On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Butcher’s Tears In Amsterdam Netherlands

On The Walk To Butcher's Tears In Amsterdam

On The Walk To Butcher’s Tears In Amsterdam

After eight weeks of research I felt like I had my Amsterdam trip squared away before I ever left the 9th Ward of New Orleans.

I had all my Dutch barbecue houses laid out on a grid; I had vectored in on the city’s best fish mongers and coffeeshops; I had secured what I hoped would be a world-beating plate of rookworst and stamppot (sausage and potatoes) and I made certain my rental apartment was a quick hike from De Gollem, the best beer bar in Noord Holland.

Butcher's Tears Appears On Karperweg

Butcher’s Tears Appears On Karperweg

I’d also drawn a trajectory on what many Dutch beer snobs are calling the finest craft brewery in Amsterdam: Butcher’s Tears.

The tiny proeflokaal (tasting room) in Amsterdam Zuid is the young business of Felicia von Zweigbergk, Erik Nordin and Herbert Nelissen. Zweigbergk is the aesthetic director, Nordin brews the beer and Nelissen makes sure the bills get paid in a timely manner.

The Menu At Butcher's Tears In Amsterdam

The Menu At Butcher’s Tears In Amsterdam

Nordin began homebrewing in 2005 and together with Zweigbergk started a tiny kitchen brewery in 2009 in the Tensta district of Stockholm. The pirate venture proved to be a success and eventually Zweigbergk founded a speakeasy called Lost Property in Amsterdam West. Along the way Nordin worked at Fuller’s Brewery in England where he further honed his technical skills.

At first, all the Butcher’s Tears beers were contract-brewed at Brouwerij Gulden Spoor in Belgium but as the venture gained capital they secured equipment and now produce all their own beer.

A Glass Of Green Cap At Butcher's Tears

A Glass Of Green Cap At Butcher’s Tears

Walking down the lonely little alley Karperweg, I duly note the typical trappings of a tiny brewery: remote location, various light industry/mechanic shops nearby, the hum of a nearby train yard.

I feel like I’m at the end of the line. As I enter I note the barman who could pass as the bass player for Skeletal Earth with a long, black mane of hair and plentiful facial hair.

The Barman At Butcher's Tears Controls The Music. All Is Just And Right Here

The Barman At Butcher’s Tears Controls The Music. All Is Just And Right Here

A Rudimentary Peni LP is spinning round and round on a phonograph as a small group of drinkers gather up their beers and head for the parking lot/courtyard.

It’s a brilliant scene.

Proeflokaal Butcher's Tears In Amsterdam Zuid

Proeflokaal Butcher’s Tears In Amsterdam Zuid

Green Cap is the beer that put the brewery on the map and it’s easy to see why as it’s hopped up in the fashion of a Vermont Pale; it’s grassy, bitter and pleasing, and goes down way too easy.

Over the next two hours I march my way through the draft wall but do not have a beer the equal of my first although Trial And Terror, a golden ale is a fine effort.

A Rusted Out Old Barbecue Pit At Butcher's Tears

A Rusted Out Old Barbecue Pit At Butcher’s Tears

As I drank around town the next few days I always asked for Butcher’s Tears’ brew and the barmen always expressed surprise that an American knew about the tiny beer maker. Oh, and all the bars were completely sold out of Nordin’s various elixirs.

The secret is out, at least among the Amsterdam cognoscenti. The Netherlands is tiny, roughly one third the size of Kentucky but there are nearly 200 craft breweries crowded into the Kingdom. This is a golden age of craft beer for the Dutch and Butcher’s Tears is helping define the modern industry in the North Sea region.

On The Walk To Butcher's Tears

On The Walk To Butcher’s Tears

And their creed?

Butcher’s Tears is “a place where art, science and magic can work together upon the four elements to create the liquid in which joy and madness dwells.”

All Breweries Should Be Equipped With Turntables Like Butcher's Tears

All Breweries Should Be Equipped With Turntables Like Butcher’s Tears

Karperweg 45, 1075 LB
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Hours of operation
Sunday 4–9PM
Monday Closed
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday 4–9PM
Thursday 4–9PM
Friday 4–9PM
Saturday 4–9PM

Butcher's Tears Is Felicia von Zweigbergk, Erik Nordin and Herbert Nelissen

Butcher’s Tears Is Felicia von Zweigbergk, Erik Nordin and Herbert Nelissen

About RL Reeves Jr

I’m a writer living and working in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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6 Responses to On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Butcher’s Tears In Amsterdam Netherlands

  1. Pingback: Butcher’s Tears In Amsterdam Netherlands | Scrumptious Chef

  2. “De Gollem, the best beer bar in Noord Holland.”

    Have you heard of Arendsnest? Don’t get me wrong — I love Gollem, but they serve mostly Belgian beers. Arendsnest is strictly Dutch craft brews. It’s on Herengracht in the Jordaan.

  3. RL Reeves Jr says:

    Yes, we went there a few times too. Nice bar and friendly staff. But my heart belongs to de Gollem, the one on Ramsteeg anyway. The others are fine but the tiny one is my favorite bar in Amsterdam.

  4. J says:

    Butcher’s Tears is actually probably the worse craft beer I tasted in Amsterdam. Okay maybe second to De Prael.

  5. RL Reeves Jr says:

    That’s why there are so many breweries in the Netherlands now. There’s something for everyone. Some folks love De Prael, others favor Jopen and some think La Trappe is the best. I liked Butcher’s Tears, a lot.

  6. Pingback: 2016 Year End Review: New Orleans, Amsterdam, Texas And The Deep South | Scrumptious Chef

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