Monday 21 December 2015

Low-key day out

We were supposed to be at the Kerstbierfestival in Essen. Until we found out a couple of weeks ago that it was all-ticket this year and Saturday was already sold out. Bum.

“There’s a food festival at the Westergasfabriek, Ronald. Do you fancy going?”

“Why not?”

Unlike the Film Food Festival or Rollende Keukens, this only used one small part of the complex. Westergasfabriek is huge with a dozen or so former industrial buildings that have been converted into venues, bars and halls.

It’s dead handy living in Amsterdam. You just need to jump on a tram and you can be pretty much anywhere in half an hour. Two trams and 30 minutes later we were in the Westergasfabriek. Looking for the entrance to the hall.

“We should have walked the other side.” I say unhelpfully. We end up virtually circling the long building before finding the way in.

“I wonder where the vintage drinks are?”

“It’s vintage clothes, Ronald.”

“I’m sure you said vintage drinks.”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Well that’s what I heard.”

Bit of a disappointment, the lack of vintage drinks.

It’s low-key to the point of stasis inside. Which is just what I was after. We scout around the ethnic food stalls and note down a couple of possibilities before heading off to brewpub Troost next door. We’ll be eating later.

This is the second Troost location, the other being in De Pijp. One odd thing about both is that you can’t pay with cash, only a card. Not a problem for me, but could be for some visitors from abroad.

I notice a theme from their other gaff: uncomfortable seating. Made some sort of sense in the other place. Former school building, school-style chairs. Get that. My arse might have complained, but I got the theme. Here they've recreated something similar - steel tubing and plywood - for a reason I'm struggling to grasp. They hate my arse? No, can't be that. Trying to fit in with a similar theme?

Something more appropriate to the building - gas fittings-themed maybe - and some fucking cushioned seating would be nice. Or maybe they don't want boney-arsed wrinklies like me clogging up their pub.

As with the first brewpub, the brewing kit seems way out of scale. Is that a 20 or 30 hl brew house?* With how many conicals of double that size - 9 or 12?. It seems ridiculously over the top. Then I notice something. A sign saying that in addition to their own beers, they also offer some of the beers contracted brewed there. Ah, it’s starting to make sense. With so many breweries starting up with no kit, there must be quite a demand for contract brewing in Amsterdam.

“I’ll have a Weizen, Ronald.” Dolores likes her wheat beer.

I have a Troost Extra Stout. Very nice it is, too. Dark, full-bodied and roasty as a Stout should be. I notice a sign for Van Vollenhoven’s Stout, one of the contract-brewed beers on offer.

“Is the Van Vollenhoven’s the same beer as the Troost Extra Stout?” I ask the waitress. “Yes.”

I suppose two Stouts on draught was too much to hope for.

For my next beer I take an IPA. And Troost gin. Which unfortunately comes loaded with ice. Once me and Dolores have fished that out, it tastes OK. If a little vegetal. The IPA is fair enough, too. Not as florally fruity as ‘t Ij’s, but more bitter at the back end. Quite dark, too, but thankfully not murky.

Dolores has a Lager for her second beer. "The Weizen was nice, but 4.75 is too much." The Lager is under 3 euros.

Drinks drunk we head back to the food thing to pick up some food. Three Argentinian empanadas. One for us to share now, one each for the kids for tea. Very nice. Especially with the chili sauce. And only three euros a pop.

On the way home we nipped into Marks for some crumpets and a Sunday joint. Almost too much excitement for one day.

* Almost as stupid as ingredient-guessing, guessing the size of a brewhouse.

NeighbourFood Market
Held every third weekend of the month.

Brouwerij Troost Westergas
Pazzanistraat 27,
1014 DB Amsterdam.
Tel: +31 20 737 1028
Opening times:
Mon - Thur 16:00 – 01:00
Fri 16:00 – 03:00
Sat 12:00 – 03:00
Sun 12:00 – 24:00

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