Hooray! The lovely Peter Arend (owner of 't Arendnest in Amsterdam -- one of my favourite pubs in the whole wide world) has invited me to the grand opening of his new American-themed beer bar: Beer Temple. I may as well start paying him off in publicity now...
I love Amsterdam -- the best city for beer I've ever been too. It'll just be a flying two-night visit so I'm already planning what else we'll be up to. Obviously there's some serious shopping to be done in De Bierkoning near the new pub, and it's been far too long since we've been to 't IJ brewery, so that's on the cards if we can fit it in. And then there's the litany of first-rate ticker bars in the city, including In De Wildeman and the mighty Arendsnest itself. Adeptus will be nipping up from Münster for the gig as well, so a fun few days are on the cards next month. (Big thanks to Rick from Bier & Co for tweeting the original heads-up -- though I'll need a quiet word with him about his Magner's fixation: it's most unbecoming for an importer of quality beer.)
Naturally, an American craft beer was necessary to celebrate, and I opted for Goose Island Nut Brown Ale. When the cap is twisted off a whiff of those typically fruitsome Goose Island hops drifts languidly from the neck, and the pour produces a gleaming red-brown body, the colour of a freshly peeled conker. Only a light skim of froth sits on top of this, and the hops go back into hiding: the aroma is all sweet caramel. But with the first sip, they're back: it's not a bitter beer at all, but zingy and sherbety and very American. The hops' fruit notes are followed by sticky toffee, finishing quite dry with just a hint of smoke. It would have been so easy to make this too sickly sweet, or overloaded with acidic C-hops, but they've done for Brown Ale here what American breweries are known for doing to India Pale Ale: just given it a pleasant fruity hop twist.
Despite having been through the hands of several importers and in my fridge a few weeks, I see that my bottle only left Chicago about eight weeks ago. If Beer Temple (and Rick who'll be supplying) can keep that kind of freshness it'll be a great place to drink.