Some information on Brouwerij Poesiat & Kater at Amsterdam in Nederland

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After the highs experienced at Walhalla Brouwerij and Proeflokaal, followed by the disappointment at Oedipus Brewing, we rounded off a superb day with dinner at the brewery tap of Brouwerij Poesiat & Kater to the east of the city on the junction of Polderweg and Oranje-Vrijstaatkade, the latter forming the old quay on the Ringvaart. Displaying the Dutch Neo-Renaissance style, further along the street is part of the old buildings of the Imperial Continental Gas Association, a British-owned company supplying coal gas to the city. Part of the Oostergasfabriek complex of buildings was today's brewery tap which, until the inter-war years, served as an ammonia factory.

Amsterdam : The Crowned Falcon on the corner of Hoogte Kadijk and Buiten Kadijken [2024]

Riding around the city on our bicycles, a suitable prologue for a visit to Brouwerij Poesiat & Kater is a statue erected on the corner of Hoogte Kadijk and Buiten Kadijken, close to the Nieuwe Vaart canal. Though not in the original location, this cast-iron statue of a crowned falcon, sitting on a tall column, is a replica of one that once overlooked the entrance gate of Brouwerij De Gekroonde Valk [The Crowned Falcon], formerly the largest brewing concern in Amsterdam. Established in the early 18th century, the pillar on which that brewery built its success was Van Vollenhoven's Stout. The high malt content of the beer led to it being recommended by doctors as beneficial drink, even for children. For UK citizens of a certain age, think of how Lucozade was once seen as a medicinal remedy before being rebranded as a sports and energy drink. Such marketing rebranding manoeuvres may not have been possible before the age of television mass media and, following the First World War, Van Vollenhoven's Stout fell out of favour with the rising popularity of pilsner beers. Combined with economic factors and world events, Brouwerij De Gekroonde Valk went into decline and was taken over by Heineken in 1941. The brewery was closed eight years later.

Brouwerij De Gekroonde Valk

Heineken recognised that the Van Vollenhoven Extra Stout brand still had value so they continued to produce the beer at their plant, a building that now forms the Heineken Experience at Stadhouderskade. However, production was scaled down over the years and eventually only brewed in limited quantities. It was finally phased out by Heineken in 2004.

So, I hear you ask, "What's all this got to do with Brouwerij Poesiat & Kater?" Well, the famous stout is now produced by this brewery founded in 2014. The story of how this came about is quite interesting. Co-founders and friends, Eymert van der Manen and Pieter Teepe, got involved in telling the story of Brouwerij De Gekroonde Valk. This led to the production and placement of the aforementioned bronze replica statue. It was copied from the original statue traced to the garden of a descendant of Willem Hovy, former brewery chairman, living in South Africa. Some years later, Eymert van der Manen was the co-author of "Geloof in de brouwerij," a history of De Gekroonde Valk.

Following the publishing of "Geloof in de brouwerij," in 2009, Eymert van der Manen received the original recipe of Van Vollenhoven Stout from Mrs. Körner, widow of the last brewer of De Gekroonde Valk. This was the inspiration for Eymert van der Manen and Pieter Teepe to start brewing this historic beer and cultural icon of Amsterdam and the Netherlands.

Amsterdam : Brouwerij Poesiat & Kater on the corner of Polderweg and Oranje-Vrijstaatkade [2024]
© Photo taken by author on May 17th, 2024. DO NOT COPY

In 2014, Eymert van Manen was contacted by Jesse van Vollenhoven, the subject mooted being the launch of a brewery. His surname is pure coincidence but one that was perhaps written in the stars. They quickly formulated a plan - ambitious and expensive but a vision that could be achieved by crowdfunding. After searching for suitable premises, the team decided upon the run-down former ammonia works. The building, dating from 1887, had become an animal shelter following the closure of the ammonia factory in 1927. It served in this role for eighty years, moving in 2007 to Ookmeerweg on the other side of the city. The building was then occupied by squatters for some years.

