Whereas most of Amsterdams breweries tend to present themselves as the fresh start-ups that they are, De Bekeerde Suster draws inspiration largely from the past. The location of the brewery was once part of a 16th century abbey, founded to accomodate repenting prostitutes. Hence the name, which translates as The Reformed Sister. The abbey itself, parts of which are still intact, was named after Mary Magdalene, the patron saint of reformed prostitutes. The nuns embraced their new lives with such vigour that their centre was soon indispensable in catering for the local aristocracy. Expanding their services they also founded the inevitable brewery. Certain individuals indulged in such bawdy behaviour after drinking the abbey’s beer, they became well-known Amsterdam locals of the day. Amongst them a crippled monk and a barber. De Bekeerde Suster named two of their beers after these illustrious figures: De Manke Monnik and De Blonde Barbier. In similar fashion their wheat beer is named after one of the nuns: Witte Antonia.
Unsurprisingly, given all this historical emphasis, you won’t find much of the experimental drive that defines so many of the breweries that currently pop up around town. When new owners took over in 2004, they hired a brewer with a valuable load of experience in both large and small-scale breweries. He brews the total of three beers mentioned above. While there are no tours of the brewery, you can watch him work the beautiful, copper tanks in the back of the cafe on Fridays. The fruit of his labour is nothing too fancy. There is obvious craftmanship in the three beers of De Bekeerde Suster though. It’s all smoothness and little to provoke the senses here.
De Bekeerde Suster might not top the list of the beer lover visiting Amsterdam but you might well consider it when in the area of Nieuwmarkt and Red Light District. Their kitchen offers the kind of food menu you find in many of the cafes and restaurants dotting this part of town. Sandwiches, salads, hamburgers, lasagnas and the like. It is lunch till 17:00 hr and dinner onwards untill 22:30. If this is what you crave, then why not have it next to Amsterdam’s most appealing brewing tanks and swallow it all with the beers they produce?