Sure, it’s easy to just flock to the Heineken Experience like all the other tourists do, but I’ve heard and read that it kind of sucks. Not going to lie, I still wanted to check it out anyway (you know, for research and beer drinking purposes). But our schedule was just too tight. However, it was worth cutting out just to visit the Brouwerij ’t IJ.
The Brouwerij ’t IJ opened in October 1985. It was around that time when smaller breweries started popping up because people were sick of the large breweries and mediocre beer. It’s named after the IJ, which is a bay in North Holland. Today, the brewery offers tours every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (English at 3:30, Dutch at 4). Spots are first come, first serve and you cannot book in advance. So my advice is to come early, reserve your spot, try some of their brews and perhaps their raw sausage (surprisingly good) and just wait for the tour to start. It lasts 20 minutes, costs 5 euros and comes with one beer of your choice. But of course, Ben and I also ordered a flight and liked all five of them.
Even if you’re not into beer, the area is still a nice place to check out. There’s a beautiful windmill located next to the brewery. Contrary to popular belief, the windmill is not a part of the brewery. It’s a separate building and someone actually lives there. I wonder if they get free beer…wouldn’t be a bad deal at all!