*.
"I hope they make some normal beer. Not just that weird strong rubbish." Dolores sounded a little concerned.
"Yes, I'm sure they do. Look, there are a couple on the list that are only 5 or 6%." Which there were.
Amsterdam has lots of odd little corners. Bits of countryside, light industry and housing that have been engulfed by the city's sprawl. Karperweg is one of them. On its northern side crouches a row of single-storey garages; while a hotchpotch of an electricity substation, ambulance station, houses and scraps of industry stretches along its southern flank. It's on this side, just before it hits a dead end, that Butcher's Tears is located.
We get there just after kickoff and it's pretty quiet. Just a dozen or so people hanging around outside sipping beer.
"What would you like, Dolores?"
"Nothing too strong."
"I'll get you the Imperial Stout, then."
Only joking. There isn't an Imperial Stout. I'd have been on it like a ferret up a trouser leg. Or maybe not, given what happened earlier in the week at the beer hacks' do. I get Dolores one of the weaker beers and the strongest for myself.
Dolores has found us a bench to sit on.
"That's a result." I say, passing her a glass. "The beer's free."
"You should have got us two each, then."
"There's no rush." I say pointing at the queue of two people at the bar.
We've asked Will along. He did tip us off about the Kimchi Festival, after all. Probably be down later, he told us. Some pathetic excuse about wanting to watch the football.
We work our way through all the beers over the course of a few rounds. Each one takes longer to fetch, as it starts to fill up. Some swapping of beers goes on when we decide we prefer each other's beer. I'm surprisingly unkeen on the dark one, Lipreader, I think it's called, but luckily Dolores is more enthusiastic.
"I quite like this one," I say passing Dolores my Mercenary to taste, "it smells really nice." Which it does.
"Ugh. It's one of those grapefruit beers. I thought you didn't like them?"
"They have their place."
It really is very pleasant. Lovely aroma, not just of grapefruit, but of pineapple and other tropical fruits, too. I stick with it for a couple more. But it's starting to get really crowded. The queue now stretches out of the tap room almost to where we're sitting.
"Everyone must have called their friends and told them about the free beer." Dolores suggests. She might well be right. When they run out of glasses, it's apparent the crowd is larger than expected.
We're just about to leave when Will arrives.
"The beer's free." Dolores tells him.
"I'd have come earlier if I'd known that."
We stay for one last round with Will before starting on the long trek home.
"We could take a 15 bus back." I'm feeling lazy. Very lazy. It's only two stops.
"I don't have my OV chip card." That's put paid to that then. Walking it is.
I realise that I haven't really described the pub. It reminds me, in a way, of somewhere like Kernel in London. A very simple, almost impromptu venue, with plain whitewashed walls, simple table and benches. There's a light industrial chic thing going on. The brewery itself is next door to the tap room.
Open Wednesday and Sunday 16:00 - 21:00.
* Happy Time = before we had children.
Rejoice at the CAMRA vote! - *I've found the recent outbreak of people spouting nonsense about CAMRA surprisingly disturbing*. But I have to accept that everyone can get it wrong and ...
13 hours ago