Vacation 2016 - Day 12 - 7/25/2016
This day started out with plans to visit the Van Gogh museum.
As Amsterdam has a nice tram network, it was easy to get two tickets and ride the tram down to the museumplein.
There were several other museums, and all appeared busy. Be aware, it is best to get tickets to Van Gogh ahead of time; then you only have to wait in the line to exchange the online tickets for real tickets, as opposed waiting in the much linger line to buy tickets.
The museum had some odd idiosyncrasies, such as "must check all bags" and then after waiting in the long line staffed by one whole person, was told my bag was ok.
The pictures were interesting, and its amazing Van Gogh didn't sell much at the time. His brother apparently bankrolled him for a while. The pictures show a progression to a better style of painting, then changes near the end, possibly as abject madness (Depression? Syphilis? Lead poisoning?) sets in.
The requisite gift shop was chock-full of Van Gogh-branded items, from champagne to posters. Of course the "ear keychain" (yep) was probably the oddest item.
And apparently the museum hires a Van Gogh lookalike to wander around.
At the coffee shop, had one of the most horrible beers ever:
HBBV Heiniken | Desperados | Lager, Pale, Fruit | 5.9% | [3.0]
Took the tram back to the shopping area to a great Italian place for lunch - Trattoria Caprese.
Skipped the Italian beers and had a
Bavarian Brouwerij | Swinckle's | Lager, Pilsner | ?% | [6.0]
Went shopping and walking around for a few more hours. Had a late afternoon coffee and snack by the canal.
Went back to the Beet Temple to see if Ster was there, the woman who like Sip of Sunshine.
She was, and met her American friend Trevor, who works at Struisse brewery. I traded a Sip of Sunshine for a 2010 Pannepot Grand Reserva.
Tried these two on tap, both from the Netherlands:
Hertog Jan | Arcener Tripel 2016 | Ale, Belgian Tripel style | 8.5% | [9.0]
Hertog Jan | Weizener | Ale, Wheat Hefe | 5.7% | [8.0]
Went back to the hotel for a short nap before dinner. There were a lot of places close to the hotel, and we chose the Grand Cafe de Kroonprins, as the menu looked good and the location was close by.
Had a basic Affligem, which I had not had in a bottle before.
Affligem | Affligem Tripel | Ale, Belgian Abbey Tripel | 9% | [9.0]
From here we walked a bit, as the plan was to meet a friend at the Proeflokaal Arendsnest - Herengracht 90, 1015 BS.
Now I can't say his name or show a photo - until later - as he was transitioning jobs and had "unofficially" traded a different work shift with someone. He is also a founding member of Club Belgique. At Arendsnest, we were actually drinking outside on the canal...
Jopen | Mooie Nel | Ale, IPA | 6.5% | [8.0]
...when I heard his dulcet tones of "I thought the Americans would go inside." He joined us and we had some great conversations. Shared the following:
De Prael | Eddy Wally | Ale, Belgian Flanders Red style | 7% | [9.0]
De Molen | Rasputin ("Cease & Desist" in USA) | Ale, Stout, Russian Imperial | 10.4% | 
Also tried an oxtail sausage as a snack, and finished with:
Het Uiltje | Joost mag get weten | Ale, IPA, Imperial | 11% | [10.2]
Vriendschap | Tripel Saison | Ale, Saison, Imperial | 9% | [8.9]
As we had to leave the next day, and he had to get the last train, it was time to leave, but not yet. One last bar, for a few last beers.
As it was on the way to the train station, we stopped at the Wildeman, North Holland, Amsterdam, for some fantastic beers.
Eecke, van | Hommelbier 2016 dry hopped | Ale, Belgian Blonde | 7.5% | [9.2]
Mikkeller | Spontangooseberry | Ale, Wild | 6% | [10.0]
Burning Sky | Monolith | Ale, Sour | 7.4% | [10.0]
Anchor | Wild Princess | Gruit | 4.2% | [10.2]
Yes, these beers were that good, and the last was so fitting - the Anchor Wild Princess was a Gruit made specifically for the 30th anniversary of the Wildeman. Gruit is a spice/herb mix used instead of hops, and in many ways is the most ancient of the Belgian/Holland area style of beers, having been brewed as early as 974. Yes, there's a "0" for the first year.
Headed back to the hotel, for one last night.
Also got some great beers to bring home, and once again, all survived: especially the Westvleteren Abbey - Yellow, Green & Blue! Wine and Whisky from Armagnac France, also.
"Pack them carefully" he reminded himself "more precious than a human organ for transplant"
"Well maybe that's a bit over the top" his Conscience reminded him
"Yeah but remember how 'Westy' tastes" his ID reminded his Conscience
"Oh yeah you're right" his Conscience replied, rather chastised
"Don't be glum old buddy" his Ego said to ID, "when he drinks we ALL drink!"
On 7/26 late AM in Schiphol airport, fittingly, had the following, making this a 92 beer vacation.
Heineken | Heineken | Lager, German Pale| 5% |