They say…

Des de Moor
Best beer and travel writing award 2015, 2011 -- British Guild of Beer Writers Awards
Accredited Beer Sommelier
Writer of "Probably the best book about beer in London" - Londonist
"A necessity if you're a beer geek travelling to London town" - Beer Advocate
"A joy to read" - Roger Protz
"Very authoritative" - Tim Webb.
"One of the top beer writers in the UK" - Mark Dredge.
"A beer guru" - Popbitch.
Des de Moor


't IJ Natte en Zatte

Originally published in What’s Brewing March 2003

Origin: Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
ABV: 6.5 and 8 per cent
Buy from Specialist suppliers, including Beer Barons (

't IJ Natte

't Natte

In a matter of years the Netherlands has gone from a Heineken-dominated desert to boasting one of the most interesting beer scenes in Europe, with an eclectic and innovative approach that mixes national traditions with inspiration from neighbouring countries. ‘t IJ brewery is the oldest-established of the new breed of brewers, founded in 1985 by former pop star Kaspar Peterson.

The name is pronounced like the ‘et’ in ‘violet’ then a cross between ‘eye’ and ‘ay’ (not “tidge” as I once memorably heard from a British importer!), and refers to the body of water that separates Amsterdam’s historic centre from its northern suburbs. The brewery isn’t actually on the IJ, but under a windmill in the old harbour area to the northeast of the centre, in an old bathhouse, which also houses a basic but attractive and nearly always busy tasting room. All the bottled beers are unpasteurised and unfiltered.

Natte and Zatte (“wet” and “drunk”) were two of the brewery’s earliest lines. They’re labelled as a dubbel and tripel respectively, recalling the many Belgian brewers that pair a weaker monastic-style dark ale with a stronger golden one following the model of the Westmalle trappist brewery. But while these beers nod to the abbey style in strength, fruity complexity and slight sweetness, they otherwise go their own way.

Natte is more a deep ruby amber than the brown of a typical double, and its crystal malt tones recall some British micro-brewed strong bitters. There’s a spicy, yeasty, creamy aroma with vanilla and tobacco, and a full fruity palate with citric acidity, becoming slightly smoky and spicy. The beer stays fruity in the finish with well-rounded, faintly metallic hop flavours and a touch of chocolate. Overall this is a very drinkable, easy-going and cheerful beer.

't IJ Zatte

't IJ Zatte

 Zatte is a golden ale with an amber glow and a rich white head. Like Natte it has a lively, fecund and creamy aroma, but with a whiff of earthy hops and some pastille-like tones. The sweetish palate has a foamy texture and fruit and herb flavours, including coriander. A drying quality emerges from herbs and hops but overall this is much milder than the average triple. There’s a flash of alcohol on the swallow, and a long, custardy smooth finish with tangy herbal hints, remaining sweetish to the last but never cloying.

Though relatively easily to track down in their home country, ‘t IJ beers have been elusive in the UK: it’s good to see the specialist shops taking an interest at last.

Try also: De Leckere Dubbel, Maasland d’n Schele Os Tripel, Schelde Zeezuiper, La Trappe Tripel, 


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