Tuesday 8th September 2009
It has been said that if you only ever visit one pub in this country, then this is the one. Its selling point is that it only serves beer from the small independent breweries of the Netherlands, and there is a lot of it.
In the last twenty years or so there have been many new breweries starting up, and with the handful of small traditional companies that managed to stay out of the clutches of Heineken-Amstel, they present a considerable force. The process has accelerated over the last five years with many more opening so that by 2012 there were over 150 offering their varied brews.
It was three years earlier when I visited De Arendsnest yet I'm sure it hasn't changed much with the exception that there is even more choice now. The pub is the brainchild of Peter van de Arend and the pub's name is a play on words as the Dutch Arend is an Eagle. Peter received a good grounding in the hotel and bar trade and was once a salesman for the Jopen brewery, but he always held an ambition to open a bar that promoted, above all, beers from his native country.
All over the Netherlands bars sell Belgian beers that are, rightly, highly regarded, yet Peter knew there was equal quality from Dutch brewers, it was just that they weren't so well known. He wanted to rectify that.
So the Arendsnest was born in 2000 and has been serving great beer ever since. Of the thirty beer taps 11 are used for regular beers, although even these sometimes change, and the remaining 19 are for guest beers.
To give a flavour of what the visitor can expect these beers below are some of what was available when I called in. I think this included most of the guest beers that were on offer.
Brand Up-Pils (5.5%); Cristoffel Dry Hopped and Terug naar de Bron; Eem Rosebud (6.7%); Jopen Hoppenbier (6.8%) and Extra Stout (5.5%); Huisbrouwerij Klein Duimpje's De Blauwe Tram (7.0%); De Koningshoeven Kroon Pilsner (5.0%); De Leckere Willrood Amber (5.0%); De Molen Mont & Mocha (9.5%); De Prael Dwarsboom, Corry (6.6%) and Zwarte Bier; SNAB Pale Ale (6.3%) and Maelstrom (9.8%); Stadsbrouwerij van Kollenburg 't Kolleke Oude Jan (5.5%); Texels Skuum Koppe (6.0%) and Tripel (8.0%) and Urthel Hop-It (9.7%).
Peter has a new project, the Beer Temple that opened in 2012. It sells only American beers. Given the price of US beers when I've encountered them in the UK and Belgium, it might be more prudent to book a cheap ticket to Seattle or Portland and spend a week there! It will surely interest some people but I would sooner pay another visit to the Arendsnest, a fabulous pub in all respects.
De Arendsnest, Herengracht 90, Amsterdam 1015 BS
Open: Monday to Thursday 16.00-24.00; Friday 16.00-02.00;
Saturday 14.00-02.00; Sunday 14.00-24.00
This historic area of the city is not served by trams or buses. Amsterdam CS (Centraal Station) is probably nearest and is, of course, extremely well served by buses, trams, metro and main line trains. It's about fifteen minutes walk from there to the pub.