A few years ago I found myself working in Amsterdam. This was a long term assignment so I rented my own apartment rather than being in hotels for weeks on end. As soon as people think of Amsterdam they either think of the relaxed drug culture or the red light district – neither of these interest me although no one ever believes me that the only way to watch English football being shown on TV was by going to the pubs in the red light district as they were the only ones to ever show it – honest!
I’d only been there a month or so and one of my friends came over to visit so I asked a Dutch colleague to recommend a few bars for us to try. His first recommendation was Arendsnest http://www.arendsnest.nl/OP-TAP/ON-DRAFT/ which is quite unique in that they only serve Dutch beer, whereas nearly every other bar will sell mostly Belgian or German beer. I was suitably impressed and we sat at the bar for a few hours sampling their selection – they have numerous beers on taps as well as bottled beers detailed in a menu about ½ inch thick. Quite a lot of these beers are produced in such small quantities that this was one of the only bars that sold them and nearly every beer had its own glass, some branded and some not but each specific beer type was meant to be served in a specific glass. As I was flicking through the menu I spotted a beer which shares my name – now if my name were Bud, Stella or Corona I wouldn’t be surprised but it’s not. My name is recognisable but not overly common so to find a beer named after me (they’d obviously done that!) was a pleasant surprise and I naturally ordered one. I was doubly surprised when it came served in its own branded glass with my name resplendently adorned across the side. Being doubly impressed I decided that the only proper thing to do was to pocket the empty bottle and glass as a memento.
I revisited this bar once a month or so for the next 6 months – every time I would sample a fair few different beers and always imbibe of my namesake beer. And always taking care to ensure I pocketed another glass with my name on. Until one visit where I was 3 or 4 beers into the menu and I ordered my namesake usual and it came in an unbranded glass. Shock horror I was not impressed. I asked the barman why it came in a blank glass when all the others had their own glass to which he grumpily replied “It usually does but some fucker keeps nicking our glasses”.
To this date I still have all but one of those glasses and every time I manage to get to Amsterdam I always head to this bar.