We had a bit a of dilemma at the start of the year, I wanted to go to Budapest and Leanne wanted to go to Haarlem. We settled on doing both! Our previous post on what we got up to in Amsterdam / Haarlem can be found here.
This time we wanted to stay out in Haarlem (rather than our usual central Amsterdam) and explore more after loving our day trip there last year. We choose to say in the Lion D’Or Hotel which is right by the train station; we would highly recommend it.
The train journey to Haarlem from the airport (with a change) is only 30 minutes, or is 20 minutes direct from Amsterdam Centraal. After checking into the hotel and dumping our bags we were on our way, set to explore. Having only booked a brief stay we wanted to make the most of the trip, so I made an agenda that we did actually stick to!
Our Friday afternoon plan was to head to Jopen Waarderpolder and Het Uiltje’s respective tap rooms. Both are only two minutes away from each other, however they are a good 30 minute walk from Haarlem central station.
We used Google Maps and they were both pretty easy to find – a nice walk along the canal made for a pleasant afternoon mooch.
Waaderpolder is the brew tap of Jopen’s, so you are sat above the actual brewery. On a hot day this made the tap room rather stuffy inside. We were both dehydrated from the walk so their wit beer was our first and obvious choice here (water? what’s that?!). A strong tap list; ten of their own beers, five collaborations and five guests. The food that was coming out from the kitchen looked superb, but on this occasion we were more thirsty than hungry so didn’t sample any of the offerings. A few more beers, a game or two of Fluxx and we were on our way to Het Uiltje.
Walking between these two venues very much felt like you were on a UK industrial estate, with a mixture of warehouses and offices. The Het Uiltje Tap Room has only been open just over a year and already has that nice cosy warn-in feel about it.
After speaking to Robert from Het Uiltje last March about his plans for cask, I was looking forward to trying some. Their Session IPA and Summer Wheat were both available and I opted for the Session, perfect for the weather.
The food offering here is pizza, cheese & meat boards and bagels, the latter being what we went for. Three cheese for Leanne and a BLT for me. Perfect for soaking up some tasty beverages.
Next beers up, we opted for a flight. Six beers from the menu for 15 euros, 15cl pours, which was great value for money for when you are wanting to try as many beers as possible! There is also a bottle shop selling a range of their beers and gifts for take-out.
Now, you can either make the walk back to the hotel/station or do what we did and get an Uber costing about 10 euros. This was more of a time saver though – it’s absolutely a walkable distance.
Once we had freshened up it was time to head to the local bars in the centre of Haarlem; Jopenkerk and Het Uiltje Bar. There isn’t actually a massive selection of beer pubs and bars in the centre of Haarlem but there are plenty of places to grab a drink and an abundance of gorgeous looking eateries. We just chose to re-visit this two as they are both great venues for an evening of good beer.
It was a busy Friday night out and about in Haarlem, with seats being at a premium in Jopenkerk. Luckily we managed to find a seat by the DJ booth (music wasn’t on until late into the evening so this wasn’t a bad spot). Jopen serve a good selection of their own beers and have guest beers on too – probably at least 20 taps in total. Their own beers are really good and they offer a solid range. We like their glassware too! After having a few here, along with cheese and bitterballen we headed on to Het Uiltje’s bar in the centre of town. Its only a two minute walk down a (very pleasant) alley from Jopenkerk.
Once we had got our money’s worth at the hotel breakfast, we walked down the main street linking the station and central Haarlem to Grote Markt where we had a relaxed wander around the market. Here you will find many cheese stalls trying to tempt you in with samples, flower stalls, bread stalls and a number of food traders. After a quick stop off at Melgers (huge) bottle shop to get a few beers and a Mikkeller Botanicals Gin, it was time to get the train into Amsterdam.
We haven’t been to Amsterdam in the height of summer before, so we weren’t prepared for the sea of people when we stepped off the train. Not going to lie, it was stressful. We darted down a quiet side street to find our way to the safety of In De Wilderman. This is an old favourite for us – really relaxed atmosphere and a great selection of beers. It has always been quite quiet when we have visited during the day and didn’t seem over-run with tourists (who were all outside soaking up the sun and taking selfies!). Leanne had a mint flavoured De Koninck!
Next on the agenda was to head to Oedipus a brewery tap room located across the water from central Amsterdam, an area we hadn’t been to before. After a couple of drinks in Wilderman we headed back to Amsterdam Centraal. To find the passenger ferry you need to walk right through the station to find the ferry that will connect you to Amsterdam Noord. I say ferry, it’s a large passenger boat for people and bikes. We had just missed one when we arrived but they are very regular and you only have to wait 15 minutes until the ferry comes back. Tip : head for the IJ Plein stop, you will have less distance to walk on the other side.
Walking through the suburbs of Amsterdam Noord seems worlds away from the centre; blocks of flats dominate the skyline dotted with the odd mini supermarket, and that’s about it. It has none of the quirky charm and mis-matched wonky housing you find across the water. It is however more calm and away from the hussle and bussle.
It only takes about 15 minutes to walk to Oedipus, and like most breweries it’s on an industrial estate. However, soon as you step inside, you are transported to a tropical themed oasis.
It was far too hot for a ginger to be sat outside so we sat indoors, played a few games and sampled their seasonal range of beers.
It just so happens that there is a food market right next door in a big warehouse. It’s basically a big independent supermarket, however there are hot food counters where you can get freshly made pizzas or various Thai dishes. The brewery didn’t have any food on offer during the day but as we left later on, they did have a food truck. The supermarket is handy if you need it.
Back in bustling Amsterdam we headed to a place that we shamefully had not visited during any of our previous trips; Cafe Arendsnest. The premise is simple; Dutch beer only here with over 50 taps and over 100 bottles in the fridges. It is easy to see why this cosy bar is a must visit.
After a short walk down Herengracht, we arrived at Beer Temple. This was strangely quiet for 6pm on a Saturday evening but it meant for a good window seat for people watching. They always have a great selection of beers on here, sometimes it’s hard to leave! However, after a few beers it was time to head back to Haarlem.
Earlier in the day we had seen some promo flyers for an event in Haarlem that evening. It was Haarlem Shopping Night. On this particular evening shops stayed open late (until about midnight) and they were offering discounts and deals, while some were hosting special events. Down at Grote Markt there was a small night market with food stalls and craft stalls, where Leanne was enticed to buy a necklace (unsuprisingly!). There was also band playing out of a caravan while the locals danced the night away.
After a long day we only had a few at Jopen and Het Uiltje then it was time to retire for the evening.
We woke on Sunday to what seemed to be the hottest day of the year, which is never ideal when having to lug around a suitcase. Flight times weren’t all that good going home, so we didn’t have as long as we would have liked in the Dam. Like our last trip, we decided to finish at De Prael. We were so eager to get there that we actually turned up 30 minutes before opening so just hung out in the sun for a bit and enjoyed the view of Amsterdam’s beautiful canals.
Soon enough 12pm came and bam! In we went and headed straight to the air conditioned corner. It’s very relaxed in De Prael and very near the train station so is a good place to hang out without being too far away when you need to start making your journey home. They serve their own beers only, along with some delicious looking food platters. Their shop is also round the corner if you want to pick up any treats to take home. Sadly we only had time for a couple and it was soon time to make our way to the airport.
As always after every Holland adventure, we say that next time we will go somewhere else and try visit somewhere new. This isn’t going to happen, we love the Dutch culture too much. Until next time proost!