Amsterdam's Heineken Experience Tour
A Lesson in the History of Heineken Beer
The Heineken Experience is not exactly a museum, but it is closely related to one. The cost is 18 euros as of this writing (January 2013). Included in the price, you get a bracelet with two buttons to turn in at the end of the tour for two free beers. On the bracelet is also another button to turn in at the gift shop across town for a bottle opener key ring. They provide a free shuttle to get there, so that's fun.
Now I am not a beer fan, and rarely drink it, but my husband wanted to go, so I figured I should give it a try for his sake. Especially since we were going to my museum choice the next day. I was pleasantly surprised at the fun we had during this tour.
The experience starts with a tour through the original Heineken factory. Visitors learn all about the Heineken family, their values and their dedication and loyalty to this beer. The Heineken brewery is still run by Heineken family members today. Most of the experience is a self-guided walking tour. You follow the hallways past original giant vats which are taller than most people. You can taste test the ingredients of beer before the process is started. Warning on this...it doesn't taste very good! You see the types of horses which until the 1960s delivered Heineken beer to various shops and restaurants in Amsterdam. The current six horses in stalls in the factory are kept to march in parades. They are taken out to graze in the fresh air daily. You then find yourself in a tasting session with a bartender to pour each visitor a small sample of beer and explain the proper way to pour a beer so it has a head, and then the best way to drink a beer which is to gulp it rather than sip it because sipping a beer will really only get you a mouthful of foam. You need to drink down deeper to get to the actual beer. You are led into a theater of sorts which becomes 4D as you are "brewed and bottled" like a Heineken beer. It lets you in on the process of how a Heineken beer is made from start to finish and is rather fun. There are then some interactive stations such as pretending to ride bikes and getting your picture taken so you can email it to friends. The next stop is an interactive Karaoke video where you and your friends are in an onscreen boat and supposed to sing the words onscreen. Of course, the words are in Dutch, so unless you know Dutch, the only word you will recognize is Amsterdam. This video can also be sent to friends or accessed through Facebook which is quite fun. Next, there is an interactive video game where you try to pour a beer with a perfect head on it. I was able to do it, but my husband didn't quite make the grade! There is a room with extremely comfortable lounge chairs with video screens over the top of them. You can sit down and enjoy advertisements for Heineken beer from over the last 40 years which is a hoot, especially if you were around then and actually remember these ads!
The End Is The Best Part
There are a few other interactive experiences, and then the best part in our opinion was actually getting to sample two full-sized Heineken beers in a bar type atmosphere with music in the background. Everyone else that has had the tour at this point is having quite a good time, and it's a nice way to end the tour. I have never had a Heineken beer that has tasted so fresh. The atmosphere at the brewery and in the bar at the end is one of fun and camaraderie since everyone is there to have the beer experience. If you have an open mind, this tour can be fun whether or not you are a huge fan of beer. Since Heineken is brewed in Amsterdam, It's a case of when in Rome, do as the Romans do...or Amsterdam, as the case may be!
I still don't drink much beer, but to this day, the only beer I will drink is Heineken. So when my husband asks if I will have a glass of beer with him when we go out to a fun restaurant in the heat of the summer, I do indulge in a Heineken now and then, mostly to remember all the fun we had together in Amsterdam. And it still tastes pretty good too!
Don't like Heineken? Brew your own beer...
Want to know more about Heineken?
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