Thyssen Amsterdam Blonde
Review Date 6/25/2003
Not long ago, I was reading about an interesting beer in
Bob Townsend’s Beer Town column, published in the Atlanta Journal
Constitution. Townsend was writing about Amsterdam Blond, a Dutch
ale brewed by the Thyssen brewery of Gulpen in the Netherlands. The beer is
imported by a company based in Atlanta and headed by a former resident of
the Netherlands who now resides here in Georgia.
What made the beer unique was its packaging, something that the importer hopes will generate sales. The bottle is oddly shaped and very unique; when you look at it you wonder if it’s really beer inside or something else entirely. After reading about Amsterdam Blond I immediately set out looking for it, and was able to secure some recently.
Now more about the bottle. To begin with, it’s sort of shaped like a dumbbell, cylindrical in the middle with a raised edge at the bottom and near the top. There’s a small dome at the top that curves up to a very short neck and then the mouth. Three small X’s descend down the center to a very small label that reassures you that yes, this is a beer after all. According to the importer, this is supposed to look like some kind of marker that the Dutch use to save their parking spaces.
The packaging is certainly unique and will definitely catch your attention, though I’m not convinced of the logic behind shaping the bottle like something with which few Americans will be familiar. When you do buy a bottle, though, it will be the beer, not the bottle that brings you back for more. Amsterdam Blond is a complex and delicious ale that stands nicely on its own merits, thank you very much.
When I poured my bottle of Amsterdam Blond into my bowl shaped Ommegang glass, it didn’t really pour blond at all, but instead had a slightly orange color to it. Not much head formation was apparent, but I did get some delightfully sweet caramel notes in the nose. The body was slightly thinner than I expected but with a light alcohol warmth (content is 5.9% by volume). The palate is crisp with a rock candy like character and subtle notes of licorice and pear. A hint of musty yeast character is also evident. In the finish, a balancing hop bitterness leaves a gentle bitter buzz on the tongue.
I was surprised at the complexity of Amsterdam Blond. I was expecting something a bit more mundane, I suppose, but was happy to be proven wrong. For now, Amsterdam Blond is being distributed in the metro Atlanta area, but look for it to be sold in other states soon.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.