A stalwart of the Amsterdam microbrewing scene, founded in 1983, Brouwerij 't IJ has a setting that's about as Dutch as you can get: under an old windmill, on the eastern outskirts of town. Go inside the proeflokaal, or tasting room, and find a seat at the communal wooden tables. Start with a sampler of the house brews, of which there are usually about six on tap (bottled beers, produced at IJ's new, second brewery down the road, are also sometimes included in tastings). The signature sweet, golden Zatte tripel (8% ABV) – the brewery's first-ever beer – is always a winner, as is the boozy, complex Columbus (9% ABV), a hoppy amber Belgian pale ale – although out on the sunny terrace, it's the refreshing IJwit (6.5% ABV), a lemon-and-coriander-infused wheat beer, that proves irresistible. All of IJ's beers are unfiltered, unpasteurized, and top-fermented, and most are brewed in the Belgian style, with a few exceptions (a U.S.-inspired I.P.A.; an English-style barley wine).
These brews tend to run strong, so beer-friendly snacks are on offer: Try the ossenworst, a locally beloved, lightly smoked beef sausage, and the excellent Skeapsrond kaas, a creamy, Camembert-like cheese produced by local sheep fed malt dregs from the brewing process.