One of the things I’m still getting used to now that I’ve met a bunch of boozey people from outside of the UK is that international post is a real thing that actually works. I’m allergic to post offices and am generally rubbish at sending letters and parcels, so Maltstock was a very useful thing for me as it meant I could not only meet up with some of my non-local acquaintances but also handover some goodies. I mentioned on Twitter that it would nice to have the transation be bi-directional and next thing I knew Sjoerd from Malt Fascination was pressing a bag of beer into my hands. Annoyingly I managed to leave his (rather good) coffee IPA homebrew in The Netherlands (something which should be remedied soon as he is much more of a master of the postal system than I) but I still managed to stock my beer shelf with a selection of Dutch beers as chosen by him.
First up to be tried was the Amsterdamse India Pale Ale from Brouwerij ‘t IJ.
For someone who speaks no Dutch at all, e.g me, working out the spacing of words on the bottle was a mild challenge, but assuming that the ‘t is a shortened version of ‘het’, the neuter version of the definite article, the internet assures me that the name simply translates as ‘The IJ Brewery’. I used to be a linguist… They’ve been around since 1985 and are based in Amsterdam, brewing a variety of regular and seasonal beers from pilsner to wheat and tripels.
The Amsterdamse IPA (or just IPA – they put an Amsterdamse on the bottle, so I’m going to parrot it here) is their latest beer, brewed back in March and available only in bottles since the beginning of May. They say on the website to drink it fresh, which was all the excuse I needed to move it to the front of the queue.
There’s been a bit of talk recently in the beery shoals of the internet about sexist imagery in beer marketing and packaging, and this label falls almost certainly in with that topic. However, I also rather like it – I’m a fan of simple line-art and tattoos (despite not wanting any myself) and think it’s rather excellently done, nudey lady or not. This one sits on the edge of the naughty zone for me, as while it does go for the naked woman approach to labelling (with all of their other beers labelled in a very different style, mainly with ostriches) it’s not gone down the cheap ‘Slap and Tickle’ or ‘Top Totty’ line of rubbish and sticks within the realms of what I consider good taste. Other opinions are available, and probably more correct than mine.
Anyways, what’s the beer like? On the nose it’s yeasty and fruity, with a load of caramel malt, apricots, pineapple and a touch of bitterness. To taste it’s thick and yeasty (I did pour in a chunk of the yeast from the bottle, which explains some of that), with the flavour moving from a cloudy wheatish beer to a directly bitter and fruity IPA – lemon, lime, bitter orange peel and a spot of soft coriander-like spice. It finished quite long, with a clean hoppy bitterness and a hint of black rubber, turning slightly mulchy over time.
All in all a decent IPA – a good balance of bitterness and hoppy fruit, as well as some nice spiciness. I will be keeping an eye out for more of their beers, although I suspect not a lot makes it over to the UK.
Brouwerij ‘t IJ Amsterdamse IPA
Dutch IPA, 7%.