Brouwerij Bekeerde Suster Proeflokaal
Friday 26th May 2017
Seemingly a strange name for a brew-pub, Bekeerde Suster means Repentant Sister. There was once an order of nuns so named located in a convent on this site named the Bethanienklooster after Maria van Bethanien, a biblical character who was revered in medieval Amsterdam. She is Mary Magdalene in the English version. It comprised of previously fallen women who had then given their lives to the church. Their convent was founded around 1450. One of the most well-known sisters was “White Antonia”. They kept cattle and the quality of their beef was said to the best in North Holland.
Inevitably the sisters founded a brewery in the cloisters in 1544 and some of the characters that frequented their tavern are commemorated by present-day beer names.
One name is the “Manke Monnik”, the crippled monk. Another is a deranged barber. The pub is owned by the Beiaard Groep who operate cafés in Amsterdam, Enschede and Hoorn. They had wanted to establish a brew-pub in one of the latter two towns, but to no avail.
They had acquired the brewery of the defunct Amsterdams Brouwhuis Maximiliaan. They then approached the Amsterdam City Council who were supportive of the venture. The café opened to the public on Wednesday 21 May 2003 but brewing did not begin until 2004. The brewery can produce 10 hl per brew and it is normally done on a Friday.
Trail brews commenced in October 2004 and on Friday, November 26, 2004, the brewery was officially opened. There are normally three regular beers and one seasonal. It is possible to have a tasting flight of four beers and I did. The barman apologised that there was no seasonal beer offered and asked if could substitute Belgian Palm Ale so I agreed.
The three regular beers are: Witte Antonia (5.4%) a wheat beer with a citrus flavour that uses coriander in the recipe Belgian style; de Blonde Barbier (6.2%), also a Belgian-style ale and Manke Monnik (7.2%) brewed in the Abbey Tripel style.
Had it been available the seasonal beer would have been 1450 Klooster Pils (4.8%). There are other draught beers available: La Trappe Dubbel (7.0%), La Chouffe Blonde (8.0%) and the aforementioned Palm Ale (5.2%).
There is a small terrace under an awning outside the pub that overlooks a canal. Once inside you know you are in an old building as, after the seating area at the front of the pub you then have to go down three steps to get to the bar counter which is on the left side.
This part of the pub is rather modern, having undergone a recent refit. Opposite the bar are some tall tables where I settled.
The wall on the right side of the pub has glass-fronted indents where bottles of beer are displayed under a yellow light. Beyond the bar the shining copper brewery stands sentinel on the left side. There is more room to the right of the building. Further drinking accommodation is to be found on floors both below and above.
This pub is well worth visiting should you be in Amsterdam, being quite accessible because of its proximity to a metro station. There is a separate lunch and evening menu available. One speciality is their dark beer bread made with their own beer.
De Bekeerde Suster, Kloveniersburgwal 6-8, 1012 CT Amsterdam. Tel: 020 423 0112
Hours: Sunday-Monday 12.00-24.00; Tuesday-Thursday 12.00-01.00; Friday-Saturday 12.00-02.00
Nieuwmarkt station is the first Metro stop after Amsterdam Centraal station where the line began.
Leave the Metro station by the Nieuwmarkt exit. Go up in the lift or by the adjacent stairs.
If it is a market day the whole market will be spread out in front of you.
You need to cross it in a more or less straight line. Continue with the head of the canal on your left.
Turn left into Kloveniersburgwal and the pub is on the opposite side of the road about 50 metres along.