It is one thing having a dream but to cook up great beer a bit of science is needed. This is where Julián Álvarez Zárate entered the story. The Spanish-born molecular biologist with a PhD had already made a career change by joining Brouwerij 't Ij. I am not sure whether he was headhunted or that he simply jumped ship, but he joined the founding team as head brewer of Brouwerij Poesiat & Kater.

The name of the new brewery honours Bart Poesiat and Klaas Kater, two men who were employed at the Brouwerij De Gekroonde Valk where they pioneered social reform and workers rights, founding the Patrimonium Housing Association and leaders in the trade union movement. Their employer, Willem Hovy, as chairman of the brewery was himself a social reformer. He assisted in the founding of Patrimonium Housing Association, championed the cause of Christian schooling and politics, and was a key supporter the Vrije Universiteit.

Brouwerij Poesiat & Kater

Unlike the previous two brewery taps we had visited today, Brouwerij Poesiat & Kater is not a simple tap or tasting room based in a former industrial unit, but a well-appointed brewery and restaurant. Moreover, the backdrop of the canal is far more aestheically-pleasing than an industrial estate. If we were to live in one of the neighbouring residential apartments we would be in danger of being hooked on this place, needing a daily fix of the magical stout.

Amsterdam : Interior of Brouwerij Poesiat & Kater [2024]
© Photo taken by author on May 17th, 2024. DO NOT COPY

The place looks empty here in the early evening. Most patrons were sat outside. It soon filled up, especially when it started to rain. Oh dear, we had to prepare ourselves for a soaking on the bikes. Not yet however, as we perused the beer menu and ordered from the kitchen. They serve a reasonable range of dishes, with a decent number of vegetarian and vegan options. After trying the Bitterballen splodge on the previous evening, I was attracted to the Tortelinni van Spinazie en Ricotta. A little on the oily side, it was however an enjoyable dish. Price was €19.50.

Amsterdam : Beer Board inside Brouwerij Poesiat & Kater [2024]
© Photo taken by author on May 17th, 2024. DO NOT COPY

The food menu has suggestions for complementary beers and, apparently it was recommended that I ordered the Princessebier with my Tortellini. No way José - bin the witbier I have come for the stout. Yes, make that an Extra Stout please.

In addition to the beer board [above], there are laminated menus on the tables that detail nine Poesiat & Kater beers, along with three under the Van Vollenhoven banner. These may be based on old recipes but are evidently with a modern twist. The brand commemorates Jan Messchert van Vollenhoven, the Rotterdam merchant who acquired Brouwerij De Gekroonde Valk in the late 18th century.

Valker Bier

For balance, La Goddess du Vélo delved into other areas of the beer menu. I slurped on some of her choices. The East Indies Pale Ale was excellent. It is brewed to the old recipe that found its way to export markets, particularly the East Indies, when the Van Vollenhoven family were in charge of Brouwerij De Gekroonde Valk. The modern twist is a splash of Spanish brandy courtesy of head brewer, Julián Álvarez Zárate.

Amsterdam : Lance caning it at Brouwerij Poesiat & Kater [2024]
© Photo taken by author on May 17th, 2024. DO NOT COPY

Lance, always up for doing the card, went all in at Brouwerij Poesiat & Kater. As for me, I had come for the stout and quickly got myself hooked on the 7.1% nectar. Julián Álvarez Zárate may as well call himself Walter White. Never mind Heineken this is Heisenberg stuff. When I emptied my glass I was dope sick until one of the team came and delivered more of the drug sold under the name of Van Vollenhoven Extra Stout. What a great beer.

Sadly, with light fading it was time to mount up and pedal back to our apartment. The Heisenberg injected some oomph to our pedalling and we were full gas along the cycle path. I thought I could hear spray from the tyres ... it was the blinkin' duck being sick again.

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