Hello everyone and welcome to another week of People & Pints! This past week I had my final lecture in Amsterdam rounding out my academic experience abroad. During the weekend I spent most of my time preparing for an exam and papers so it wasn’t particularly eventful. However, I decided to take some study breaks Sunday evening and managed to have some fun! I visited an art market in the afternoon and traveled across the IJ for another trip to Oedipus Brewing’s taproom. I wasn’t expecting these little adventures to be very exciting but I was proved wrong and really enjoyed perusing some independent art and trying some delicious beer.
Awhile back I saw an event for an art market on Facebook, which looked interesting and, when it finally rolled around, I decided to give it a try. The market was hosted in part by Cruquiusglide, a large warehouse that hosts various art and entertainment events, and Amsterdam Urban Art Fair. The warehouse was tucked away in an industrial area near the water, which gave me pause, but when I walked up to the entrance and heard the funky music playing I knew I was in the right place. I didn’t stay for very long but spent some time zig-zagging through the folding tables full of unique art. There was a section for old records including some house, rock and funk music and several artists selling their creations. There were photographers, street artists, painters and screen print artists. I knew that I wanted to purchase something but couldn’t decide at first. Most of the art was very reasonably priced and I ultimately settled on a beautiful photo from AmsterSam who specializes in reflection photos. I also purchased a unique piece of stencil art as a gift from Mouse & House, a collective of street artists
centered in Utrecht but who create art in Berlin, Madrid, Amsterdam and elsewhere. It was thrilling to see how excited and proud the artists were for selling their pieces. When someone looked over the paintings or prints the artists would flash a big smile and were clearly just happy to have people enjoy their pieces. The man from Mouse & House was very happy that I asked to purchase his art, grinning as he wrapped it up for me. I left soon after but was very happy to have made the trek out.
After studying for a bit more, I decided to journey to Oedipus Taproom in the north of Amsterdam. I had gone a few weeks ago but decided to go once more. It was another night of the Red Light Radio music event as DJs played throughout the evening in the Oedipus Warehouse. The bartender happened to remember me, welcoming me back to the bar. I asked for a suggestion and she poured me a glass of a Flanders Red Ale from Oersop Brewing, another Dutch brewery. The beer, Wild at Heart, was very unique and the color and aroma betrayed the sour/sweet taste that came through. It was great and I was happy with the suggestion. As time passed I was considering leaving; there weren’t many other people here and the night was getting late. However, I noticed a few of the Oedipus team members, including some brewers and the founders, milling about. One of the brewers, Carl, decided to sneak behind the bar and act as bartender. He asked if I wanted another drink and decided I would have one final beer. I had been eyeing a stout dubbed Kinderyoga and when I asked about it he responded, “Well, to be honest, it’s my favorite!” “Oh,” I said, “I trust your judgment then!” Carl admitted that he considered it their best beer and I wasn’t going to disagree. It was smooth and strong with an incredible malt, chocolate and coffee flavor. I really enjoyed it and was quick to thank Carl for the suggestion. He asked if I had been to the taproom before, catching my American accent, and I explained that I had been a few times. I told him that I am studying abroad here in Amsterdam but that my semester was coming to an end. I explained how impressed I was with the craft beer in Amsterdam and that Oedipus was one of my favorite breweries. “Which beer is your favorite?” “I really like the Thai Thai,” I explained. The Thai Thai is a strong, spicy, flavorful Tripel. “Funny thing, we actually brewed that for a brewer’s girlfriend.” I chuckled, a bit embarrassed, but he quickly caught himself. “Oh, don’t worry, I love it too. I just mean we focused on the spices because she doesn’t really like IPAs.” I admitted that my girlfriend isn’t a huge fan of craft beer either. “I’m trying to find one for her.”
We chatted for awhile, talking about traveling, food and beer. “Where are you from in the US?” “New Jersey, but I go to school in Boston,” I revealed, “which has a great craft beer scene.” “Oh definitely!” Carl assured. “But New Jersey…” I braced myself because I recognized the look on his face. He explained that he had once flown into Newark on a journey to New York City and he had a pretty rough experience trying to get from Newark to Harlem. “It was just a mess, from the moment I got off the plane.” However, Carl has really enjoyed his other trips to the US like Portland, Seattle, LA and elsewhere. I asked what he thought about living in Amsterdam and he affirmed what I had been feeling: that it really is a great city. Carl is a Masters student himself so he divides his time between academics and other career goals but he really enjoys the beer and food scene. “This is all new though,” Carl said wistfully. “There wasn’t such good food for so cheap like 10 years ago. The beer scene has grown too. You’re here at a great time.” I nodded, smiling, and told him I had really enjoyed experiencing the city for the past few months. Carl had to help out the other Oedipus guys but it was great to have a fun chat with someone producing such delicious drinks.
As I prepared to pay, I asked the bartender if I could buy a sticker or two. “You can’t buy one, but I’d be happy to give you some!” She ran into their office and after a few minutes came back with about 50 or so stickers, thrusting them into my hands. “For free? This many?” I asked bewildered. “Sure,” she said laughing, “stickers are like the cheapest, easiest marketing. Just share them with some friends!” “Will do,” I assured. I’ve already put some on my laptop and water bottle and fully intend to continue distributing them. I hope this isn’t the last time, but the stickers are a sweet memory for this evening at Oedipus.