Hey everyone and welcome to another week of People & Pints! It was a relatively calm and quiet week for me. The sun has been setting earlier in the day and the temperature has been dropping so my days were mostly spent split between the classroom and my apartment. However, this weekend I decided to attend two eye-catching beer events. The bar Craft & Draft hosted a mini tap-takeover with Lambrate Birrificio and a Dumpling menu from Pinch on Saturday.On Sunday evening one of my favorite breweries, Oedipus, organized an evening of beer, burgers and music at their taproom. Both events were delicious and I was able to meet some very interesting people. At various points during the weekend, the temperature dropped to nearly freezing, but I forced myself to leave my apartment and have some fun. So, on Saturday evening I bundled up, hopped on my bike, and rode to Craft & Draft.
Craft & Draft
I have been to Craft & Draft a few times (here, here and here) but I haven’t been as packed as it was on Saturday. The bar was full, undoubtably a combined result of people desiring dumplings and beer but also hoping to escape the bitter cold. I managed to find an open space at the bar to stand for some time until a stool opened up. I decided to try Brighella–one of the beers Lambrate brought along for the tap takeover. Brighella was listed as a “Belgian Christmas Ale” and after one sip I realized I had made a good choice. The beer was incredibly flavorful with notes of ginger and orange. It was a surprisingly warming beer, which helped combat the frigid weather of Amsterdam. I then decided to order some dumplings and immediately chose the Tango Beef dumplings which were described as being “loosely inspired by Argentinian chimichurri, grass-fed beef is mixed with herbs, garlic, chilies, and red onion that’s been lightly pickled in red wine vinegar.” They ended up being delicious and I was very proud of my choice.
After enjoying my dumplings I was preparing to order one last drink when I noticed a woman ordering her drink and speaking English with a discernible American accent. I asked if she were visiting Amsterdam from America and she confirmed that she was from Virginia but that she has been living in Amsterdam for four years. Sasha was very excited to hear from another American and we chatted about my stay in Amsterdam. I told her that I am an English major and she asked, “Why would you come all the way to Amsterdam just to study English?” I found it a funny question but she had mistakenly assumed I was spending all four years in Amsterdam. I corrected her saying that I was only here for a semester but the fact that English is so prevalent helped with my studies. We talked about the few trips I had been on around Europe and Sasha commented on the phenomena of feeling compelled to travel. Sasha joked that whenever American family or friends visit they decide to travel to other countries too. “I think its really a novelty for Americans,” I replied. Sasha agreed, “Yea going from country to country here is like going to another state.”
Sasha was very kind and continued to talk with me about her time in Amsterdam. She decided to relocate here for work in finance and originally lived in The Hague but she “outgrew it” and moved to Amsterdam. I mentioned that it was incredible how despite Amsterdam’s small size, there are always things to do. Sasha asked, after I told her I go to Boston College, if I felt like I would outgrow Boston. I told her that people often say it’s easy to feel like they have done everything in the city but I believe that is only compared to a city like New York. She nodded and said “D.C. is similar, I went to Law School in D.C. and I think people might outgrow it but its a fun city.” I excitedly agreed, telling her that I often get the chance to visit because Rosa studies at Georgetown in D.C. “Oh is she studying here too?” “Oh, no, she’s actually studying in Jordan, in Amman.” Sasha gave me a blank stare and laughed, “in the Middle East? Jeez, you guys are all over the place!” I laughed and agreed. Sasha had to return to her friends but it was wonderful to chat and she said she was excited to talk with someone else from the States.
Before leaving Craft & Draft, I overheard a few people speaking Italian and I decided to butt in and offer what little Italian I could, before switching quickly to English. The woman said that they were from Milan but have lived in Amsterdam for four months. They were extremely excited to see the brewers from Lambrate and support them in the event. Likewise, I said goodbye to the brewers and thanked them for the beer, letting them know of my tenuous tie to Lucca, through Rosa and her family. Their eyes lit up and one of the brewers made a joke about a brewshop in Lucca that I didn’t really understand but they kindly wished me a goodnight as I braved the cold.
Oedipus Brewing Taproom
On Sunday evening, I once again forged into the cold Amsterdam night and journeyed to Amsterdam-Noord to go to the Oedipus Brewing Taproom. Oedipus Brewing teamed up with Red Light Radio to put on this night of beers, burgers and music. Originally, I thought that the event would feature live music but I arrived to find that Red Light Radio was only providing DJs. Nonetheless, the funky jazz and rock that played through the night gave the event a relaxing, fun atmosphere that I really appreciated.
I have been to the Oedipus Taproom before and enjoyed my evening there. This time was no different. I have had several of Oedipus’ beer and can admit that Oedipus is one of my favorite breweries. They use great flavors in their beer and the taproom has a very DIY, energetic and creative vibe. Because I have had a few of their beers, I asked the bartender for a recommendation and she suggested their Gose, Salty Dick. The beer was a cloudy yellow color with a strong citrus aroma. The initial taste was very strong and a bit strange. Flavors of grapefruit and lime came through immediately, with some slight acidity. The taste grew on me and I enjoyed the beer.
The burgers were being provided by the Beef Chief, whose chef cooked from a food truck outside. The chef was very genial and we chatted for quite some time. I asked if they operated from the food truck primarily and he said that food trucks are not incredibly prevalent in Amsterdam. “There are only a few spots available so it’s tough to find a permanent spot.” “That’s a shame,” I responded, “food trucks are becoming really big in the US.” He agreed and said that he hopes that the trend comes to Amsterdam as well. He explained that they really only book festivals and catering events, though they did manage to triple profits from the previous year. “We want to open a location so we can serve full meals maybe four days a week. Because we turned a big profit we took the risk and have another truck, I think it’s helping.” He did suggest that he was nervous about the venture but he seemed hopeful. I bought a chili burger after chatting some more about my stay in Amsterdam and my experience with some great food and returned indoors.
The chili burger was delicious, with a really nice homemade sauce and the chili itself was great. I ordered a second beer, Hosanna, which is a DIPA. This DIPA was also incredibly interesting. It had a standard, hoppy aroma and a nice amber color. The flavor, though, was remarkable. I wasn’t able to place it; it seemed like there was a sweetness that lingered like molasses or honey. I asked the bartender how it was brewed and she opened up a binder with a list of all the beers. There was honey among the various hops, so that explained the caramel, honey taste. It was a good, strong beer and I really enjoyed it. I finished my drink and braced myself for the cold ferry ride across the river IJ and final bike ride to my apartment.