Christmas Beers with New Friends

Hello all and welcome to this week’s People & Pints! I am currently writing this post from Italy as I am lucky enough to spend the Christmas holiday with my girlfriend Rosa and her family. Having finished all of my finals and essays I was able to relax these past few days and enjoy my time in Amsterdam. Saturday night I made my way to a brewery in the south  and then met with a friend for drinks and dinner. I really enjoyed my evening of beer and conversations and, despite being very tired, am happy to be writing what will be one of my final posts for People & Pints in Europe!

IMG_3825Amsterdam, as I’ve mentioned numerous times, is home to a host of craft breweries. One brewery that I hadn’t managed to visit was Butcher’s Tears, located in Amsterdam-Zuid (South). I’ve had their beer before but continued to put off actually visiting the taproom. The brewery is about 30 minutes by bike so on a cold night the trek can seem daunting; but I mustered up the willpower and made my way to a new brewery.

IMG_3821Butcher’s Tears is tucked away among some warehouses and had the DIY vibe akin to most craft breweries. I entered to find that the night was rather quiet with only a few other customers and some smooth jazz playing softly. I noticed that they had a record player and enjoyed watching the bartender hand select the records. The music was just one facet of the appeal of Butcher’s Tears. Windows let customers sneak a peek into the brewing process taking place on the other side of the wall; one of the brewers was busy that night as he frequently came back and forth between the taproom and the brewery. My first drink of the evening was Lipreader, their seasonal “Winter Warmer”. The beer was a nice drink for the chilly evening with notes of molasses and rich malty flavors to warm me up.

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After sitting and sipping for a little while some more people filed in and voices rose, granting the taproom the atmosphere I would expect on a Saturday night. I approached the bartender and asked a few questions about the brewery, explaining I have taken an interest in the Amsterdam craft beer scene and had enjoyed the few bottles of Butcher’s Tears I had had before. “We’ve only been open here for maybe half a year. Before that we were in Belgium,” the bartender explained. He was very proud of the independent nature of the brewery, “we do everything ourselves. The brewing, the bottling, the labeling, the drinking,” he chuckled. After chatting for a bit and paying for my drink I made my way back into the center of the city.

I had decided to meet with my friend Federica, whom I met in one of my courses, because it would be our last chance to see each other. Federica is from Bologna, Italy and I opted to take her to BeerTemple to give her a sample of American craft beer. I asked if she were a fan of craft and she said she didn’t necessarily have a preference, but was sure she would like it. I ordered Eastbound and Brown, a Brown Ale, from Palo Alto Brewing Co. It was a nice, smooth drink with some notes of coffee and chocolate. Federica asked for my suggestion and I pointed her toward Workers Comp, a Saison from Two Roads Brewing in Connecticut. She said she liked it and I was glad she enjoyed a product of New England.

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We spent the evening just chatting, running through plenty of topics like our career goals, experiences during the semester and relationships. Federica also hopes to work in journalism and wants to improve her english to widen her options. I expressed that I was certainly impressed with her English and especially that she tries to use complex words. I had to clarify that it seemed like she didn’t want to just use the simplest version of the word so she would choose more nuanced vocabulary. I explained that that was my trouble with learning other languages, “I always want to use a more complex word, but I won’t know how to say it.” We talked about Italy for awhile and she tried to help me with my Italian. Ultimately I talked at length about meeting Rosa and assured her they would have to meet. After finishing our drinks we decided to, finally, eat some dinner. We found a Mexican restaurant, a relatively novel thing for Federica being from Italy, and sat down for a very filling meal.

It was a relaxing and fun evening and I was thrilled to have been able to make such a good friend, having met Federica only a few weeks ago. We were able to get along very quickly and I look forward seeing her again in the future!

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