By Andy Symmonds
Biercafe Gollem: Pijp
The Beer Hunter has returned from listening to Jazz and is once again roaming the streets and canals of Amsterdam in pursuit of great places selling great beers. This month we took a stroll in the Pijp with the aim of checking out one of the four Gollem biercafes that are now open in Amsterdam. This does not mean that we are ignoring the others, and they may well feature in future editions of Zine.
The Gollem in the Pijp has now been open for more than 10 years, so it may have stayed under the radar for some, but it is worth a visit. It is not a huge bar but it is a very pleasant time to spend time in, especially on a sunny afternoon. The guy behind the bar was extremely friendly and helpful to the point of providing a beer to taste while we talked. This in no way affected the review but it was a nice gesture (honestly!).
The biercafe has 14 draught beers and approximately 170 beers available from the bottle (no splitting hairs on this number as counting the different bottles would be a never ending task). The beers are mainly from Belgium and the Netherlands, with some German wheat beers that are still hugely superior to the local variants that the Dutch breweries are trying to sell. The encouraging news is that more and more breweries are starting up in the Netherlands and even the big breweries are starting to dip their toes into non pilsner style variants. Grolsch are now selling a pale ale under their own brand after dithering for a while under the Bierkenner brand and it’s not at all bad. Other breweries are heading in the same direction; something that we wholeheartedly approve of after years of having to choose between a relatively tasteless but well branded blond beers (you know who they are), white beer or Palm.
It was a love of beer that was behind the opening of the original Gollem and this still clearly underpins the business. It was interesting to hear from the barman that more and more people are now trying beers having heard that they now taste of something. If you are a not normally a beer drinker but want to try some, the staff will be more than pleased to help you to identify a beer (or two) that suits your palate. Many people progress through a range of beers in an evening, starting out with simple blondes, moving through IPA style beers and ending up with one of the intoxicating dark bombs that are available. Opening people’s minds and palates to new beers is all part of the service (mission?) at Gollem.
In addition to their extensive collection of beers, Gollem also offer snacks that nicely accompany the beers. There is a cheese board available, dry sausage and a selection of other snacks, but the kitchen is limited so do not expect too much of a menu (unless you’re back to beers). There is also a Quiz night every Tuesday, starting at 20:30, with teams up to six. The prizes are (you guessed it) beer, but there is no cost of entry so pop down if your Dutch language and general knowledge is good enough. Teams can have a maximum of six participants.
The address is Daniël Stalpertstraat 74, 1072 XK Amsterdam, and it is a few metres from Ferdinand Bolstraat and not far from the Albert Cuypmarkt. If you want to try a few beers, either new ones or old friends, then this is worth a visit.