Hello everyone, Chris again. Today, I’m going to be talking about a pretty neat experience we had in Amsterdam during our recent European vacation. We visited the former Heineken brewery and toured the facility while also enjoying some free beers. It makes sense for me to be writing this post instead of Bri because she hates beer and I love beer. So, here is my review of The Heineken Experience in Amsterdam!
A Review of The Heineken Experience
When You Arrive
When you arrive, make sure you get into the correct line. There were two lines: one for people who bought tickets beforehand and another for people who have yet to buy tickets. We purchased our tickets beforehand so we got into the appropriate line. While we were waiting in line, an employee came around with a tray of a traditional Dutch food called Bitterballen. It was basically deep fried sausage and came with some spicy mustard to dip in. It was delicious and I highly recommend trying it.
Tip: Purchase your tickets beforehand. You’ll save money and the line will go by much faster.
Once we got into the building, just before we began the official self-guided tour, we were each given a green Heineken wristband with two pins in it. Make sure that you listen to what they’re for because I wasn’t listening and removed one of the pins while fidgeting with it and thought I had broken the wristband. Thankfully though my brain came around and figured out the two removable pins were for the end of the tour where you get your free beers. Probably a good thing I didn’t just throw the pins or the whole wristband away lol.
During The Tour
Now back to the tour. The first portion of The Heineken Experience is all about the history behind Heineken and how it was created and operated all the way up to the present day. It was a pleasant surprise to learn that Heineken was a family company! It was founded by Gerard Adriaan Heineken in 1864 and has been owned by the family until at least 1989. After that, it gets into those weird business terms of stocks and boards, owners and CEOs, and all the rest that I’m not going to get into or pretend to know. After learning the history, you gather in a room where an employee explains the ingredients of the beer. They told us the only three ingredients are water, hops, and barley and then quizzed us on if we knew what percentage of it was water. Using my great and super impressive detective skills, I correctly answered for the whole room that the beer is 95% water, which is only logical due to the fact that Heineken beer is 5% alcohol by volume (the hops and barley). You know, it’s kind of crazy to think about what 5% can do the human mind and body…
Next, you’re guided into the giant room where the beer used to be made. Huge copper bins line the room and there are small windows for you to look inside. If you’re a clumsy adult (like Bri) you don’t need to worry about falling in the small windows, but I would recommend you hold onto smaller children. After walking around this room, you get to see the stables and some horses! Which was pretty cool although there are about twenty feet of space between you and the horses plus they’re not doing anything other than eating and going to the bathroom. There are 10 stalls for 10 horses but we were only able to see 3 horses. After asking where the other horses were, we found out that during the summer months, the horses get to go to a farm to stretch out and basically take a vacation.Why you should add the Heineken Experience to your Amsterdam itinerary.Click To Tweet
After observing the horses, be prepared to get some exercise in and climb up 3 flight of stairs into a large waiting area. Here, there are three rooms you’re all being split into. In my opinion, this is the lamest part of the tour. Essentially, it’s one of those simulated rides you find at Disneyland. You go on an adventure with 50 people being simulated as a hop. The floor shakes and moves as you go through the process from being picked off the tree all the way to a bottled beer. The worst part is on a couple of occasions during the simulation, they spray you with some water from up above. I wish we could’ve skipped this part of the tour like skipping a bad episode on Netflix.
After The Tour
Luckily, after the lamest part of the tour comes the best part of the tour. You are shuffled into a small room where bartenders are working fast paced to clean up 150 glasses and fill them up again with the beer after the last group just left. There’s no soda replacement for this free beer so I was able to score Bri’s beer and a good portion of my older sister’s as she doesn’t appreciate beer either. Don’t worry though, these beers are only 8 ounces or whatever rough metric equivalent. This also isn’t included in your free two beers so I guess you technically get three free beers!
After this, you then get into the line for an elevator up to the party deck and main bar where you can collect your two free beers (or soda if you’re like Bri). The bar is very nice, with loud dancing music, lots of high tables, some couch sections for those lucky enough to grab it, as well as the outside deck with a nice view of Amsterdam. It’s not as high up as the Eiffel Tower or anything like that but it’s still a great view. If you’re inclined, you’re able to order more beers and even some food. I think this is a great business strategy on Heineken’s part as who doesn’t want more beer and food?
We kept our wits about us though, saved our money and headed out back to the elevator where you descend into a room meant to resemble the bottling process. Here, you can get a customized Heineken bottle (filled with the real stuff) saying whatever short phrase you want. We purchased 4 bottles total, one of which was for me and Bri, all saying our hashtag for the trip #Schlapsabroad, (a play on my last name and Bri’s soon to be new last name). Even though I already drank the beer, we have the bottle displayed in our kitchen. After you order your bottle, you walk through a few rooms that have unique and odd photo opportunities. I remember one room having a miniature soccer field complete with goal nets, for example. Your very last stop is, of course, the gift shop with all of the great merchandise one could ever want. Here is where you’ll pick up and pay for your customized bottles.
All in all, I don’t think that the Heineken Experience is a MUST-DO while in Amsterdam, but it was a lot of fun and worth checking out if you have a free day in your itinerary. Speaking of itineraries, make sure you read Bri’s city guide to Amsterdam for some more ideas of what to do. I hope you all enjoyed this review of the Heineken Experience!
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