in de Wildeman

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The sidewalk sign of a cave man beckons tourists to come in and try the 18 draughts and 200 bottled beers. Once inside, the challenge is immediately apparent: single malts, ciders, five Jenevers (local gins), five N/A drinks, 18 trappistenbier (Trappist), 28 Abdijbiren (Abbey), 44 Nederlands (Dutch), ten bottle-conditioned, 12 Brittish, 15 German, and 15 from elsewhere. You know you're in the right place when you see that they sell "The serious drinkers guide to Amsterdam Beer Cafés". Wooden chairs at small round wooden tables sit atop a black and white checkered tile floor. The bar features a horizontal row of generic chrome tap handles with beer labels over each tap. Past the bar, in a raised area, is more seating next to stacked wooden beer barrels. At the right side of the bar an open doorway leads to a non-smoking area! For Amsterdam, this is an incredible feature that can be very appreciated when people start smoking pipes inside. All of the branded, matching glassware is available for sale. Although dimly lit, the 20 by 70 foot paned glass across building's front offers ample light, while the stained glass high ceiling with its dark wooden beams makes for an airy, rustic setting.

The Jopen Koyt from Haarlem is a clear ruby color with a rich head, smooth mouthfeel, very nice malty flavor, and dry finish. The La Gauloise Brune is a ruby color and, at 8%, offers intense esters, a nutty/malty flavor with slight almond notes. The guest tap is the Miraculix from Amsterdam's Maximillian brewpub. Clear gold in color, it has a medium body along with a hop-over-malt flavor balance, and a hoppy finish. The Christoffel Blonde from St. Christoffel in Limburg is a clear gold color with a slightly sour flavor that combines with the yeast's lactic byproducts to create a very assertive beer. The Grimbergen Optimobruno has a smooth but complex malty flavor with a slightly alcoholic finish. A very nice brown. The Hertog Jan Graid Prestige is a dark brown color with a rich malty flavor and nice complex finish. The Karthuisen Trippel is a clear amber color but this is no mild-mannered "amber". At 8.5%, the slightly sour malty flavor is dominated by a multitude of stronger fermentation byproducts from the yeast used. The Cuvée de l'Ermitage, also 8.5%, is medium-bodied with a malty sweet overall flavor. The Christoffel Robertus is a clear ruby color with a deep malty flavor and nice subtle fruity character. The Lieve Royal is a clear dark amber with a light body but very malty flavor. The 30 cl. bottle proclaimed "Bier Van Hoge Gisting ", or "top fermented". The brewery is listed as Arcense Bierbrouwerij. The Dulle Tevu from de Dulle Brouers (the Mad Brewers) in Esen is a hazy amber color with a thick white head, malty and sugar sweet flavor, and fruity characteristics. This 10% brew is labeled as unfiltered (niet gefiltered), unpastuerized (niet gepasteuriserd), full flavored/bodied (met smaakevolutie), and includes candy sugar (kandij en mud). For Brittish traditionalists, Guinness Stout is also on tap.

Prices range from 4.75 to 6 Guilders, $2.25 to $3 USD. The bar features a Jenever pump but no stools. The bartender is very talkative and no one minds speaking English. Hours are 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Sunday. Located only a few blocks from the central train station, the pleasant atmosphere, nice people and great beers make de Wildeman a mandatory stop on any beer tourists visit to Amsterdam.


In De Wildeman
Kolksteeg 3
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - April, 1998

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