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  • Writer's pictureMoorea Hall-Aquitania, MA

A Brief History of Brouwerij 't IJ in Amsterdam

What is Brouwerij 't IJ?

Brouwerij ’t IJ is a small brewery in a former bath house in Amsterdam, it was founded by musician Kaspar Peterson in the 1980s.

Brouwerij ’t IJ

Brouwerij ’t IJ History

Situated near the River IJ in the shadow of the tallest wooden windmill in Amsterdam is one of the country’s most beloved breweries. Brouwerij ’t IJ has been serving beers to locals and selling beers throughout the Netherlands for over 30 years, and the brewery itself has become a popular destination, both as a tasting room and for tours to view the brewing process. In 1985, the musician Kaspar Peterson of the band Door Mekaar started Brouwerij ’t IJ to expand on his experimental home-brewing production. He had fallen in love with Belgian beers while on tour and wanted to bring that brewing style back to Amsterdam.

The brewery is housed in a former municipal brick bath house dating from 1911. The location was perfect for a brewery due to its ready water supply and drainage system and the easy-to-clean tiling inherited from its past function. It sits here on the Funenkade right next to the De Gooyer windmill. This was originally constructed in the 16th century but was moved to its current location in 1814. It’s the tallest wooden mill in the city at nearly 27 metres high and is owned and maintained by the city of Amsterdam as a national monument. While it has become a symbol of the brewery, even being used on their original labels, the windmill actually has no formal connection to Brouwerij ’t IJ.

In 2013, the brewery needed to expand to a new site on the Zeeburgerpad, a mere 700 metres from the original location. All the beers served here in the taproom are brewed on the premises while the second brewery produces the beers that are served, on tap and bottled, in bars throughout the country. In 2019, Brouwerij ’t IJ opened a new taproom at the Blauwe Theehuis in the Vondelpark.

For a long time, Brouwerij ’t IJ produced eight standard beers (which has recently increased), along with seasonal offerings and various special editions. In their taproom you’ll find a carefully selected menu of snacks to accompany your beverage of choice, including a St Bernardus Abbey cheese, hot grilled sausage, ossenworst (a type of beef sausage), cheese from sheep who have eaten the brewery’s malt, and even a hard-boiled egg. Many bars in Amsterdam will display the beer’s recognisable ostrich label, but the brewery and pub are well worth a visit for the sunny terrace in summer or the cosy wooden tables in winter.

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