Friday 26th May 2017
This small city-centre brewery started life at the Schinkel Centre, part of the massive new trade complex of Amsterdam Zuid. This was back in 2002 and its founders were Arno Kooy and Fer Kok. It was known as the Brouwerij Parel (Pearl Brewery). However this name was not to last as Budelse Brouwerij (Budel Brewery) already brewed a beer of the same name. So the name was changed to Prael, a word that means nothing, yet is an anagram of the original.
During 2008 the brewery moved into the city and occupied a building on Oudezijds Voorburgwal, quite close to Amsterdam Centraal station. This was a larger plant compared to what existed before. In 2011 they established this pub, Brouwerij Prael Proeflokaal (Tasting Room) around the corner on Oudezijds Armsteeg, a narrow bustling street well located to attach both regular and passing trade. At one end of this small road is a quay that was used as far back as the 1300s to unload boats bringing beer from Germany.
The owners are very proud that they offer work to many people with disabilities thus fulfilling a social function within the community. They brew beers of many different styles and from the brewery’s inception right up to 2015 most of them were named after famous Dutch folk singers. When I visited there were no less than ten beers offered.
They were, in ascending order of strength: Mild Ale (3.0%); Weizen (5.7%); Bitterblond (5.7%); Hallertau (6.1%); Magnum (6.1%); Cascade (6.1%); Dortmunder (6.4%); Dubbel (7.1%), Tripel (7.5%) and D.I.P.A. (9.0%), this being an Imperial Pale Ale. As can be seen, most are on the strong side! However, they are served in 0.25cl glasses. There are US and European styles here, with several single-varietal hop offerings. I started off with a sampler set of my choice which is served with a glass of water along some peanuts. Please see photograph right.
The pub itself has a double frontage onto the street with some seats and tables outside. Inside, I made a sharp turn to the right where the bar counter is located.
I settled on some tall stools and tables. There are some more loose seating in front of the entrance door. Beyond that the pub splits into two levels. Downstairs the room is a bit cellar-like and this is where the toilet facilities are located.
Upstairs it is much more light and airy and the room extends to the right. At this point it is possible to see the rear of the brewery, even though its entrance is in a different street. This is Oudezijds Voorburgwal and the way in to the brewery is though the Brewery shop at no 30 which is located in a 17th Century property overlooking a canal which was once a auction house.
A distinctive feature of this brewery’s operations are the tours. They start in the shop and run at the following times: Monday until Friday every hour on the hour from 13:00 to 18:00.
Saturday every hour from 13:00 to 17:00. Sunday every hour from 14:00 to 17:00.
There are two versions, one with one beer included and the other with four beers to taste.
De Prael Proeflokaal, Oudezijds Armsteeg 26, 1012 GP Amsterdam. Tel: 020 408 4470
Pub Hours: Monday-Wednesday 12.00-24.00; Thursday-Saturday 12.00-01.00; Sunday 12.00-23.00
Standing in front of Amsterdam Centraal station you will have the tram lines in front of you.
Walk towards the city over Middentoegangbrug (middle pedestrian bridge).
Once over, turn left over another bridge. You need to cross to other pavement at this point.
Be careful, there are trams and road vehicles. Then take the small road on the right, Nieuwebrugsteeg.
At the first intersection turn right into Warmoestraat. The narrow road on the left is Oudezijds Armsteeg. You will find the Proeflokaal on the right about half way along.