Great beer & food in Dublin, Edinburgh & Amsterdam

My husband, John, and I and another couple visited Ireland and Scotland, finishing up with a few days in Amsterdam, Sept. 2-16, 2006. Since John is a home brewer, we are always on the lookout for good beer when we travel, and we found plenty of it in all three cities in which we stayed.

Beer prices were around €4-€4.50 (about $5.30-$6) in Dublin, about £2.40 (near $4.70) in Edinburgh, and €3.50-€4 ($4.60-$5.30) in Amsterdam.

• In DUBLIN, we ate several times at The Bull & Castle (Christ Church, Dublin 2;, which was just down the street from our hotel, Jury’s Inn Christ Church. Besides the ubiquitous Guinness, they served beers from around the world and had a special “food and beer pairing” menu. Prices were reasonable — fisherman-style mussels for €12.50 ($16.50) and Irish lamb stew for €12.75.

• Also in Dublin was the Porterhouse Brewing Company (, at two locations: in the Temple Bar area (16-18 Parliament St., Dublin 2) and near Trinity College (45-75 Nassau St., Dublin 2). They make at least nine varieties of beer, from stouts to lagers. Dinner entrées ranged from €11 to €18.50 ($14.50–$24.50). We heard an excellent traditional music group at their Temple Bar location one Sunday afternoon.

• In EDINBURGH, our temporary “local pub” was The Cask & Barrel (115 Broughton Street, EH1). They have up to 10 traditional cask-conditioned ales on tap from various U.K. breweries plus a couple of German or Belgian beers. (Cask-conditioned beer, also known as “real ale,” contains live yeast in the bottom of the serving cask, so the beer continues to ferment. It is usually served “hand pulled,” which results in a lower carbonation level than the beers we get on tap in the U.S., which are pushed through the serving lines with carbon dioxide.) This pub does serve light lunches, but we never ate there.

• Two bars in AMSTERDAM — In de Wildeman (Kolksteeg 3;, which opens at noon and is closed on Sunday, with 17 beers on tap and about 200 in bottles, and Café Gollem (Raamsteeg 4;, which opens at 4 p.m. and offers 10 beers on tap and 200 bottled — will give you almost too many choices! Both of these bars focus on Belgian beers, although others are available.

• For a great selection of tasty beers brewed exclusively in the Netherlands, try ’t Arendsnest (Herengracht 90;, which opens at 4 p.m. They have 21 beers on tap and over 150 in bottles.

• For our last dinner in Amsterdam, we abandoned our beer research and went to Restaurant d’ Theeboom (Singel 210; phone 31-020-623-84-20,; it opens at 6 p.m. and is closed Sunday. A 3-course dinner (appetizer, entrée and dessert) was €32.50 ($43). Wines averaged €20-€50 ($26.50-$66) per bottle. Dining on their delicious French cuisine and wine was a wonderful way to end our trip.


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